The Role of District Energy in Greening Existing Neighborhoods

Here is the first document aimed to help guide and educate policy makers on district energy.  It is a study from the Preservation Green Lab, and it packages the information in a “greening existing neighborhoods” wrap because governments are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprints, and in the adolescent period of sustainable learning, the term green was a blanket term for something that would fall under the sustainability category.

Nonetheless, it’s exactly what should be appearing in city general plans as they do their updates.  So I’m going to cut and paste verbatim some of the key take-aways that planners can use when drafting their documents:

  • “As cities look for innovative means of reducing carbon emissions from the operation of their existing buildings, it is increasingly clear that the most effective way to achieve high levels of energy performance rests with district-level approaches to the built environment.”
  • “District energy can help established communities of existing buildings achieve lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”
  • “District energy can improve the cost-effectiveness of a community’s private and public investments in efficiency and clean energy, and accelerate the pace of improvements over time.”
  • “Cities play a critical role in district energy development.”




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