Founded in 1909

The International District Energy Association first started as the National District Heating Association (NDHA) in Toledo, Ohio on July 9, 1909 by six attendees at the 14th annual convention of the Ohio Electric Light Association. For over 100 years, the association has held onto its original mission, “…to foster and promote the common interest of its members and to advance scientific and practical knowledge in all matters relating to Hot Water and Steam Heating, especially district Central Station Heating.”

View Historic List of IDEA Annual Conferences and Chairs

View Historic List of IDEA Campus Energy Conferences

View Historic List of IDEA International District Cooling Conferences


Establishing an International Presence

In 1968, the NDHA became “International” in recognition of its growing membership around the globe, now totaling more than 24 countries. Anticipating the growth of district chilled water systems, “Cooling” was added to the name in 1984. In 1994, the association was renamed again to the “International District Energy Association,” recognizing the economic efficiency advantages and the emergence of combined heat and power (CHP) as an environmentally superior solution.


Expanding to the Middle East

Acknowledging the unprecedented growth of District Cooling happening in the region, IDEA established a Middle East chapter in 2006. Every other year, IDEA hosts an International Cooling Conference, gathering international leaders representing the largest and most cutting-edge cooling systems in the world.


Microgrid Resources Coalition

The Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC) was formed in 2014 to provide policy advocacy and drive regulatory reform to advance greater deployment of microgrids. By providing power when the grid is down and energy savings when the grid is operating, microgrids meet their hosts’ needs for enhanced reliability, energy savings and reduced emissions. By responding flexibly to the needs of the grid, they deliver energy, capacity, and ancillary services that improve the reliability of the bulk power system and the efficiency of energy markets. The MRC advocates for policy and regulatory reforms that recognize and appropriately value these services, while assuring non-discriminatory access to the grid for a wide variety of microgrid configurations and business models.

Members of the MRC represent a coalition of diverse interests including microgrid owners, operators, developers, equipment providers and suppliers, engineering and controls specialists, technology integrators, utilities and investors who are engaged in policy advocacy and regulatory reform at a federal, regional, state and local level. Many IDEA members have been operating highly reliable and resilient energy systems that integrate production of electricity and thermal energy through combined heat and power (CHP). In 2016, IDEA assumed operation of the Microgrid Resources Coalition.