How District Energy Works

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District energy systems operate by producing thermal energy in the form of steam, hot water or chilled water for distribution through a network of insulated pipes.

District energy systems use one or more types of fuel and can consist of a combination of different heat sources and technologies.

Illustration of heat sources for district energy




Heat Sources for Community Energy Infographic






Although traditional sources of fuel - such as natural gas and oil - are most common, alternative and renewable sources (solar power, geothermal energy, biogas, biomass, heat rejected from industrial and municipal operations, and fuel-cell technologies) are now being used in plants across Canada. 

Additional Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions:


District Energy: Now's the Time
Educational film detailing district energy - what it is, how it works, benefits and case studies.
Produced by International District Energy Association - http://www.districtenergy.org/


Canadian District Energy Association - http://cdea.ca/
International District Energy Association - http://www.districtenergy.org/
Combined Heat and Power Association - http://www.chpa.co.uk/