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Who Can Use District Energy?

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District energy (also known as Community Energy) uses an underground network of insulated pipes to deliver thermal energy (in the form of hot water, steam or chilled water) from a central plant to heat and cool a cluster of buildings, such as those in an industrial park, hospital, university, large hotel/convention centre, factory or neighbourhood. 

In some cases, turbines used to create thermal energy to heat and cool buildings also generate electricity which is sold into the electricity grid. By producing both heat and power from the same facilities in our communities, district energy plants achieve tremendous energy efficiencies and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Buildings or neighbourhoods that are part of a district energy system do not need to own or operate their own furnaces, boilers, air conditioning systems or cooling towers resulting in space savings and reduced capital costs.

Types of Buildings that Can Connect to a District Energy System

  • Industrial

    • New and existing industrial facilities
  • Institutional

    • Educational institutions
    • Health care facilities
    • Government facilities such as City Hall, municipal buildings, arenas, recreational facilities
    • Places of worship
  • Commercial

    • Large commercial buildings such as retail stores, theatres, office buildings, etc.
    • Multi-building developments such as malls, professional buildings, etc.
  • Residential

    • Single-family dwellings in close proximity to each other
    • Multi-residential buildings such as apartment complexes, condominiums or townhomes with at least three stories


For more information:

District Energy - Frequently Asked Questions

The New District Energy: Building Blocks for Sustainable Community Development
Manual produced by the International District Energy Association