IDEA Forums

GoogleGroups logo  Meet Your Peers via IDEA Online Forums 

IDEA Forums are a membership benefit available exclusively to IDEA members.

IDEA on-line Forums provide a great  way to reach out to the world to find answers to tough questions.  The responses are professional and timely. — Joe Brillhart, Director, Global Industrial Chillers, Building Efficiency, Johnson Controls

  • Are you seeking cost and performance comparison data from peer organizations to benchmark your own operational standing?
  • Do you need candid opinions about the performance of different types of steam traps, valves, pumps or manhole covers?
  • Do you need to benchmark your operations costs and performance relative to similar district energy systems in a significant number of other organizations similar to yours?
  • Do you have a job opening that you would like to distribute among highly qualified candidate resources?
  • Do you have a challenging problem, such as corrosion in a distribution system, for which you're seeking insight and a solution?

IDEA members have posted these queries and others on an IDEA on-line Forum — and have received responses within days or even hours.

IDEA Forums 101: Overview of the Forums

  • IDEA Forums serve as informal discussion groups for members with common interests and are one of the most-cited benefits of IDEA membership.
  • Membership in an IDEA Forum is strictly voluntary.
  • All IDEA members may participate in any/all Forums.
  • Forums meet physically during conferences and workshops and electronically on-line 24/7 via Google Groups.
  • TO JOIN an IDEA Forum, click on a Forum link below. Once on the Forum page, click "Join this group" link on the right side of the page.
  • SECURITY: All Discussion items and Member signup requests that are submitted to an IDEA Forum Google Group are moderated and reviewed by IDEA before posting.
  • Download Instructions on how to use IDEA's Online Forums. You may submit forum requests to idea@districtenergy.org

IDEA Forum Lineup

IDEA Forums are each chaired or co-chaired by volunteer IDEA Members. Each of the following Forum names is linked to its on-line Google Group. (Access to IDEA on-line Forums for non-Members is read-only.)

  • BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT FORUM: Supports business development and sales professionals who are responsible for customer relations, revenue generation and new business development in district energy systems. The Business Development Forum hosts an annual workshop that focuses principally on techniques for selling district energy services in a competitive environment and provides updates on energy industry trends. The Business Development Forum meets at the IDEA Annual Conference.
    Co-Chairs: Steve Kutska, Xcel Energy; Jim Lodge, NRG Energy
  • CAMPUS FORUM: Focuses on the unique needs of directors of utility, plant supervisors and engineering staff on campuses of colleges and universities, hospitals and health centers, airports, pharmaceutical companies and other industrial campuses and military bases. The Campus Forum hosts discussions of a variety of topics from equipment specifics and fuel purchasing to system management and environmental permits. The Campus Energy Forum sponsors the annual Campus Energy Conference each year, at which members exchange information on best practice successes, challenges and solutions, traditionally scheduled in Q1.
    Chair: Aurel Selezeanu, Duke University.
  • CANADIAN FORUM: The purpose of this forum is to facilitate communication among IDEA's Canadian members, many of whom are former members of the CDEA. It is open to all IDEA members in Canada and elsewhere.
    Chair: Richard Damecour, FVB Energy, Inc.; Bruce Ander, Markham District Energy, Inc.-Board Liaison
  • DISTRIBUTION FORUM: Technical exchange for IDEA members responsible for the safe operation and design of thermal distribution systems. The forum focuses on such issues as engineering, confined space, urban construction, emergency preparedness and customer response related to the installation, operation and construction of steam, hot water and chilled water piping networks. The Distribution Forum holds a workshop at the IDEA Annual Campus Energy Conference and also meets at the IDEA Annual Conference.
    Co-Chairs: Pat Davin, Veolia Energy; Jim Riley, Texas A&M University.
  • DISTRICT COOLING FORUM: Provides technical and operational insight to all aspects of district cooling systems – from rate design to piping installation, to metering, thermal storage and system optimization. The District Cooling Forum provides technical guidance on conference topics for the Campus and the Annual conferences and the IDEA Best Practices Guide for District Cooling. The District Cooling Forum meets at the IDEA Annual Conference.
    Co-Chairs: Joe Hoose, Cool Solutions; Joe Brillhart, Johnson Controls.
  • MICROGRID FORUM: Members of the IDEA Microgrid Forum have an interest in the promotion, planning, operation and growth of microgrids, resilient local grids that can intelligently operate in parallel with, or independently from, the public electric grid. Robust microgrids have at their core district energy/CHP facilities to maximize efficiency, utilize thermal energy and integrate a variety of renewable and resilient systems. The Microgrid Forum will provide a common location for industry participants to share best practices, discuss regulatory and policy issues, and help advance to a more distributed and efficient electricity industry paradigm.
    Co-Chairs: Aurel Selezeanu, Duke University; Bob Manning, Harvard University; Ted Borer, Princeton University

  • OPERATIONS FORUM: Focuses on the technologies and applications of capital plant equipment, including control systems, metering and measurements. Both suppliers and plant technicians will benefit through peer exchange and education on the latest innovations in control technologies. As fuel costs, environmental regulations and electricity deregulation continue to impact the energy industry, the ability to improve and optimize operations becomes increasingly valuable to private and public district energy providers. The Operations Forum meets at the IDEA Annual Conference.
    Chair: Juan Ontiveros, University of Texas-Austin.
  • PRINCIPAL MANAGER'S FORUM*: For those who serve as general manager with profit & loss responsibility and primary operational responsibility for a district energy business. This Forum meeting will address: Macro problems district energy businesses are facing; Opportunities to strengthen awareness and benefits of district energy, including potential pooling of resources for white papers and studies, etc.; What can IDEA do as an association to better represent member interests; Best practices; and Open discussion.
    Co-Chairs: Stan Gent, Enwave Seattle; Steve Swinson, Thermal Energy Corp.; David Bump, Enwave Chicago
    *This Forum does not have an on-line discussion group.

  • SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FORUM:This Forum focuses on the selection, design and cost-benefit guidelines for integrating sustainable, renewable energy sources into district energy systems. District energy systems are increasingly employing various renewable energy resources, improving operational efficiency, expanding the use of CHP, reducing water consumption, improving storm water controls, and more to meet growing sustainability expectations from customers.
    Co-Chairs: Greg Coffin, University of Missouri, Columbia; Meghan Riesterer, Oberlin College
  • TALENT MANAGEMENT FORUM: The objective of this group is to facilitate knowledge sharing on the full workforce cycle - recruitment, on-boarding, training, retention, and knowledge transfer - including ideas for engaging millennials and diverse communities as sources of future talent.
    Co-Chairs: Cathy Hart, Ever-Green Energy; David Musto, Thermo Systems

If you are an IDEA Member and want to join a forum please contact idea@districtenergy.org or 508-366-9339

Not a member yet? To join IDEA click here.



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