When the City of Cambridge experienced a massive power outage that left thousands in the dark, one biotechnology company managed to keep the lights on and stay operational. Read More »
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the world’s most popular green building certifications. Most governments encourage its adoption to shift toward carbon-efficient cities.
By simply connecting to Veolia’s district energy system powered by combined heat and power (CHP), new buildings in Boston and Cambridge can earn up to 18 LEED points with significantly less upfront capital costs. We talked with Veolia’s Roderick Fraser to understand how this works. Read More »
Steam engines started wearing out their welcome by the early 20th century, because of their noxious fumes and safety hazards. But when New York City politicians tried banning them, the railroad’s board of directors saw an opportunity for promotion and profit. They decided to finance Grand Central Terminal - one of the first buildings in the world that was all electric. Read More »
Hundreds of fish, anemones, kelp plants, puffins and a giant Pacific octopus all like their water cold – within a few degrees of 37 Fahrenheit – and they thrive best when the temperature doesn't fluctuate.
The National Aquarium conserves and protects these aquatic animals through educational programs and beautifully restored habitats. In these habitats, they regulate air and water temperature using 1,250 tons of chilled water pumped in by Veolia at a precise 37 degrees Fahrenheit. Reliability is critical, because these aquatic animals and plants rely on the regulated air and water to stay alive.
Veolia solves this problem with an age-old technology: ice storage.
A circuit of underground pipes, nearly 10 miles long, connects the Aquarium with Veolia’s nondescript ice storage tanks in downtown Baltimore. They don’t look like much from the outside, but running through the inside of these tanks are tubes filled with chilled glycol, a fluid that freezes at low temperatures. Ice forms around the tubes, cooling the water inside the tanks.
By cooling the water using off-peak electricity, Veolia reduces demand on the grid and creates a reliable supply of chilled water that protects customers like the National Aquarium against any potential supply constraints or price spikes. Veolia delivers nearly 40 million ton-hours of this low-temperature, chilled water to Baltimore each year, reducing costs by eliminating the upfront capital and maintenance costs incurred using onsite chillers.
Veolia’s unassuming ice storage tanks are hidden beneath Baltimore’s skyline, yet they help preserve the National Aquarium’s important aquatic species. Sometimes the things we don’t see play a role in our environmental health – and save money, too.
Please consider helping the National Aquarium protect and preserve the ocean and its inhabitants, and email us to learn more about district cooling.
By veolia / in Energy / November 10, 2015
Back to the Future Day arrived on October 21, demonstrating which of the movie’s predictions turned out wrong. Remember Mr. Fusion, the personal fusion energy reactor powered by garbage? That certainly didn’t come true. Instead what we get is the UN Environment Program recommending district energy systems – a design older than the Model T – as “the most effective approach” for transitioning to sustainable energy. How did that happen?
Despite the Hollywood hype, it turns out some inventions work really well. One of them is district energy, an idea that dates back to ancient Rome but received its first commercial application in 1877. With a district energy system, thermal energy is produced at a central plant and distributed to the community through an underground piping network, reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Pairing this with a new technology – cogeneration – is a sustainable way to recycle the waste heat generated from electricity production and convert it into useful thermal energy. While a traditional power plant discards its waste heat, wasting valuable energy, a cogeneration solution does two things at once: It produces electricity and can then distribute the excess heat through a district energy system for customers to use.
There are tremendous benefits for customers who sign up for these district energy systems, including a reduction in capital costs, improvements in reliability and reduction in carbon footprints.
Veolia meets the critical energy requirements of downtown Boston/Cambridge this way, supplying environmentally friendly thermal energy known as “Green Steam.” Up to 75 percent of the district energy supply is green steam, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 475,000 tons annually (the equivalent of removing 80,000 cars from the roads), and reducing non-transportation carbon emissions 6 percent for both cities.
District energy is one of the best and cheapest ways for reducing carbon emissions, which is especially relevant during COP21. Not bad for a system of energy distribution that’s been around longer than instant coffee, crossword puzzles and zippers. All of this goes to show that, sometimes, there’s no school quite like the old school.
By veolia / in Energy / August 27, 2015
Winter is coming soon, and homeowners in cold climates are looking at their heating systems to get ready for the cold weather. Furnaces are inspected, ducts and chimneys are cleaned. Prepared homeowners also review their home, searching for exposed entry points, cracked glass or clogged gutters.
Making regular inspections every winter is also recommended for the steam systems used to heat large locations like highrises, museums and universities. Like a homeowner, plant managers can use winter inspections to maximize the productivity and reliability of the expensive equipment used to heat these structures.
Veolia’s technicians are trained to diagnose and repair any issues to help keep building steam systems operating safely and efficiently. Much like a home inspection, we check for leaks, remove foreign debris and clean. Improperly-maintained equipment can permit large amounts of steam to pass through equipment and even damage the system.
The customers who have leveraged our preventive maintenance program have reduced their operating costs, identified problem areas that could cause system outages, reduced energy use and identified budget for equipment repair or replacement.
Interested homeowners can find a list of 19 easy winterization projects here, with commonsense tips that include:
- Change furnace filters
- Tune-up heating system
- Use an energy monitor
Whether it's for an individual or a steam system, reviewing your preparation for winter is the smart thing to do.
Thanks for your interest in winterizing heating systems. We are happy to help answer your questions. To help us make sure you get the right answer as fast as possible, please provide some additional information below.
Got carbon emissions? President Obama's plan has dramatically reduced carbon emission limits in the recent EPA Clean Power Plan, and set ambitious targets for meeting these limits. Fortunately, there are several tools available today to reduce emissions, including combined heat and power systems (CHP).
In traditional electricity generation, approximately two-thirds of the produced power is immediately lost as waste heat, which is rejected into the environment. But industrial facilities and commercial facilities such as hospitals and universities can use CHP systems to utilize this waste, recycling it into useful thermal energy. This consumes less fuel, increases efficiency by up to 80%, and reduces emissions.
Less fuel is combusted with CHP systems, reducing emissions and air pollutants and also generating cost savings. This acts as a hedge against volatile energy prices, protecting users from buying at peak periods. About 12 percent of the total electricity generated in the U.S. is through CHP systems, which provide layers of redundancy that increase reliability and resilience.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) recently highlighted another energy option that can be combined with CHP – district energy systems. District energy systems produce and distribute energy through a central plant and can be combined with CHP systems to further reduce carbon emissions. In its latest report, the UNEP found that adopting modern district energy systems is the “most effective approach” to transitioning to sustainable energy.CHP is an effective way to reduce emissions. If you have questions about CHP systems, please fill out the form below and we'll get back to you.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) recently launched its Global District Energy in Cities initiative, based on the UNEP’s findings that “the most effective approach” to transitioning to sustainable energy is the adoption of modern district energy systems. Read More »
From Paris to Frankfurt, people are recycling plastic bags, reducing CO2 emissions and even reprocessing the Eiffel Tower. Read More »