Awards & Scholarships

It's Award Season at IDEA!

Once again, it's time for IDEA to honor the best of the best in district energy. The only question is - will it be your organization we honor this year?

While it's awards season for movies and film, at IDEA the members who win this year's InnovationSystem of the Year and District Energy Space Awards are the real stars. In their own unique way, each of these prestigious awards highlight the amazing work being done in district energy today.

The deadline to submit for these awards is the first week in April and the winners are all honored at IDEA2023, taking place in Chicago, June 5-8. We look forward to receiving your submissions!

System of the Year Award

Created in 1992, the System of the Year Award is the highest honor IDEA can confer on a district energy system, recognizing high-level performance, reliability, efficiency and industry engagement furthering the goals of the district energy industry.

Congratulations to Austin Energy for winning the 2023 System of the Year Award!

View Past Winners & Competition Guidelines

Innovation Award

The Innovation Award provides a platform for IDEA members to share projects, programs and/or best practices that achieve higher energy efficiency, greater reliability and/or enhanced value to the stakeholder community while demonstrating the value proposition of district energy to the marketplace.

Congratulations  to CenTrio for winning the 2023 Innovation Award!

View Past Winners & Competition Guidelines

District Energy Space

District Energy Space is a publication that reports the incremental calendar year annual growth of new and renewed customer building space served by district energy.

Awards are given to the organizations that report the Greatest Number of Buildings Added in North America, Most Square Feet Added in North America, Greatest Number of Buildings Added Beyond North America, and Most Square Feet Added Beyond North America. We urge all IDEA Member Systems to participate each year.

Congratulations to all the 2022 DE Space Winners!

View Past Winners & Competition Guidelines


IDEA Carbon Count

IDEACC is an annual elective initiative to assess carbon emissions by member district energy systems and better understand the methods member systems are using to decarbonize. This voluntary program is intended to support IDEA education and advocacy efforts and should become a valuable tool for members to share best practices and demonstrate their success at reducing carbon emissions on behalf of their customers and connected buildings.

The deadline to submit is Saturday, April 1. All submitting parties will be recognized onstage at IDEA2023 in Chicago and on the IDEA blog.

View Submission Guidelines

Norman R. Taylor Award

Awarded each year at IDEA's Annual Conference & Trade Show, the Norman R. Taylor Award is IDEA's tribute to its "Person of the Year." The award is the top honor IDEA can confer on an individual, recognizing that person's lifetime achievements and contributions to the district heating and cooling industry.

Congratulations to Jim Lodge of CenTrio for winning this year's Norm Taylor Award!

View Past Winners & More Information

Unsung Hero Award

The IDEA Unsung Hero Award recognizes an IDEA member who has performed above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of the industry and the association, without requiring or seeking recognition for his or her efforts.

Congratulations to Henry Johnstone of  GLHN Architects for winning the 2023 Unsung Hero Award

View Past Winners & More Information

Scholarships and Student Video Contest

John Gray Scholarship

Established at IDEA's 100th Annual Conference in 2009, the John Gray Scholarship aims to attract and retain individuals wishing to pursue knowledge about energy in general and district energy specifically. The scholarship is offered annually to IDEA member employees and their children, or to individuals pursuing an enhancement of knowledge of district energy either through the educational opportunities at IDEA meetings or through educational programs at four-year universities in management, engineering, finance, or energy, or at two-year community colleges that offer an Associate’s Degree in power engineering.

Congrats to Tyler Kleinsasser for winning the 2023 John Gray Scholarship!

View Past Winners & Scholarship Guidelines
Submit for 2023 Award

Campus Energy Student Video Contest

Launched in 2012, this contest challenges students from IDEA member institutions to create a short video (under 3 minutes) about their campus energy plant. The primary goal of the contest is to enhance general awareness among students of how their institutions district energy systems and their operators provide a reliable, economic, efficient and environmentally sound means of heating, cooling and powering their campuses.

After a two-year hiatus, we were excited to bring this contest back in 2023. Congrats to the University of Cincinnati for winning the 2023 Student Video Award!

View Past Winners & Competition Guidelines