District Heating and Cooling including Combined Heat and Power

For potential IEA DHC members

The Technology / For potential IEA DHC members

For potential IEA DHC members


The International Energy Agency (IEA) was established in 1974 in order to strengthen the co-operation between member countries and reduce the dependency on oil and other fossil fuels. Thirty years later, the IEA again drew attention to serious concerns about energy security, investment, the environment and energy poverty. The global situation is resulting in soaring oil and gas prices, the increasing vulnerability of energy supply routes and ever-increasing emissions of climate-destabilising carbon dioxide.

DHC makes a difference

One of the key technologies that can make a difference is District Heating and Cooling.
DHC is an integrative technology that can make significant contributions to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and air pollution and to increasing energy security.

The fundamental idea of DHC is simple but powerful: connect multiple thermal energy users through a piping network to environmentally optimal energy sources, such as combined heat and power (CHP), industrial waste heat and renewable energy sources such as biomass, geothermal and natural sources of heating and cooling.
The ability to assemble and connect thermal loads enables these environmentally optimal sources to be used in a cost-effective way, and also offers ongoing fuel flexibility. By integrating district cooling carbon-intensive electrically-based airconditioning, rapidly growing in many countries, can be displaced.

As an element of the International Energy Agency Programme, the participating countries undertake co-operative actions in energy research, development and demonstration.

One of the programmes that has run for more than 25 years is the Implementing Agreement ‘District Heating and Cooling including Combined Heat and Power’.

District Heating not only offers excellent opportunities for reducing environmental pollution, but also for achieving the goal of saving energy. It is an extremely flexible technology which can make use of any fuel including the utilisation of waste energy, renewables and, most significantly, the application of combined heat and power (CHP).
It is by means of these integrated solutions that very substantial progress towards environmental targets, such as those emerging from Kyoto can be made.

Programme aims

The 'IEA Implementing Agreement on District Heating & Cooling including CHP'  (DHC/CHP) is a programme that conducts highly effective Research and Development as well as policy analysis of District Heating and Cooling systems with low environmental impact through international collaboration.
We are furthering this mission by selecting, managing and publishing collaborative co-funded projects collating and exchanging information on R&D projects between countries.

Furthermore the Executive Committee strongly supports the co-operation with other IEA programmes. In particular the DHC/CHP programme is involved in the Building Co-ordination Group and contributes actively towards successful meetings and positive exposure of the results of these meetings, projects and other activities.

The activities of the DHC Programme started in 1983, each period of co-operation consists of a three-year period, which we call Annexes. This brochure gives information about the projects of Annex IX, the ninth three-year period.

Benefits of membership

Membership of this implementing agreement fosters sharing of knowledge and current best practice from many countries including those where:

  •     DHC is already a mature industry
  •     DHC is well established but refurbishment is a key issue
  •     DHC is not well established.

Membership proves invaluable in enhancing the quality of support given under national programmes. Participant countries benefit through the active participation in the programme of their own consultants and research organisations. Each of the projects is supported by a team of experts, one from each participant country. As well as the final research reports, other benefits include the cross-fertilisation of ideas which has resulted not only in shared knowledge but also opportunities for further collaboration.

New member countries are very welcome – please simply contact us (see below) to discuss.


General information about the IEA Programme District Heating and Cooling including CHP can be obtained from this website or from:

Operating Agent

Dr. Andrej Jentsch
Stresemannallee 30
60596 Frankfurt am Main
Tel +49-251-1491-260
Tel +49-69-6304-344
IEA-DHC (at)

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