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IDEA Honors Austin Energy with the prestigious 2023 System of the Year Award

By District Energy posted 06-22-2023 08:21


Longtime IDEA Member Austin Energy was presented with the prestigious 2023 IDEA System of the Year Award at the IDEA Annual Chair’s Banquet at IDEA2023, held Monday, June 5, 2023 in Chicago, IL.

The Downtown District Cooling System is one of three district energy systems owned and operated by Austin Energy, a community-owned municipal electric utility enterprise . The District Energy & Cooling (DEC) program began serving its first customer in April 2001 and has since grown to serve 73 customers, covering a total of 25 million square feet of space, including residential towers, office buildings, hotels, Whole Foods grocery, the Austin Convention Center, City Hall and Austin Community College Highland Campus. The Downtown District Cooling System in downtown Austin is the largest of the three systems and is comprised of  four district cooling plants connected by a network of piping of more than 8 miles, cooling more than 18 million square feet of downtown buildings.

James Kassim, Director of District Energy and Cooling, accepted the Award on behalf of the team at Austin Energy.  Armando Armengel, Michelle Bryant and Paige Davis were also in attendance.  “If you want to be in this business, if you want to do a good job, you have to have the passion,” said Kassim. “If you don’t have the passion, it will be just a job. This award has motivated us to invest even more in our team and the people, to train them, to help  them to love what they do, so they can give back.”

“Austin Energy demonstrated outstanding performance in everything we look for in a system,” System of the Year Committee Chair, Bob Smith, Vice President of RMF Engineering noted as he introduced the Austin Energy team. “Great customer relations, great community involvement, it is an honor to present Austin Energy with this year’s IDEA System of the Year Award for 2023.”

“Since it’s inception in 1993, the IDEA System of the Year Award has traditionally recognized highly efficient, durable and innovative district energy systems serving cities, communities and campuses.  This year’s winner, Austin Energy Downtown District System certainly measures up to the high standards for efficiency and environmental performance set by the previous winners. Congratulations to the team at Austin Energy for a job well done.”   Said Rob Thornton, President & CEO of IDEA. 

IDEA2023 was the 114th Annual Conference of the International District Energy Association.  Founded in 1909, as the National District Heating Association, IDEA continues to inform, connect, and advance the district energy industry around the globe. Today, the association has a membership of nearly 3,000industry professionals representing more than 30 countries from around the globe.

READ Austin Energy's 2023 SOYA Submission

To learn more about the System of the Year and view past year's winners, please visit the SOYA webpage.