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Seattle Steam Co. Fall 2010


Three years ago, the city of Seattle set a goal of reducing energy use in existing buildings by 20 percent by 2020 — a key step toward shrinking the city's carbon footprint. On May 11, 2011, the city formally rolled out one of its strategies for cutting energy consumption: a mandatory energy benchmarking program for commercial buildings. Seattle Steam Co. supports energy conservation efforts and has set up a program to help steam customers easily comply with the new mandatory benchmarking requirement. Just hop online, complete the designated forms for both Seattle Steam and ENERGY STAR and you're ready to begin!

Under the new program (outlined in Seattle Municipal Code 22.920), all commercial and multifamily residential buildings larger than 10,000 sq ft must be measured for energy performance using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, an online energy use benchmarking tool. The program first applies this fall to nonresidential buildings 50,000 sq ft or larger, which have until Oct. 3 to comply; it will then extend to both nonresidential and multifamily residential buildings 10,000 sq ft or larger by April 2012. The program also calls for building energy ratings to be provided to the city and to prospective buyers, tenants and lenders upon request during real estate transactions.

Energy Star

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is a free, secure tool used in most professional energy audits and is a prerequisite for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification program. It helps building owners and managers track their property's energy consumption over time as well as compare its energy performance against that of other similar facilities nationwide — providing useful information for making energy-efficiency investment decisions.

Buildings scoring a 75 or higher on Portfolio Manager's 100-point scale (with results professionally verified) are eligible to apply for the ENERGY STAR label, a distinction that sends a positive message to lenders, tenants, customers and others about a building's superior performance and building owners' and managers' commitment to protecting the environment.

Seattle Steam can help simplify benchmarking program compliance for customers by automatically reporting steam usage to Portfolio Manager — saving customers data entry time and ensuring data accuracy. For a small fee, we will upload the most recent two years of usage data for each steam meter and update the data monthly. It's easy to set up our automated benchmarking services — just start by completing the online forms for both Seattle Steam and ENERGY STAR. Learn more here. Or contact David Easton, (206) 658-2025.

For more on the benefits of benchmarking, view "Energy Benchmarking Picks Up Steam in U.S.: You can't manage what you can't measure."


Virginia Mason

Virginia Mason Lauded for Excellence. Seattle Steam-customer Virginia Mason Medical Center is getting used to coming out on top — not just in medicine, but when it comes to the environment as well.

In January, HealthGrades, the nation's most trusted source of healthcare provider information, named Virginia Mason a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence™. This places Virginia Mason among the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide for clinical performance. HealthGrades evaluates hospitals solely on clinical outcomes.

The medical center also is a high performer when it comes to the environment, having won the Green Washington Award in the healthcare category from Seattle Business Magazine last September. This May, Virginia Mason was honored again, this time by the Washington State Recycling Association, which named Virginia Mason "Institutional Recycler of the Year."

The awards reflect Virginia Mason's commitment to reduce waste, improve flow and ensure organizational sustainability through its environmental stewardship initiative called EnviroMason. EnviroMason provides the framework for making unique energy and waste management decisions, such as setting policies on reliability and use, making efficiency improvements, supporting capital planning and infrastructure design, and encouraging employee participation and innovation.

Seattle Steam is proud to be a part of Virginia Mason's program. Virginia Mason's nonhazardous waste is collected by Cedar Grove Composting. Cedar Grove in turn provides waste wood from the compost to Seattle Steam, which then burns the biomass to produce steam. That steam provides heat to Virginia Mason, bringing the cycle full circle. Learn more about the medical center's efforts and view a video here.


US Capitol

"Washington, DHC" — District Heating and Cooling Abound in Nation's Capital. Few people visit Washington, D.C., for business or pleasure without setting foot in a building heated or cooled by a district energy system. The area is home to more than 150 institutional district energy systems that serve military installations, university campuses, residential complexes and government buildings.

The General Services Administration's district energy system produces both steam and chilled water, which are piped to nearly 100 federal, quasi-federal and D.C. government buildings. Its customers include the White House and the National Archives.

Placed into service in 1910, the Capitol Heating and Cooling Plant serves nearly 20 buildings, including the U.S. Capitol and U.S. Supreme Court.

Major district energy systems also serve the Pentagon, National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, to name a few.


William "Woody" Woodard, distribution and customer service manager — who has long been the face of Seattle Steam "on the street" — will retire at the end of September 2011. Woody has been with the company for nearly 40 years. "Woody really is part of what Seattle Steam is, to us internally and also to our customers," says Stan Gent, president and CEO. "Seattle Steam will not be quite the same once he retires."

From March 1 through September 30, Woody is working side by side with his replacement, Charlie Munson. "Woody has accumulated an enormous body of knowledge that we want to thoroughly transfer to Charlie," says Stan. "In companies like ours, knowledge management is vital to our ongoing success. We are confident that this approach will ensure excellent service continues to our 200 customer buildings."

Charlie started work as a boiler maintenance engineer at Seattle Steam in the 1970s. Later he transferred to the distribution department and was involved with meter repair and customer service. Most recently he was the company's distribution foreman.

Charlie's transition to Woody's position is well under way and going smoothly. Seattle Steam wishes Woody all the best in retirement, when he will be able to enjoy more time on his cherished boat, Sea Queen, shown here.


Seattle Steam is saddened to learn that its former chief engineer Paul Prescott passed away suddenly June 2 while hiking in Idaho. Paul served Seattle Steam from 1995 to 2006 and continued his work for the company as a consultant at Precision Energy Services. We are grateful for Paul's guiding presence. He used his excellent engineering background to ensure our steam generation facilities were always reliable and efficient. He helped develop the early concepts for the company's conversion to biomass fuel and later engineered that conversion while working for Precision Energy Services. His support and presence will be missed. Paul was 62 years old.

Steam Plant

Fuel Rate Increase. Starting in April, Seattle Steam customers began to see a 2-cent per Mlb increase in the company's fuel rate, reflecting the state of Washington's March approval of Puget Sound Energy's natural gas rate request. Seattle Steam continues to try to keep natural gas use to a minimum through use of biomass fuel.


On the Air. Seattle Steam was featured in a comprehensive May 18 KUOW public radio news report by Ann Dornfeld. View the transcript or hear the audio here.


Biomass Conference Attendees Tour Seattle Steam. Participants in January's Pacific West Biomass Conference & Trade Show toured Seattle Steam's biomass plant. The online magazine Biomass Power & Thermal covered the tour and the plant in a Jan. 10 article.


Plant Featured on "Preserving Utility" Tour. In January, Lawrence Kreisman wrote an article titled "Seattle's historic industrial buildings serve and support" in Seattle Times' Pacific Northwest magazine. The article spotlights Seattle Steam's main plant and other facilities he features on his Preserving Utility tours.


Biomass Project Is Cover Story. Seattle Steam's biomass plant construction was the cover story of the first quarter 2011 issue of District Energy magazine, a publication of the International District Energy Association.


BetterBuildings: Community Power Works. Utilities in the Seattle area have offered energy-efficiency incentives for many years, but none of these programs has attempted to reach the breadth of customer types and depth of savings that Community Power Works (CPW) is targeting with its seed funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's BetterBuildings. Operated by the city of Seattle's Office of Sustainability and Environment and staffed by city employees, CPW is leveraging numerous efforts and innovations to create a comprehensive energy efficiency program to serve all building sectors in Seattle, starting with a large and extremely diverse region in southeast Seattle. Seattle Steam is a part of the program. Learn more here.


Seattle Steam Co., 1325 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1440, Seattle, WA 98101
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