International District Energy Association: Informing, Connecting and Advancing District Energy Since 1909

Since its founding in 1909, the International District Energy Association (IDEA) has been informing, connecting, and advancing the district energy industry in North America and around the world. Today, more than 1800 IDEA members from 25 different countries demonstrate how district energy infrastructure delivers higher energy efficiency with greater reliability and lower CO2 emissions from clean, local energy resources.

IDEA members are involved in the design, construction, operation and optimization of district heating, district cooling, and combined heat and power (CHP) systems located in cities, communities, and on campuses owned and operated in both the public and private sector. IDEA works with communities, government agencies, institutions, utilities, and developers interested in deploying district energy systems to support more resilient city-building, increase economic competitiveness, and drive urban intensification.

One of IDEA's district energy projects
One of IDEA’s district energy projects

In 2012, IDEA released Community Energy: Planning, Development and Delivery to offer community leaders with a better understanding of the development process for local energy solutions including guidance on the evaluation, analysis, implementation and optimization of district energy thermal networks. In 2013, the guidebook was revised for the Canadian market to reflect provincial policy, the unique drivers of system deployment, and to leverage the momentum around the integration of local, low-carbon energy in the community planning process.

We are in the midst of a paradigm shift where cities and municipalities are looking to strengthen energy security, harvest local resources, cut emissions and reduce reliance on a centralized electricity generation model where power supplies are distant and remote from the customer base. Urban clusters around the world are experiencing tremendous growth and seeking district energy systems to ensure delivery of efficient, robust and resilient heating, cooling, and power.

A district energy system in the works
A district energy system in the works

In a technical capacity, IDEA has developed tools and resources to support industry growth, including a first-order screening tool to provide high-level feasibility assessments of potential district energy/CHP projects. Additionally, IDEA has provided technical support to the US DOE and US EPA and we collaborate with the International Energy Agency and other NGO’s around the globe.

As a non-profit industry association, IDEA provides a conduit to extraordinary expertise and centuries of cumulative industry experience embodied in our membership. IDEA members are world-class consultants and service providers, multinational manufacturers and suppliers of top quality equipment, and experienced practitioners focused on delivering economical, reliable, and efficient energy.

While many organizations recognize and advocate for the many economic and environmental benefits associated with district energy, no other association represents a greater concentration of practical, experience-based expertise and committed industry professionals.

On June 28 – July 1, 2015 IDEA is bringing together experienced global industry leaders from across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East for IDEA2015, IDEA’s Annual Conference and Trade Show (since 1909). At IDEA2015, city and industry leaders will explore best practices in how the utility industry is transforming the way it generates, distributes and values energy to create more sustainable and resilient communities. IDEA also hosts its’ Annual Campus Energy Conference (since 1977). Additionally, IDEA delivers technical workshops on topics such as Community Energy Planning, Microgrid Deployment, District Cooling, Thermal Distribution, and Business Development. Our conferences attract committed industry thought leaders and we recognize excellence through annual awards such as IDEA System of the Year Award.

Industry innovation is highlighted in our quarterly magazine entitled District Energy (free app available for iPhone and Android), and IDEA maintains an active blog and twitter feed (@districtenergy) to catalogue current policy initiatives, industry activities, and emerging best practices from around the world.