NEW YORK — The International District Energy Association (IDEA) hosted the third Global District Energy Climate Awards and Summit in New York City in conjunction with Euroheat & Power and the International Energy Agency (IEA) Technology Network. The IEA Technology Network recognized nine award winning district heating and cooling systems for outstanding achievements in energy efficiency, resource optimization, and environmental sustainability.

The summit gathered industry leaders from across North America, Europe, and the Middle East to discuss new innovations in district energy, also known as district heating and cooling.

“Cities, communities, and campuses around the world are investing in district energy and combined heat and power systems to curb greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen their local economies, and increase the resiliency of their energy infrastructure,” said Robert Thornton, president and CEO of the International District Energy Association. “The 2013 IEA Award of Excellence winners represent a range of technologies in settings large and small, from very cold northern climates in Nordic countries to arid desert cities in the Middle East. District energy systems deliver tremendous economic benefits and significant environmental gains at the same time.”

IDEA said district heating and cooling infrastructure enables significant carbon footprint reductions by allowing cities to harvest alternative energy sources and surplus heat that would otherwise be wasted. Economies of scale enable investments in clean energy technologies like lake-source cooling, waste energy recovery, and large-scale solar thermal with seasonal pit storage.

An international panel of experts chaired by the IEA Technology Network chose nine submittals to receive Awards of Excellence. The following are descriptions of the three North American award winners:

• Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, recently added 50 megawatts of cogeneration to provide highly reliable and efficient cooling, heating and power for 60,000 residents in 19 million square feet of space on the University Campus, while cutting energy use by 40 percent per square foot and saving over $140 million since 2002.

• Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., added 36 megawatts of combined heat and power (CHP) in 2010 to accompany its innovative lake-source cooling system, bringing overall system efficiency to 78 percent by 2012 and eliminating the use of coal on campus, which cut greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 11,000 cars from the road.

• District Energy St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn., began operations in 1983 by converting the downtown steam system to district hot water service; in 1993 adding district cooling service and thermal storage; in 2003 adding biomass combined heat and power to produce electricity, heat, and cooling from residual wood waste and cutting coal use by 250,000 tons per year. In 2012, the system integrated the second largest solar thermal array in the U.S. (1.2 MW) and today provides district heating to over 90 percent of the buildings downtown and district cooling to over 60 percent, essentially heating three times the space as in 1983 with half the CO2 emissions.

Descriptions of all the award winning systems can be found here.

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Publication date: 10/7/2013

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