Rob Thornton

Robert P. Thornton, President & CEO, International District Energy Association


Rob Thornton is President and Chief Executive Officer of the International District Energy Association (IDEA), a 105-year old industry association founded in 1909 with headquarters outside Boston, MA. In this role since July 2000, Mr. Thornton represents the interests of nearly 2000 IDEA members from 26 countries, is publisher of District Energy magazine and organizes 4-5 global industry conferences annually.

During 26 years in the district energy industry, Mr. Thornton has led the startup and growth of three new downtown district energy systems in three different cities. He serves on the executive committee of the IEA District Energy Implementing Agreement, participates in the IEA CHP Collaborative and co-chairs the IEA International District Energy Climate Awards. IDEA actively supports the regional US DOE Technical Application Centers and the EPA CHP Partnership Program.

In his role as advocate for the district energy industry, he has briefed the President of the United States and members of his Cabinet, members of Congress, senior leadership at the US DOE, EPA, Dept of Commerce as well as the German Bundestag, the Ministries of Energy & Environment in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and numerous state & local agencies and NGO’s.

Mr. Thornton has been recognized as a CHP Champion Award by USCHPA and Norm Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award by IDEA. He is a graduate of Tufts University and resides in Hopkinton, MA with his family.