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CenTrio Wins "Out of the Box" Award of Excellence at the 8th Global District Energy Climate Awards

By District Energy posted 11-15-2023 10:26


Euroheat & Power


In collaboration with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the IEA Technology Collaboration Programme on District Heating and Cooling (IEA DHC), the UN Environment Program, and leading representative organisations of the District Energy sector – Euroheat & Power, IDEA and APUEA – an unprecedented initiative was formed to celebrate success and collective attainment in the District Heating and Cooling sector. The Ceremony of the 8th edition of the Global District Energy Climate Awards was held during the Euroheat & Power Summit on 14-15 November 2023 in Brussels, Belgium.

‘Out of the box’ | Award of Excellence

‘Out of the box’ – category recognising initiatives which do not fit in any of the other categories listed for the Global District Energy Climate Awards but show evidence of significant innovation in the District Energy sector.

CenTrio operates the largest carbon-free ice storage chilled-water system in the United States, providing sustainable district cooling service to nearly 53 million square feet of building space in 115 buildings across downtown Chicago, Illinois. CenTrio’s first central cooling plant was established in 1995. Over the past 28 years, CenTrio’s Chicago grew from a single central plant serving a handful of downtown customers to a district of five distribution plants interconnected by 8.5 trench-miles of piping and several satellite chiller plants. 

The district cooling system continues to improve and grow. In the last 3 years the system has grown by 13% and the major modernization and expansion effort included the installation of the Chicago River Ultra Filtration System, Plant 2 Modernization, and Construction of the Old Post Office Cooling Plant & Distribution. CenTrio Chicago has taken a holistic approach to reach a carbon-free cooling solution for downtown Chicago citizens and businesses by coupling climate and natural resource solutions within the district thermal cooling storage sector and electric sector as well as the water sector. As a result, the system is experiencing savings of approximately 35,000 Metric Tons of Carbon each year with about 250,000,000 million gallons of water savings each year. Additionally, the Chicago operations team has successfully converted about 45% of its refrigerant inventory to an option that results in a decrease of about 400 GWP.

 "CenTrio is deeply honoured to accept the 2023 Global Climate District Energy Award. As an organisation dedicated to sustainability and maintaining a 99.99% reliability record, we are grateful for the recognition of our system in downtown Chicago for operational excellence, and pioneering sustainable practices in what has become North America’s largest carbon-zero district cooling system. From innovative river-water cooling to thermal ice storage or “Ice Battery”, the district has evolved into a beacon of hope for a climate-resilient future. This unique system was designed to operate at night and melt during the day, reducing costs and carbon emissions and it also leverages the Chicago River for aqua-thermal heat rejection and employs proprietary technologies, saving 250M+ gallons of water annually, benefiting the community and establishing higher industry standards. Thank you again for recognising our efforts in the battle against climate change. Together, we can push the boundaries for sustainable energy and truly innovate to make a difference."

Meghan Riesterer, Chief Sustainability Officer | Sr Vice President ESG & Decarbonization, CenTrio

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