District Energy & Cooling

Reliable, Cost Effective, and Friendly to the Environment

Austin Energy offers district cooling, thermal energy storage, and distributed generation services to companies that seek alternatives to traditional air conditioning and power generation. Using chilled water is the "cool" thing to do. A chilled water system provides the highest quality indoor environment with the greatest reliability for the least overall cost. 

  • The Seasonal Equivalent Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of the chilled water system is >14, leading to less cost per square foot of air conditioned space per year.
  •  Austin Energy's chilled water system improves energy efficiency because it uses a large thermal energy storage system to make ice or cold water during the night (when electric costs are low). Austin Energy then uses the ice/cold water to produce chilled water the next day. Shutting down large chillers and most pumps on hot summer afternoons decreases the electric load on Austin Energy's power delivery system during times when demand for electricity is highest.
  • By using high-efficiency equipment and refrigerants (which do not deplete the ozone), Austin Energy's chilled water-cooling systems are environmentally friendly.

Austin continues to see growth of high tech industries, commercial office buildings, residential towers, educational facilities, medical facilities, and other modern business and industrial complexes. Such facilities require secure, highly reliable sources of energy and cooling.

Systems, such as district cooling and combined cooling, heat, and power plants serve as reliable, cost-beneficial alternatives to traditional sources of energy and cooling. We have performed detailed Life-Cycle Cost Analyses to demonstrate how joining our systems can save your project money.

  • The total life cycle costs of using Austin Energy's systems are less than the costs of constructing, operating, maintaining, repairing, and eventually replacing a stand-alone chilled water system.
  • Your initial costs of construction will be much lower without the need to obtain capital equipment such as chillers, cooling towers, condensing water pumps, and ancillary equipment.
  • Your electrical service requirements decrease due to the absence of power-intensive electric motors for the chillers, etc.
  • You may see structural and re-purposed space cost savings.
  • Centrifugal chillers lose efficiency during part‐load conditions. District Cooling avoids those wasted dollars because your building incurs no such financial penalty during part‐load conditions.

District Energy Services

Austin Energy installs and maintains the piping, heat exchangers and ancillary equipment to deliver chilled water from a district cooling plant to your building. Our team can assess your building to determine if district cooling makes sense for you.

  • District Cooling — Provides customers' HVAC requirements through a network of underground pipes serving multiple buildings in a service area. Austin Energy currently has district cooling systems in the central business district, the Domain and the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport Redevelopment Zone. 

    A district cooling plant distributes chilled water (approximately 44° to 45°) to the customer's building through a set of heat exchangers located in a mechanical room. A single plant can meet the cooling needs of several buildings.
  • Distributed Cooling, Heating, and Power (CHP) — With distributed CHP, the latest technologies such as package chiller units, heat recovery units, and combustion turbines are used at or on a site close to your business.

    These units generate electricity at your site while using the Austin Energy power grid as back up.

Learn More

Contact Us

Find out how your business can benefit from district energy.

Email District Energy & Cooling team today to request more information or to schedule a professional consultation.

Date last reviewed or modified: 12/20/2022