District Energy

District energy systems produce steam, heated or chilled water at a central plant and then distribute the energy through underground pipes to buildings connected to the system, such as residential homes, commercial buildings, universities or government complexes, without the need for individual buildings to each have their own boilers, chillers or cooling towers. Customers use the hot and chilled water from a central plant to meet their water heating and space heating & air-conditioning needs through a closed-loop piping system.

The San Francisco Planning Department is pursuing a district energy system in the Transbay Redevelopment Area to take advantage of balanced dense mixed-use development in the district. The project would require new buildings to be designed to plug into such a system. Read more about the project at transbaycenter.org or sfredevelopment.org/index.aspx?page=54.

Additional Information for District Energy

EESI District Energy
District energy systems are a highly efficient way to heat and cool many buildings in a given locale from a central plant. This fact sheet details how it works and provides examples of systems in use nationally.
District Energy Denmark
Folkecenter trainees and visiting experts toured three of the many hundred local district energy stations in Denmark to learn how such technologies provide the necessary infrastructure for the supply of 100% renewable energy.
District Heating Handbook
This informative publication by the International District Heating Association has everything you need to know about District Heating.