Helping Lead

District Energy

Rochester District Heating Cooperative, Inc. (RDH) owns and manages a district energy system that supplies cost-effective and reliable thermal energy to dozens of buildings in Rochester’s Center City, totaling more than 8.5 million square feet. RDH is the only member-owned, nonprofit thermal cooperative in New York State and one of more than 800 district energy centers in the United States.

Thermal Heating

Utilizing more than nine miles of distribution piping, RDH provides cost-effective, reliable, resilient, and environmentally friendly thermal energy in the form of steam that heats buildings, generates hot water, controls humidity, and much more.


Since its formation in 1985, RDH has grown to include an impressive list of members who recognize the many benefits of a thermal district energy system. From educational institutions, medical buildings, and public and private organizations to local business and multi-tenant residential buildings, RDH and its members are leading the thermal Renaissance of Rochester.

Just about everywhere you look in Rochester, you can spot our RDH members. And every one is saving money and enjoying reliable thermal energy year-round.

RDH can provide thermal energy to existing buildings and planned properties located in Rochester’s Center City. We can help you identify additional operational efficiencies, assist in your search for a new heating plant, or provide a more cost-effective energy source for new builds or renovations. Please contact RDH for more details.

RDH Staff

Our Affiliations

As an active part of the revitalization of Rochester, the Rochester District Heating Cooperative, Inc., has partnered with industry, community, and government organizations to support the growth and development of our city.


System Audits

Identifying Areas for Improvement

Rochester District Heating Cooperative, Inc.’s team has the experience and expertise to survey your steam system and identify areas for improvement. Working collaboratively with our members, we help determine and prioritize projects to improve your system's reliability, performance, and cost effectiveness. As a member of the cooperative, these services are free of charge.

System Audit Steps

The audit consists of visual observations of the steam station and equipment used in the distribution of the steam and in the facility’s use and/or return of hot condensate. This includes not only the RDH equipment, but also any member-owned systems, including equipment, piping, and traps. A Milwaukee Model 2260-21 Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera and a Reed R2002 Infrared Thermometer are utilized to assess temperatures and operations of equipment. All areas are documented via digital photography.

RDH Audit Deliverables

A comprehensive report is provided that details the findings of the audit. Recommendations are provided to assist the member in corrective actions. If rebates are available for any of the corrective actions, RDH can assist in the administration of the applications for the rebates.

Case Study

In the winter of 2015, RDH observed a notable increase in one member’s usage. As a result, we informed the member and the member requested a system audit. During the audit, several traps were found to be failed open. Failed open traps are a significant contributor to high energy consumption. After the member fixed the failed traps, their consumption decreased by more than 46%!

RDH Service Area

Rochester District Heating Cooperative, Inc., supplies thermal energy in the form of steam or hot water to buildings throughout Rochester’s Center City. If you are located near the RDH service area and are looking for more efficiencies in your operations or for a more cost-effective energy source, RDH is the connection you’ve been looking for.

Click here to see a bigger version of the map.

For a map of current RDH members, click here.

Franchise Map

Who We Serve

From businesses, government buildings, churches, and organizations of all sizes to developers, architects, and engineers changing our city’s landscape, RDH’s unique district energy system serves a wide variety of members within Rochester’s Center City.

Real Estate Developers

Design & Engineering Consultants

Building Owners

HVAC Contractors

The RDH Advantage

As part of a district energy cooperative, RDH members receive exceptional benefits, including lower heating costs; flexible contract options; new member and renewing member discounts; and unmatched service, reliability, and resiliency—all from a state-of-the-art central plant that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Due to economies of scale in producing steam at a centralized facility, energy rates remain highly competitive no matter what the market conditions. Members avoid significant costs associated with on-site boiler systems, such as:

  • Fuel costs
  • Up-front equipment purchase and installation
  • Staffing and operation costs
  • Maintenance and chemicals
  • Insurance
  • Electric
  • Capital depreciation
  • Space requirements

RDH can be a primary source of energy or a standby source of energy. We can supply energy for a wide range of heating systems, including steam, hydronic, and water-sourced heat pumps. We can also provide temporary heat for construction that transitions into a permanent heating solution.

