The determination of optimum thickness of insulation is often applied to energy technologies and building projects. In this study, the energy, economic and environmental evaluations of thermal insulation in district heating pipeline are discussed. The optimum insulation thickness, energy saving over a lifetime of 10 years, payback period and emissions of CO2, CO and SO2 are calculated for nominal pipe sizes and fuel types based on heating loads in Afyonkarahisar/Turkey. The life cycle cost analysis is used to determine the optimum thickness of the pipeline material in order to take into account the change in inflation that directly affect both the cost of pipeline material and fuels depending on fuel type. The results show that the highest value of optimum insulation thickness, energy savings, emissions and the lowest payback period are reached for a nominal pipe size of 200 mm. About three times more energy saving results by making 200 mm nominal pipe instead of 50 mm. Considering the economical and environmental advantages, the geothermal energy is a better choice and then fuel-oil. When thermal insulation is done in a district heating pipeline, there will be a significant reduction of 21% in the amount of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere. Crown Copyright (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.