The Irish District Energy Association (IrDEA) is Ireland’s only membership organisation dedicated to promoting and supporting the rollout of District Heating and Cooling from sustainable, low carbon, renewable energy sources.

District energy is a key component of an overall smart energy system for Ireland, and the IrDEA is dedicated to helping overcome the current barriers facing district heating and cooling in Ireland. Since our establishment in 2017, IrDEA has worked hard to broaden and develop our membership, currently representing members from across the public, private, and academic sectors.

About District Energy

District energy systems are used widely across Europe, providing cities and towns with affordable, low-carbon heating and cooling.

District heating networks supply heat and are fuel and technology agnostic, i.e., any source that can heat water can be used to supply the network. This means district heating supports all potential suppliers of heat, from geothermal, biomass and industrial waste heat to solar thermal and CHP.

As a result, district energy indirectly supports these other industries, and IrDEA in turn benefits from this shared interest with other associations representing these industries in Ireland.


About District Heating

How it works

The fundamental idea of district heating is to use local fuel or heat resources that would otherwise be wasted to satisfy local customer heat demands. This requires a heat distribution network of specialist pipes to be created.

Three three key elements are required for a district heating system:

– Suitable low-cost heat source
– The heat demand/market
– The pipes as a connection between source and demands.

These elements must be local to help minimizing the capital investment in the distribution network.


Suitable heat demand

Suitable heat demands are space heating and domestic water heating for residential, public, and commercial buildings. Low-temperature industrial heat demands are also suitable, typically defined as the industrial heat uses that require 100 degrees Celsius or less.

Traditional excess heat resources are combined heat and power (CHP) plants, Waste-to-Energy (WtE) plants, and industrial processes. During recent decades, some renewable heat from geothermal wells, solar collectors, and biomass fuels have been introduced into the global district heating systems.

District Heating is a substitute for ordinary primary energy supply for various heat demands, while achieving lower environmental impact.


District Cooling

The expertise established with respect to district heating has paved the way for the development and deployment of district cooling systems. These are mainly used for space cooling demands in buildings.

As district cooling is a more recent innovation than district heating, it is neither as common nor as extensive as district heating systems (Werner, 2017, 2004).


Information Resources


Werner, S., 2017. International review of district heating and cooling. Energy 137, 617–631. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2017.04.045

Werner, S., 2004. District Heating and Cooling, in: Cleveland, C.J. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Energy. Elsevier, New York, pp. 841–848. https://doi.org/10.1016/B0-12-176480-X/00214-X