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Seattle Steam Co. Fall 2010


Seattle Steam has good news to share: In spite of large increases in local water and electricity costs, both affecting our commodity costs, Seattle Steam customers can still look forward to an overall steam rate decrease of nearly 2% on average for 2011.

More detail on the 2011 rates was mailed to customers late last month and also added to the each customer's account page at www.seattlesteam.com. If you have questions about what savings you can expect for your building in 2011, contact David Easton, (206) 658-2025.


Seattle Skyline

Many downtown Seattle building owners and managers are striving to 'go green' and lower their properties' carbon footprints. Soon they will find support from a new public-private consortium, the Seattle 2030 District, which is working to create a high-performance building district in the city's downtown core and First Hill neighborhoods. Still in its planning stages, the initiative is expected to formally launch in early 2011. Seattle Steam is a founding member.

Downtown property owners and managers will be invited to join the effort, which aims to develop a baseline of district-wide energy use and collectively meet what is known as the 2030 Challenge for Planning — a set of energy consumption and fossil fuel reduction targets issued by Architecture 2030. (There will be no fees to join the group in its first year.)

Heating with reliable, sustainable district energy is a significant step that participating buildings can take to meet their Seattle 2030 District goals. Seattle Steam looks forward to helping property owners and managers reach those goals through the greater energy efficiency offered by our district energy technology, aggregated thermal loads, biomass fuel use and waste heat recovery from combined heat and power systems. District energy is now recognized as a key to economical achievement of carbon reduction goals for existing buildings.

Inspired by a similar initiative in Chicago, the Seattle 2030 District got started last spring when an ad-hoc planning committee formed to begin defining the project's goals, organization and funding sources. In addition to Seattle Steam, committee members currently include downtown property owners and managers, tenants, city agencies, engineers, design firms and Seattle utilities.

Once up and running, the Seattle 2030 District will help downtown building owners and managers benchmark their energy use and apply best practices for lowering energy consumption, water use and carbon emissions. Specific energy goals for the District include the following: a 10 percent reduction in energy use by existing buildings by 2015, increasing incrementally to a 50 percent reduction by 2030; an immediate 60 percent reduction for energy use of new and renovated buildings from the current national average for a given building type, incrementally increased to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Watch for updates on the Seattle 2030 District in upcoming newsletters. A dedicated Web site is in the works; in the meantime, however, you can read more about the project at www.Seattle.gov and in Sustainable Industries.


Tips from the Team

In each e-newsletter, Seattle Steam's Woody Woodard, manager of distribution and customer service, and Mick Reeves, chief engineer, answer a timely operating question to help you continue to improve building operations. If you have other questions you'd like answered, contact Woody Woodard.

Where is the best place to purchase parts for building heating systems?
If you need parts for your building's heating system, Seattle Steam can get you headed in the right direction — no matter the age or size of your building. We get calls daily from customers (even non-customers!) wondering where to purchase the proper steam traps, heat exchangers, valves and more.
While we can't recommend one vendor over another, we can provide you with contact information for several trusted vendors based on the parts needed. Local mechanical contractors also can provide customers with direction. Contact Woody Woodard for assistance.


MacDonald Miller

You can connect to guaranteed cost savings. Seattle Steam and MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions are working together on an energy-efficiency improvement program that is connecting Seattle Steam's customers to overall energy and cost savings, plus financial incentives available through Seattle City Light, Puget Sound Energy and Seattle Public Utilities.

Using federal funding and a $1.5 million loan from the Washington State Department of Commerce and the State Energy Program, coupled with funding through the City of Seattle's Community Power Works program, MacDonald-Miller analyzes the energy-efficiency potential of Seattle Steam customers. It then outlines which financing sources are available so customers can leverage MacDonald-Miller's funding and implement steam- and other energy-related recommendations. The program has a net zero cost to customers through energy savings, with more cost savings achieved once the loans are paid.

Varying financial incentives through local utilities are based on the type of replacement or retrofit of lighting fixtures and HVAC controls and equipment.

Contact David Easton today to get your organization involved in MacDonald-Miller's energy- and cost-saving program and find out what incentives are applicable to your facility.


Dockside Green

Victoria's Dockside Green focuses on energy and environment. Dockside Green is considered one of the most ambitious developments in North America adhering to a strict building code based on environmental, social and economic responsibility. This largest city land development in Victoria's history showcases environmentally friendly materials and sustainable design. Each building constructed is being designed to achieve a LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum rating. The innovative project is anchored by a district energy system that uses advanced biomass gasification technology. Recently commissioned, the system enables Dockside Green to self-generate clean, low-cost heat using locally sourced wood fuel to help achieve the developer's goal of carbon neutrality.

Steam Plant

By the looks of this 2-minute video, very. Watch it here!

District Energy Cartoon on YouTube



Critiquing state's energy strategy. Seattle Steam President Stan Gent and Chuck Collins, CEO of Cascade Power Group and chairman of the Northwest Distributed Generation Working Group, reviewed Washington State's Draft State Energy Strategy Update issued this fall and found that it offered a myopic vision of our energy system. They wrote this opinion column that appeared in the Seattle Times Nov. 14.


University of Montana fired up about energy. McKinstry, a Seattle-based mechanical contractor and consulting group, recently recommended that the University of Montana in Missoula construct a $16 million biomass boiler, which could reduce the campus' natural gas consumption by 70 percent and cut the school's carbon footprint nearly 25 percent. The project has a 15- to 17-year payback. Learn more.


Ecodistricts Summit addresses neighborhood-scale sustainability. Seattle Steam's Stan Gent participated in the first-ever Ecodistricts Summit, which was held Oct. 25-27 in Portland. The summit featured dozens of district-scale development practitioners. Stan was part of a five-person infrastructure panel addressing cities and district energy. Learn more about ecodistricts here.


Seven Great Ways to Use Steam Condensate

  » Laundry
  » Cooling tower makeup
  » Commercial dishwasher
     pre-rinse stations

  » Commercial clothes

  » Fountains/water features
  » Car washes
  » Toilets and urinals

If you're not already using Seattle Steam's condensate to reduce your building's water and energy use, contact David Easton today to get started.


On colder days, you may see water vapor rising from manholes and streets around downtown. There could be several causes: a drip of water from the street hitting a hot pipe; cold air from the street mixing with hot, humid air in the manhole; or the release of small amounts of condensate from the steam distribution system. This minor condensate release is deliberate and is a designed system safety feature. This is also common in other district heating systems.


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