Policy Solution

District cooling



Summary: District cooling can replace distributed cooling systems, resulting in up to 50 percent lower energy and emissions impact. These cooling systems move chilled water to buildings without contributing to the urban heat island effect like mechanical cooling.

Implementation: Evaluate district cooling and opportunities to build and incorporate it in civic infrastructure. Identify possibilities to incorporate district cooling when existing cooling systems need to be replaced or repaired.

Considerations for Use: There are many trade-offs associated with district cooling. Benefits include lower energy consumption, shifting cooling loads, increased reliability, and reduced capital costs in building development. District cooling requires high upfront capital costs to build the infrastructure and it must be implemented in high-density or new construction zones to be financially feasible.

  • Policy Levers:

  • Trigger Points:

    Evaluating or initiating major city infrastructure projectsIncludes projects such as city transit, street or utilities construction / re-construction etc.
  • Intervention Type:
    Buildings and Built Form
  • Sectors:
    Buildings, Public Works


  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Property owners, Residents
  • Phase of Impact:
    Risk reduction and mitigation
  • Metrics:
    Energy savings


  • Intervention Scale:
    City, District
  • Authority and Governance:
    City government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Long-term (10+ Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
    City government, Industry
  • Funding Sources:
    Public investment
  • Capacity to Act:


  • Cost-Benefit:
  • Public Good:
  • GHG Reduction:
  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
    Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Co-benefits (Social):
    Save on utilities