Members also play a key role in RDH’s operations by participating in and contributing directly to budgetary issues and administrative planning.

RDH Advantage_Falls Image

RDH Member Map

Rochester District Heating Cooperative, Inc., provides service within Rochester's Center City—with many of Rochester's most recognizable buildings already connected to the system.

Industry News


RDH, Inc., finishes infrastructure updates

Rochester District Heating Cooperative, has completed its $7 million downtown facility modernization projects. The infrastructure updates will allow the nonprofit thermal energy cooperative to provide buildings throughout Rochester’s Center City with cost-conscious thermal energy.


District Energy: Now's the Time

No matter where you live, energy is one of the great challenges of the 21st century. Scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs around the world are working on solutions to increase energy efficiencies and slow the growth of greenhouse gases.

How to Join RDH

An integrated team of energy experts makes joining RDH a seamless process for your organization or next project. RDH's complimentary consultation services include:

  • District energy services overview
  • Comprehensive on-site review of current heating systems
  • Detailed cost-comparison analysis
  • Membership on-boarding plan

Just fill out this simple form to receive more information about joining RDH.


Technical Specifications

  • System Pressure: 175 psig
  • Temperatures: 540°F to 600°F superheated steam (depending on time of year)
  • Plant Capacity: 200,000 pounds per hour, not including redundancy
  • Plant Total Capacity: 5 boilers totaling 300,000 pounds per hour
  • Steam Quality: FDA grade high-purity steam
  • Plant Efficiencies: >90% due to extensive heat recovery equipment
  • Fuels: Natural Gas primary, #2 Fuel Oil backup
  • Condensate Return: Returning >50% of sales back to the central plant for reuse
  • Distribution: More than 9 miles of distribution piping with 84 manholes
  • Service: More than 8.5 million square feet of space in 47 buildings
  • Operations: 24/7/365
  • Reliability: >99.9% uptime

Please contact Rochester District Heating Cooperative for our recommended materials specifications for your connection to RDH.


What is district heating?

A system for distributing thermal energy, primarily through underground pipes, to buildings in a geographic proximity to a centrally located generation plant. The proximity may be a campus or a municipality and can range from a few supported buildings to an entire city.

Are there other systems like RDH?

Yes. There are more than 840 district energy systems in the US and many more worldwide. District energy is commonly used at college campuses, hospitals, city centers, and military bases. District energy is a requirement in many European cities.

Who can connect to the RDH system?

Any building that is located within the downtown area—specifically within Rochester's Center City and close to the existing RDH distribution system. RDH will evaluate each building's requirements and proximity to the system and provide a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis and consultation regarding the cost of connecting to the RDH system and becoming a member of the Cooperative.

How do RDH members use district heat?

District heating can be in the form of steam or hot water, including high-temperature hot water. District heating can be used for heating, domestic hot water, humidification processes, food preparation, laundry, pools, cooling, electrical generation, snow melting, and pumping.

What are the advantages of district heating and the benefits of RDH membership?

  • Greater efficiency, reliability, resiliency, and redundancy
  • No capital expenditures for on-site boilers
  • No equipment maintenance costs
  • Competitive, flexible service plans
  • Uninterrupted service 24/7/365
  • Lower operator costs
  • Reduced fuel requirements
  • Satisfaction of supporting a locally owned organization

How is RDH positioned to adapt and grow for the future?

With the most recent investments made in 2017, RDH is well-positioned to support and participate in the ongoing renaissance of Rochester. Added capacity; increased reliability, resiliency, and redundancy; and improved efficiencies make RDH a competitive choice for building owners and developers who are looking for new or replacement thermal systems for their buildings. RDH is an alternative and cost-effective energy solution for local buildings, businesses, and economic developers.

RDH is also exploring new technologies and other energy systems, including distributed energy, combine heat and power/Microgrid, and chilled water.

Contact Us

(585) 546-8890

150 State Street, Suite 110
Rochester, NY 14614