This fact sheet provides an overview of district energy systems, which are characterized by one or more central plants producing hot water, steam, and/or chilled water, which then flows through a network of insulated pipes to provide hot water, space heating, and/or air conditioning for nearby buildings. District energy systems serve a variety of end-use markets, including downtowns (central business districts), college and university campuses, hospitals and healthcare facilities, airports, military bases, and industrial complexes. By combining loads for multiple buildings, district energy systems create economies of scale that help reduce energy costs and enable the use of high-efficiency technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP).