UNEP: Modernizing district energy systems could reduce heating & cooling primary energy consumption by up to 50%

Date: 3 March 2015

In its new report “District Energy in Cities,” The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that reducing the energy consumed to heat and cool cities is the key to keeping global temperature rise to 2°C.

A transition to modern district energy systems could contribute to 60 per cent of required energy sector emissions reductions by 2050, and reduce primary energy consumption by up to 50 per cent, according to a new report launched today by the UNEP in collaboration with the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency (C2E2), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and UN-Habitat.

With cities accounting for 70 per cent of global energy use and for 40-50 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, District Energy in Cities: Unlocking the Potential of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, reveals how local authorities and national governments can develop energy-efficient, and climate-resilient district energy systems as one of the most cost-effective solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and primary energy demand, and for helping to keep global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

District energy systems can also contribute to the green economy transition through cost savings from avoided or deferred investment in power-generation infrastructure and peak capacity; wealth creation through reduced fossil fuel expenditure, local tax revenue; and employment.

To facilitate the transition to modern district energy systems, UNEP has launched a new initiative on District Energy in Cities, as the implementing mechanism for the SE4ALL District Energy accelerator. As part of this initiative UNEP has developed a policy and investment road map comprising of 10 key steps to accelerate the development, modernization and scale-up of district energy in cities.

Download the report here