DEC Energy

Efficiency in government

An excellent example of efficiency in government can be found in the District Energy Corporation, which provides innovative, efficient and low-cost utility services to facilities owned by Nebraska's City of Lincoln and Lancaster County and the State of Nebraska.

Uniquely, DEC streamlines jurisdictions of the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County into a single, nonprofit organization whose combined powers enable it to provide efficient and reliable energy services at a superior value.

Background and mission

In 1989, the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County formed the District Energy Corporation. DEC is a nonprofit joint entity whose mission is to provide low-cost, reliable and efficient thermal energy services.

Initially, these services were provided to the County-City building and Lancaster County Jail. Today, the scope of DEC’s operation has expanded to include the Nebraska State Capitol, Nebraska State Office building, Nebraska State Administration office, Hall of Justice building, Court House Plaza building, K Street Records facility, 605 building, 825 building, Lancaster County Adult Detention facility, Pinnacle Bank Arena, Canopy Lofts, Hyatt Hotel/Hobson Place Condominiums, Oscar Projects, The Railyard, Hudl, Canopy Row, Lincoln Electric System’s Operations Center, and Nebraska State Penitentiary. 

The reliable and efficient infrastructure and resources DEC provides today can help foster economic development of the greater Lincoln area tomorrow by providing efficient, low-cost thermal services to even more qualifying participants.

DEC facility
District Energy Corporation building at the LES Operations Center

District heating and cooling benefits building owners, developers and the community.

A better environment, reduced risk

On-site fossil fuel combustion and its related air emissions are reduced. The use of nonrenewable fuels is reduced. Ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons emissions are eliminated, reducing the burden and risk to individual building owners of complying with mandated chlorofluorocarbons regulations. Indoor air quality and temperature controls are improved.


The need for on-site chillers is eliminated, reducing energy demand and use while increasing usable building space. Capital costs for installation of on-site chillers and cooling towers are eliminated, making the capital available for other uses. Maintenance, operating and labor costs are lowered.

Efficient use of resources

Operators at DEC’s central plants use state-of-the-art control systems to monitor efficiencies, enabling use of demand-side electricity management. Heating and cooling are available without switching major equipment on and off to handle daily and seasonal load variations. Customers only use the amount of heating and cooling energy they actually need, generating little or no waste. Peak electricity demand is reduced. System efficiency is improved.

Visually pleasing

By eliminating cooling towers, architects have more rooftop design freedom, and buildings can be more architecturally pleasing. With fewer cooling towers on rooftops, the city’s skyline is improved.


High-quality production, distribution and control equipment is used at the central plant. Professional staff manages operations. Space heating and cooling are uniform. Customers are assured of building comfort. The city’s downtown infrastructure is enhanced.


DEC meets the heating and cooling needs of its customers with district heating and cooling systems. It comprises six thermal energy plants in Lincoln, Nebraska. Thermal energy produced at these plants is distributed to customers through an underground network of insulated pipes. These systems use 10-15 percent less energy than the conventional heating and cooling systems traditionally installed in buildings today.

West Haymarket Thermal Plant

This plant provides heating and cooling services to customers of the West Haymarket Joint Public Agency, which includes the Pinnacle Bank Arena (nearly 16,000-seat facility), through an energy services agreement between DEC and the agency. The plant has chillers, cooling towers and both gas-fired and electric resistance boilers that produce hot and chilled water to serve the arena and additional commercial, retail and residential space. The hot and chilled water is distributed through an underground piping distribution system. Private and public developments receive heating and cooling service from the DEC facilities through agreements with the agency. The West Haymarket Joint Public Agency is DEC’s only customer related to the West Haymarket thermal plant. Service began in September 2013.

DEC facility

County Adult Detention Facility Thermal Plant

This plant provides heating and cooling service to the detention facility. It uses a geothermal well field and water-to-water heat pumps to provide the detention facility chilled and hot water through an underground piping distribution system. Standby generation (5.4 megawatts) provides backup electrical service for the detention facility and plant while operating in either isolation from or parallel to the grid. Service began in 2012. The detention facility was occupied in 2013.


