District Energy - How it works

The heating and cooling of buildings, whether they be private commercial offices, industrial facilities, educational complexes, or public residences, has been a challenge for as long as we can remember. District heating first appeared during Roman times where hot water or steam was delivered to and throughout its buildings. More recently, in the nineteenth century, the technology was perfected in Europe meeting the heating needs of countries with varying weather climates. Today, in cities all over the world, district energy systems provide heating and cooling to public spaces such as commercial buildings, homes, hotels, sports facilities, universities and government complexes.

District Energy systems produce hot or chilled water at a central source, an Energy Centre, then distribute the energy through the network of below ground pre insulated pipes to the consumers connected to the energy network system.

Once the energy has been utilized to heat or cool the consumers building, the water is returned to the Energy Centre central plant to be reheated and rechilled and recirculated through the pipe network system.

District Heating

District Heating

District Heating

Efficient Energy

When the energy arrives at the consumer's building, it is ready to use, making it highly energy efficient compared to when burning natural gas or fuel oil at the consumer’s building. And when a cogeneration plant is used, boilers in conjunction with a Combined Heat and Power system, the energy system can use the reject energy from the burning fuel to produce electricity, thus increasing the overall efficiency of the fuel energy.

Research indicates that where a fossil fueled cogeneration plant is used, the heat output is typically sized to meet half of the peak heat load, providing 90% of the heat supply. The combination of cogeneration and district heating is very energy efficient.  A simple thermal power station may only be 20-35% efficient, whereas a more advanced facility with the ability to recover waste heat can reach total energy efficiency of nearly 80%.

Fuel Options

A district energy network is compatible with any kind of fuel source. Where fossil fuels have been the primary energy source in the past, renewables such as biomass, solar or geothermal heating are gradually replacing and or can complement the fossil fuel in the production of district energy.

Ease of Operation

As the consumer does not need his own boiler or chiller, there is less maintenance, monitoring and equipment required by the consumer. The consumer solely relies on the energy providers 24/7, 365 day reliable expert operational personnel.


Consumers enjoy decreased Capital and life-cycle costs, as a direct result of their building not requiring their own boilers or chillers, hence less capital expenditure and less maintenance and operating costs.

Also through the flexibility of primary fuel options, it is able to boost local competition for the primary supply hence a more stable consumer tariff. 

District Energy can make a world of difference

The District Heating Concept

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