Winners of the 7th Global District Energy Climate Awards announced!

In cooperation with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and their Technology Collaboration Programme on District Heating and Cooling, the UN environment cities initiative and the representative organizations of the district energy sector the winners of the 7th Global District Energy Climate Awards were revealed during the virtual awards ceremony on November 11, 2021.

The finalists were selected from cities and communities across the globe which demonstrate local district energy leadership in providing clean and sustainable energy solutions. Over 150 professionals from organizations across the world met virtually to celebrate success and collective attainment, though it has become clear that the road to delivering access to sustainable heating and cooling for all, without warming the planet, does not end here!

With immense gratitude we would like to thank once again the projects from around the world for taking the time to apply and providing sustainable district energy solutions; our winners for developing transformative district heating and cooling concepts and projects; our panel members for executing rigorous evaluation of the projects; and our Global District Energy Climate Awards Ceremony hosts and coordinators for making all this possible.

And the Winners are…

Modernization | Award of Excellence

Modernization – category recognizing the District Energy system that had the most positive impact in terms of effectiveness and efficiency after implementing technical, managerial, or operational modernization aspects:

District heating system of Bolzano – Bozen | South Tyrol, Italy 


The DH System of Bolzano in South Tyrol (northern Italy) began in 1986 in order to satisfy a local social housing district need for heat. Towards end of the 1990’ began the expansion, optimisation and from 2008 a massive expansion took place, made possible through the construction of a new waste incineration plant. A strong reduction of CO2 emission was possible despite a massive expansion of the network. The maximum value of reduction was achieved in 2018 with 95%! Due to continuous optimisation, a high level should be hold. When the investment plan for Bolzano is complete, 70 mio € will be spent, around 7.5 million cubic metres of gas will be saved each year, saving somewhere in the region of 15,000 tonnes of avoided CO2 emissions, equivalent to a virtual forest of two thousand hectares appearing in the city.


“Alperia is incredibly proud to be a winner of the 7th Global District Energy Climate Award. The district heating system of the city of Bolzano mainly uses excess heat from the municipal solid waste incinerator to provide heating and hot water. Thanks to district heating, the expansion of the distribution network and the increase in the use of waste heat by 137.5%, it has been possible to reduce CO2 emissions by 60%. For us, the Award is a stimulus to continue with our effort against climate change.” 

Günther Andergassen, CEO Alperia Ecoplus

Expansion | Award of Excellence

Expansion – category awarding the District Energy system that expanded to a new area or sector with excellence, delivering significant benefits to stakeholders:

District Cooling Central Plants, Qatar Foundation | Doha, Qatar 


All our work at Qatar Foundation revolves around offering people opportunities. While our other initiatives provide opportunities for excellence in education and research, it’s through our community development initiatives that we provide a platform to fully engage communities on the ground and build programs that develop our nation as a whole. “Dive deep into energy transition and decarbonization, and what it means for the future of the world”. 

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“We are conscious of our responsibilities towards the community to build sustainable operations, our goal is to contribute towards Qatar’s National Vision 2030 and honoring the State’s commitments to UNSDG goals. On the utilities front we are sparing no efforts to be industry leaders and groundbreakers in sustainable operations and have developed a program to eliminate the use of potable water in our District Cooling Plants while maintaining high efficiency.”

Khalid Y. Al-Yacoub, Manager, District Cooling & Infrastructure, City Operations - Facilities & Infrastructure, Qatar Foundation

New Scheme | Award of Excellence

New Scheme – category awarding the vision of a new, highly energy-efficient District Energy system:

Low temperature district heating in Brunnshög | Lund, Sweden


The world’s largest low-temperature district heating (LTDH) grid was inaugurated in Lund, Sweden, in the fall of 2019. The grid is based on fossil free energy from recovered waste heat. Many new technologies are introduced in the production, distribution and use of the heat resulting in less energy losses and cheaper energy for the customers. In 2009 two historic decisions meant that two large research facilities were to be placed in Lund; the European Spallation Source (ESS) and the MAX IV Laboratory. The two facilities would be located in close proximity and form the basis for an entirely new city district called Brunnshög. Plans for Brunnshög include setting an example for sustainable city development. Over a period of 40 years, Brunnshög will reach 40 000 people living and working within its limits. Science heats the city! Using more than 50 years of experience in district heating, plans were made to use the district heating grid as a cooling system for ESS and MAX IV to make them as environmentally efficient as possible. Already in operation, MAX IV generates enough heat to supply all of Brunnshög when it is completed. Kraftringen, in cooperation with the City of Lund, therefore committed to building a next-generation low temperature district heating grid in Brunnshög. Making sure that the residual heat from MAX IV come to good use.


”In Lund, we have been using waste flows for heating for many years. With the research facilities MAX IV and ESS, and the new city district of Brunnshög being built around them, we integrated waste heat into the infrastructure as it is being built. The world’s largest low temperature district heating grid already distributes the heat from MAX IV, which alone will be enough to supply all of Brunnshög when completed. The surplus heat is used within the regular district heating grid of Lund, making sure no heat goes to waste.”

Sara Kralmark, Sustainability Strategist, Kraftringen

District Energy in Developing Countries  | Award of Excellence

District Energy in Developing Countries - category representing DHC systems that have been successfully implemented in developing countries which have no established district energy market, where both pressure on finance and environmental issues can be acute:

The Government Complex Commemorating His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary, 5th December, B.E. 2550 (2007) | Bangkok, Thailand 

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The Government Complex and the district cooling system were mainly designed to respond to requirements of various occupant types including permanent, temporary, and special occupants. The buildings must be able to save energy with the latest technology available without compromising health and well-being of occupants. Due to integrated design concepts, The Government Complex can reduce external heat gain which leads to lower energy consumption for the HVAC systems, reduce of anthropogenic heat which contributes to the greenhouse effect, and reduce electricity demand during on-peak period. In 2020, the project achieved environmental and energy efficient targets including: -electricity consumption of 107,305.3 MWh, -electricity costs of 4.07 Million Baht and -CO2 emissions of 46,892.41 TonCO2. As the achievements in energy efficiency, environmental benefits, investment and management costs of the existing DCS, a new DCS will also be implemented for a future extension of the Government Complex called Zone C. The area consists of more than 660,000 sqm. GFA and will be supplied by chilled water from DCS.


“The Government Complex Bangkok is confident that district energy is one of sustainable energy solutions. Our architectural, interior, and engineering concepts are to achieve energy saving buildings of over 1 million square meters, in order to harvest the potential of renewable energy that would otherwise go to waste, without compromising health and well-being of our 24,000 occupants.
We believe that this Award will be an inspiration for other real estate developers in Thailand to realize the importance and power of this sustainable energy solution for today and tomorrow.”

Nalikatibhag Sangsnit, Ph.D, Managing Director, Government Complex Bangkok

Emerging DHC Market | Award of Excellence

Emerging DHC Market - category highlighting the successful implementation of a District Energy system in a country that does not yet have an established District Energy market:

Alexandra District Energy Utility | Richmond, Canada 

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In 2012 the first district energy system in the City of Richmond -the Alexandra District Energy Utility (ADEU) – was completed. ADEU is a low carbon district energy system that utilizes ground-source technology to deliver heating, cooling, and domestic hot water pre-heat services to customers in Richmond’s West Cambie neighborhood. Since ADEU started operations in 2012, the West Cambie neighborhood has continued to grow. The ADEU system currently provides energy to 12 buildings, connecting over 2,200 residential units and over 2.3 million square feet of floor space. The use of renewable ground-source energy helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the community’s reliance on fossil fuels. ADEU’s control system prioritizes the use of a renewable energy source, moving on to cooling towers or boilers only when necessary. By reducing the need to burn natural gas, ADEU also significantly reduces air pollution in the neighborhood. The ADEU is an example of how successful policy mechanisms and revenue generation can be used to implement innovative large-scale low carbon district energy systems.