DEC facility

State Boiler Plant

This plant uses dual fuel boilers (gas primary with oil backup) to produce steam that heats the Nebraska State Capitol, Nebraska State Office building and Nebraska State Administrative office. Steam is delivered to each facility through an underground piping distribution system. Service began in 1999.

DEC facility

County/City Thermal Plant

This plant provides heating and cooling service to the County-City building, County Hall of Justice and other county/city facilities in downtown Lincoln through an underground piping distribution system that carries hot water and chilled water. The system uses a combination of chillers, dual fuel boilers (gas primary with oil backup) and thermal ice storage. Service began in 1991.

DEC facility

Lincoln Electric System Operations Center Thermal Plant

This plant began providing heating and cooling services to the LES Operations Center on March 1, 2019. Similar to the County Adult Detention Facility Thermal Plant, the LOC plant uses a geothermal well field and water-to-water heat pumps to provide chilled and hot water, which is delivered to the LOC through an underground piping distribution system. Diesel generators (nearly 1.5 megawatts in total) are available to provide backup power for the LOC and the plant while operating in either isolation from or parallel to the grid.


DEC facility

Nebraska State Penitentiary Thermal Plant

DEC has constructed a new plant to serve the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Nebraska State Penitentiary. The penitentiary’s previous plant consisted of outdated coal-fired boilers and aging chillers and cooling towers. The new facility uses higher-efficiency, gas-fired steam generators to provide high-pressure space heating steam and process steam for laundry. New high-efficiency chillers and cooling towers were installed to provide chilled water. The steam and chilled water are delivered to the penitentiary through an underground piping distribution system. Diesel generators were installed to provide backup power in isolation from the electrical grid. Service began in December 2019.


DEC facility
DEC Board meeting

Nebraska Open Meetings Act

The previously scheduled October District Energy Corporation Board of Directors meeting has been rescheduled. The Board of Directors of the District Energy Corporation will meet in a publicly convened session Oct. 24, 2022, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.  at the LES Operations Center, 9445 Rokeby Road, for this rescheduled meeting. The meeting is open to the public. You will be required to comply with any and all designated social distancing measures. Please enter the LOC off Rokeby Road at 91st Street gate and park in the lot on the west side of the building. Enter the building through Door 50, located on the west side of the building.

A link to the Board agenda for this meeting will be provided here when it is available. The agenda for this meeting will be kept continually current and shall be readily available for public inspection at 9445 Rokeby Road during normal business hours. 


DEC is governed by a five-member Board of Directors. Two members are appointed by the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners; two are appointed by the mayor of Lincoln and confirmed by the Lincoln City Council; and one is appointed by the Lincoln Electric System Administrative Board. Members serve two-year terms and are eligible for reappointment.

DEC Board member
Deb Schorr, President
DEC Board member
Tammy Ward, Vice President
DEC Board member
Sean Flowerday, Secretary/Treasurer
DEC Board member
Miki Esposito
DEC Board member
Layne Sup

DEC has contracted with Lincoln Electric System to provide administrative, financial, engineering, operations and general corporate functions.

The DEC Project Coordinator is the liaison between the DEC Board of Directors and Lincoln Electric System, and the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County.

DEC management
Jason Fortik, Administrator
DEC management
Tom Davlin, Project Manager
DEC management
Dianne Dobrusky, Assistant Secretary
DEC management
Emily Koenig, DEC CFO
DEC management
Kerin Peterson, Project Coordinator
Contact DEC

DEC Management Contractor | District Energy Corporation | 9445 Rokeby Road | Lincoln, NE 68526

[email protected]  |  402-473-3399

VISION: Striving for energy excellence 

MISSION: Provide low-cost, reliable and efficient thermal energy services to enhance and enable economic development of the Lincoln community

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