Abstract Energy equilibrium models can be valuable aids in energy planning and decision-making. In such models, supply is represented by a cost-minimizing linear submodel and demand by a smooth vector-valued function of prices. In this paper, we use the energy equilibrium model to study conventional systems and cogeneration-based district energy (DE) systems for providing heating, cooling and electrical services, not only to assess the potential economic and environmental benefits of cogeneration-based DE systems, but also to develop optimal configurations while accounting for such factors as economics and environmental impact. The energy equilibrium model is formulated and solved with software called WATEMS, which uses sequential non-linear programming to calculate the intertemporal equilibrium of energy supplies and demands. The methods of analysis and evaluation for the economic and environmental impacts are carefully explored. An illustrative energy equilibrium model of conventional and cogeneration-based DE systems is developed within WATEMS to compare quantitatively the economic and environmental impacts of those systems for various scenarios.