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Thermal Energy Networks

Thermal Energy Networks Building Decarbonization

TENs are a neighborhood-scale climate solution that allows entire communities to equitably and efficiently access heating and cooling.

  • TENs are the most efficient systems available to deliver climate-friendly heating and cooling.
  • These neighborhood-scale systems use a network of underground, water-filled pipes to enable heat exchange between buildings and energy sources, such as lakes and rivers, energy intensive structures, wastewater systems, or even the stable temperature of the earth.
  • Ground-source heat pumps deliver heating and cooling to buildings on the network, making them nearly six times more efficient than a building with an average gas furnace – and they improve air quality, both indoors and out.
  • TENs are one of the most promising climate solutions available to ensure a safe, equitable, and just transition away from fossil fuels in buildings.


  • TENs provide comfort year round. Thanks to their high efficiency, they can protect the electric grid from surges in energy demand even amid extreme temperature swings, and keep indoor temperatures comfortable for a fraction of the electricity use.
  • TENs can dramatically reduce water evaporation, freeing up previous water resources in drought-prone communities. 
  • By creating independence from fossil fuel price volatility, TENs can stabilize energy bills while improving air quality and public health.
  • Thanks to this wide array of advantages, TENs are increasingly popular in communities across the U.S.
  • Thermal Energy Networks are currently operational across the United States and the world.
  • Feasibility studies are underway in communities across the U.S. to understand the best conditions for TENs.

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  • Six states have passed legislation that either allows or mandates utilities to develop thermal energy network demonstration projects or pilots.

Delivering affordable, reliable, clean heating and cooling to entire communities

There’s an abundant source of renewable energy all around us measured in temperature – thermal energy. Wastewater systems, energy-intensive buildings, bodies of water, and even the ground beneath our feet contain heat. We can harness that heat to provide the most efficient form of climate-friendly heating and cooling available by installing thermal energy networks (TENs), providing year round comfort regardless of the temperature outside and for a fraction of the electricity use.

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What is thermal energy?

Explore TENs In the News

Electric appliances deliver comfort, controlled costs, and cleaner air inside and outside your home. Resources created and curated by BDC are available to support members in their electrification journeys.

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How to Develop a Thermal Energy Network

Vermont Community Thermal Networks
Provides a comprehensive walkthrough of how to develop a thermal energy network including identifying opportunities and understanding ownership
Thermal Energy Networks (TENs)
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