What to Expect from IDEA2021

Why Attend?


I went to the IDEA conference and it was the best conference I've ever been to. The collection of people who participated represent the best-in-class for large scale engineering and energy-related topics. The dedication to developing next generation energy infrastructure is contagious and invigorating.– Matt Pfannenstiel P.E., Energy Manager, Smith College

In Austin, We're Getting the Band Back Together

Austin, Texas is the perfect setting for IDEA2021 - our 112th Annual Conference -  for a number of reasons.

By the time IDEA2021 kicks off in September, it will have been over two years since our last in-person Annual Meeting and over a year-and-a-half since our last in-person meeting, CampusEnergy2020. To say we are all itching to get back together again (safely) is an understatement.

Austin, the 'live music capital of the world' is now a burgeoning technology hub with great food and drink, spacious outdoor venues to reconnect at, amazing live music to enjoy with colleagues and beautiful vistas that make it the ideal spot to 'get the band back together'. 

At IDEA2021, we’ll shine a light on the significant strides Austin and other leading cities and companies around the world are making towards building better energy infrastructure for tomorrow. In addition, there will be invaluable tours of local district energy systems, a unique Master Class in CHP/District Energy, a microgrid workshop, a bustling exhibit hall and much more. 

Austin also consistently ranks among the top cities to work, live, and visit in the world. Learn more about Austin and watch this promotional video to get ready for a great event in a great city. 


Collaboration. Conversation. Community.

For 112 years, these attributes have made IDEA conferences a unique forum for the district energy community, bringing together industry leaders from all over the world to learn from one another and share their experiences. IDEA2021 in Austin will be no exception.

IDEA2021 will bring together stakeholders in district energy, CHP, and microgrid industries. They come from the public and private sector, working in cities, communities, campuses, hospitals, military bases and airports. Like you, they are focused on building a better tomorrow today. Come hear their stories - and contribute your own.

Working together and learning from one another has never been more critical. At IDEA2021, you will gain new insights, discover new technologies, and most important, share your expertise with one another in a friendly, collegial atmosphere.


Expert Presenters with Real World Experience

At IDEA2021, you will hear from more than 100 expert presenters from all corners of the industry, delivering insight and analysis you can’t find anywhere else.

In panels, workshops, presentations, and forums, you’ll hear from presenters who have “been there, done that”, sharing practical, real world experience in building systems, spearheading innovation, and changing the status quo. And, our first Masterclass event will allow you to take a peek behind the curtain and learn how a design, plan, build, operate, maintain, and optimize a district energy system. 

Simply put, be ready to tap into a bottomless reservoir of expertise and leave with a better understanding of what to do, how to do it - and even what not to do.

View Conference Program
As always, hosting a safe and successful meeting is a top priority for IDEA, now more than ever. 

To accomplish this, IDEA has developed COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines that will help us ensure we operate an event that meet the moment. Please read up on our policies if you have already registered or plan to attend.

More than 500 people are registered to attend so far. If you can't travel to Austin for IDEA2021 at this time, you can still be a part of it by registering for the Virtual Conference.

Who Will I Meet?

If this is your first or 40th IDEA annual conference, the connections you make at IDEA2021 will be memorable and lasting. Through our educational sessions, bustling exhibit hall, and relaxing evening events, you will meet with and learn from CEOs, VPs, and other senior management professionals, project engineers, managing directors, consultants, sales managers, and many more.

Simply put, if you’re new to district energy or IDEA conferences, you will be amazed by how much you will learn. If you’re a veteran of the industry, you are guaranteed to learn something new.

Click the link for a partial list of previous attending organizations, exhibitors and partners.

Past Participating Organizations


Explore the Latest Innovation in the Exhibit Hall

Considering the high level of expertise and innovation on display, we like to think of the exhibit hall at IDEA2021 as an extension of our educational program. Where else can you get hands on access to the latest technologies and cultivate strong partnerships that will ensure your next project is a successful one?

This year’s exhibit hall features the highest caliber manufacturers, suppliers, and service contractors. If you’re looking for companies with success and an impeccable reputation for designing, constructing, and installing systems across North America and around the world, then IDEA2021 is where you’ll want to be.

Reserve Exhibit Booth


Tours of Nationally-Recognized Systems

When you join us for IDEA2021, you will also have a chance to tour some of the most innovative district energy systems in the world. That includes The University of Texas at Austin system with it's Combined Heat and Power system commissioned in 1929 and winner of the prestigious IDEA System of the Year Award in 2018.

Stay tuned for updates on the tours and other hands-on opportunities we have scheduled for you.

COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines

IDEA will be following all local, state and federal health and safety guidelines and strictly adhere to CDC guidance regarding COVID-19 protocols at the time of the event.

IDEA will communicate with attendees what protocols or safety guidelines will need to be followed onsite at the Austin Convention Center and host hotels- if any - as we get closer to the event.

“I’ve been attending many IDEA conferences since I presented at the CampusEnergy conference in Reno back in 2010, and have found them to be the best place for learning about the latest developments in district energy from fellow engineers and campus operations staff.” – Joshua Morejohn, Energy Manager, University of California, Davis