Promote district energy and Combined Cooling, Heating and Power Systems


The State should promote district energy and combined cooling, heating and power systems. District energy systems supply thermal energy (hot water, steam and/or chilled water) to buildings from efficient central plants through a network of underground pipes. Many downtown areas, colleges and hospitals are served by district energy systems, and there is significant potential to serve new high-density development with district systems.

District energy provides many opportunities to increase energy efficiency, use renewable resources, enhance power grid reliability, and increase our national security. Key energy- efficiency opportunities include recovery ("recycling") of waste heat from power generation through combined heat and power (CHP), industrial processes or municipal operations, and superior efficiency through state-of-the-art technology and controls. Major renewable-energy opportunities include bio-energy, geothermal and natural sources of air conditioning such as the use of lake or ocean water.

By using recycled energy or renewable sources, district systems can make significant contributions toward reducing reliance on fossil fuels and toward cutting emissions of air pollution and greenhouse gases. District energy systems boost reliability and energy security by cutting peak power demand by meeting air conditioning demand through delivery of chilled water, shifting power demand through thermal storage and generating power near load centers. District energy systems also enhance national security and boost local economies by tapping local energy resources.


The best way for the State to encourage district energy systems is to lead by example. State governments operate numerous buildings and facilities. The State should assess its current inventory of buildings for their potential to be incorporated into district energy systems, as well as evaluate the feasibility of developing district energy systems in those locations.

To encourage local governments and private institutions to consider district energy systems, States should provide information and education about them to government officials, developers, planners, architects and engineers. City and county governments can be become important allies if the State:

Developers, planners, architects and engineers can become stronger advocates of district energy systems if provided with training materials, technical guidebooks, computer simulation tools and other programs that provide information on how district systems work and how to integrate them into development plans and designs.

States also can:


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