About District Energy

As a District Energy system, Enwave Seattle offers a centralized service providing heat (thermal energy) to a large number of buildings within downtown Seattle. District Energy systems are in widespread use throughout the United States and around the world because with a relatively small footprint, they can serve a large number of buildings and institutions. Click here to see a video that explains how District Energy systems operate and the role they can play in a sustainable energy supply future.

In 2003, Seattle Steam, now Enwave Seattle, was honored with the "System of the Year" award by the International District Energy Association (IDEA), which recognizes exemplary District Energy systems that provide high-level performance and service to their communities.

Benefits of District Energy

District Energy systems offer many sound economic and environmental benefits:

  • District Energy eliminates the capital costs and space required to buy and operate individual boilers in buildings.
  • A District Energy system greatly reduces many of the operating and maintenance staff costs by eliminating the need for highly trained on-site maintenance and operating personnel, as well as annual maintenance contracts.
  • District Energy systems operate around the clock with stable/reliable infrastructure, and have the proven ability to withstand major events, such as earthquakes and severe weather, without interruption.
  • A system like Enwave Seattle's creates heating efficiencies by capturing and reusing waste heat and energy before it leaves the plant. Watch a video about combined heat and power resiliency
  • Enwave Seattle has the flexibility to incorporate renewable energy resources to fuel the production of steam and reduce its carbon footprint, as well as that of its customers.
  • Buildings on District Energy systems take only the amount of energy they require. There is no need for on-site boiler plants that must be designed large enough for peak heating needs.

Learn more about District Energy by visiting the International District Energy Association website.

About District Energy

Enwave Seattle's District Energy system produces steam at two central plants on Western Avenue and then distributes it through 18 miles of pipe under approximately one-square mile of downtown Seattle.


White Paper:
Combined Heat & Power (CHP)

"Managing a 500,000-square-foot facility can be very time-consuming. District heating gives us uniform, consistent service without the costs and liabilities of pressure vessels, maintenance and back-up systems."
– Director of Engineering, Four Seasons Olympic Hotel

"We truly don't believe we would have received ENERGY STAR certification without our connection to Enwave Seattle and District Energy."
– Chief Engineer, Unico Properties

"One of the best things about Enwave Seattle is how easy it is to take their service for granted. They're out of sight and out of mind, but always here when we need them."
– Engineering Director, Seattle Sheraton Hotel & Towers