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.