"The Alexandra District Energy Utility (ADEU) is a low carbon district energy system that utilizes ground-source technology to deliver heating, cooling, and domestic hot water pre-heat services to customers in Richmond, BC, Canada. The system has grown, since 2012, to provide energy to 12 buildings, connecting over 2,200 residential units and over 2.3 million square feet of floor space. It helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the community’s reliance on fossil energy sources. It is adaptable to sustainable energy sources such as ground source, air source, sewer heat and solar. To date, ADEU has delivered more than 41,130 MWh of energy and avoided more than 6,800 tCO2e of GHG emissions. The fully completed system will reduce more than 1,200 tCO2e of GHG emissions annually."

Alen Postolka, Manager, District Energy, Lulu Island Energy Company Ltd.

Out of the Box | Certificate of Merit

Out of the Box - represents organizations carrying out initiatives which do not fit in any of the other categories but show evidence of significant innovation and sustainability in the wider District Energy context: 

Floating Office Rotterdam | Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Floating Office Rotterdam is the largest floating office in the world. It is a building for a new age. Off grid and carbon-neutral, it floats if water levels rise due to climate change. It forms a key element in a newly redeveloped port environment by providing public waterside space – and even a swimming pool. The anchor tenant is the Global Centre on Adaptation (UN sustainability department). Its mission is to develop and share knowledge on climate change. The heat pump with surface water heat exchange is one of the innovations that showcases the building’s mission for sustainability, climate change and circularity. The heat/cold generation is supplied by two heat pumps, which are placed in the floating building’s pontoon. The energy system is the product of a unique collaboration between RED Company, Eteck & Roodenburg.


"The Floating Office as a timber structure is ready for a circular future. The Structure, made completely out of timber, shows that wood is a lightweight material that can go through multiple cycles of re-use: As a modular structure, it can be taken apart and rebuilt as a new structure and recycled into source material for cladding elements. At the same time, it's a carbon storage. The Floating office demonstrates the value of adaptation when dealing with changing water levels, but more importantly, it has been designed as a holistic system in which material use, energy consumption work as a balanced system. The office's foundation works as a heat exchange that uses the harbor water as a cooling and heat source and works with 870m2 of solar panels to be an energy-positive system. It is a holistic system in which the design results from pragmatic decisions packaged in an elegant design in which sustainable solutions are not gimmicks but rather just common sense."

Albert Takashi Richters, Associate Architect - Powerhouse Company



Zakito District Cooling | Curacao, Dutch Caribbean


The realization of the Zakito District Cooling project, will unlock the huge potential of deep seawater based cooling and related industry. Zakito District Cooling intends to connect all suitable buildings such as hotels, the medical centre and many more. It uses seawater from 850m deep (±5°C) for the direct cooling of buildings, reducing CO2 emissions with 96% and eliminating the need for HCFC’s (R22) and HFC’s (R134A), at much cheaper cost the clients. The investment of ±USD 50M will open the potential of a new economic pillar for the island with 400-600 new jobs and a direct and indirect economic impact of ca USD 100M annually. The current crisis however obstructs the international and local financing institutions to commit to the Zakito District Cooling project, due to the temporary collapse of the hospitality industry. As soon as additional risk coverage has been arranged construction will start.


“The Zakito District Cooling project will be the result of a team effort. This Certificate of Merit is of great importance to all of us and is the best motivation possible. The energy for islands coming from cold deep seawater is underestimated. It is not only about sustainability and providing cost efficient cooling, the deep seawater system such as the future Zakito District Cooling project will generate as well positive impact on the economic development such as export earnings, jobs creation and in time provide a large quantity of local vegetables and seafood, creating green and more self-sufficient islands!”

Gilbert Gouverneur, Director, Zakito District Cooling