Combining heating and cooling demands in district systems

Overview of the status and impact of the innovation



While most district energy networks have been created to supply heat, heat pumps make it possible to also meet cooling needs and create integrated networks that simultaneously supply heating and cooling to different end users, such as homes and data centres, increasing the overall network efficiency. In addition, combining heating and cooling with groundwater thermal storage allows heat pumps to cool the water while providing heat in winter. The cold water then provides free cooling in summer.


Global cooling demand is growing due to climate change and higher air quality standards in efficient buildings. Integrating cooling in existing district heating networks will help meet that demand, while also making the networks more efficient and enabling greater integration of renewable energy. It further increases efficiency by enabling the integration of ambient energy and waste cold sources that would otherwise not be used, and has numerous advantages compared with individual distributed chillers – for example, lower costs in dense areas and greater flexibility.

Power to heat and cooling innovations

Innovations (35)