CoolCo. - Cincinnati District Energy

District Affiliation: 

CoolCo provides district cooling services to the Central Business District in Cincinnati. It began operating in 1997 and serves 14 customers today, with plans under development for growth and decarbonization. Currently, the system is comprised of a central plant and a satellite plant with the potential to produce over 10,000 tons of chilled water, which is distributed through the system of underground pipes to serve individual buildings to reliably meet their cooling needs. The customer base includes commercial office buildings, retail and hotel facilities, government buildings and institutional facilities. Customers can use chilled water for cooling interior spaces, restaurant refrigeration, industrial processes, as well as providing primary data center cooling.

How does it work?

CoolCo provides its customers with year-round chilled water services. Chilled water is generated at the plant using a mechanical compression cycle to reduce the temperature, or extract heat from the chilled water loop. Once the temperature of the water is reduced to 40 degrees, it is circulated to the buildings where it is then used to remove heat and humidity from the internal spaces, thus cooling the air. The heat removed from the building is captured in the return water and returned to the plant to start the chilling process again. In addition to air conditioning, customers use chilled water for refrigeration and other processes.

Using a centralized chilled water system provides many benefits to end users, the most prominent being energy efficiency improvements.  The district cooling system has the capability to meet system load during extreme weather conditions, providing a reliable source of cooling to its end users. District cooling significantly reduces the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants, lowers potable water usage at the building, and improves energy efficiencies.

What is the benefit of district cooling?

District energy services allow for lower construction cost, while increasing system reliability. It can also help older buildings remain competitive by avoiding the expense of replacing aging cooling equipment, many of which utilize chlorofluorocarbons (“CFCs”), a substance banned from further production by the Clean Air Act.

Additional benefits include:


A Partner in Sustainability

The CoolCo team is working closely with the City of Cincinnati, local businesses, and sustainability partners to support local short-term and long-term goals. This partnership is focused on reducing the carbon footprint and water consumption for all users on the system, to minimize the environmental impact from operations and to meet the Cincinnati 2030District goals and objectives.  

Recently, several state-of-the-art equipment upgrades were made to improve operations:

  • New centrifugal chiller with a Variable Frequency Drive (“VFD”) will improve CoolCo’s energy efficiency by over 15%.
  • Control system upgrade in 2017 implemented artificial intelligence (“AI”) learning software, which allows dynamic sequencing of the chillers based on load patterns. This also optimizes chiller dispatch thereby reducing CoolCo’s energy consumption and further improving the system’s carbon footprint.
  • Tower Tech cooling towers offer 75% higher evaporative drift elimination than a standard cooling tower, reducing drift water loss and saving more than 33,000 gallons of water per year.

The CoolCo district energy systems provide its end users and community with an environmentally conscious and energy-efficient cooling source through aggregation and optimization. CoolCo is working diligently on new and innovative ways to improve its services for its customers and is evaluating renewable energy procurement to further reduce its carbon footprint. CoolCo is committed to sustainability and is excited to partner with the City of Cincinnati to accomplish its goals for the 2030District.

Contact - Tim Heineman, General Manager

Phone - (513) 579-0160

105 East 4th Street
Suite G100
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Company Type: 
Professional Stakeholder