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Latest Plant Project Cuts Energy Use, Lowers CO2 Emissions
Meet Marco Lowe, Newest Member of Our Team
Timely Tips: Seattle Steam's online customer portal
Beyond Our Borders: Citywide district energy network underway in Canada
News You Can Use: Working off the waste with ENERGY STAR® and more
Latest Plant Project Cuts Energy Use,
Lowers CO2 Emissions

Most people (at least non-engineers) may not find flue gas heat-recovery systems all that exciting. But they may change their minds when they find out Seattle Steam's engineers have used the technology to cut Seattle Steam's energy use by 2 percent (about enough to heat two downtown buildings) and reduce our CO2 emissions by another 3,000 metric tons annually. That's equivalent to taking 632 passenger vehicles off the road.

The Western Avenue Plant project builds on Seattle Steam's previous success. In 2000, we installed our first flue gas heat-recovery system, which uses the "waste" energy going out the flue and uses it to preheat the water going into the boiler. This means that the boiler has less work to do when it comes to heating the water and therefore less energy is needed.

That initial heat-recovery project improved our plant operating efficiencies by nearly 7 percent, cutting operating costs by nearly $800,000 per year and reducing CO2 emissions by nearly 9,000 metric tons per year.

This duct connects to one of the existing boilers and carries hot flue gas up to the existing heat-recovery system.

This time around we connected the plant's other two gas-fired boilers to the heat-recovery system, a task that was a bit more complex because of the boilers' location. We redirected the flue gas from boilers No. 3 and 4 using a fan to pump the flue gas from one side of the plant to the existing slightly modified heat-recovery installation. The gas is then exhausted in a different stack. The new configuration includes upgraded boiler controls and will effectively increase each boiler's capacity.

The project came together quickly, with design and fabrication beginning in September 2013 and construction starting up in January 2014. The installation is now undergoing final commissioning.

Seattle Steam thanks AirClean Technologies, which provided the design drawings and fabrication, and University Mechanical Contractors, which handled construction, for being a part of the project team.

Meet Marco Lowe, Newest Member of Our Team

Marco Lowe is no stranger to Seattle. In fact, he's a familiar face in both the public and private sectors — and we're pleased to announce that he recently joined our team as director of business development.

As our main customer and community contact, Marco will work with property owners, managers and operating engineers and continue to build our customer base in downtown, First Hill and beyond as we eye system growth.

"Marco's career reflects his ability to forge strong working relationships," says Stan Gent, Seattle Steam's president and CEO. "His insights will help us build on our legacy of 100-plus years of serving this community and carry us well into our second century."

Marco served in key positions in the administrations of two former Seattle mayors. He was director of community relations during the first term of Greg Nickels before leaving to earn a Master of Public Administration. Later, he headed Mayor Mike McGinn's Office of Intergovernmental Relations. Between those two posts, he was director of community development for Triad Development in Seattle and chief of staff for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Department of Small Business Services.

You may reach Marco at 206.658.2025, mlowe@seattlesteam.com. Welcome, Marco, to Seattle Steam.

Seattle Steam's online customer portal
Charlie Munson

Seattle Steam's Charlie Munson, manager of distribution and customer service, answers a timely operating question to help customers continue to improve building operations:

Q. Is it mandatory that I use Seattle Steam's online customer portal?

A. While it's not mandatory that you use our portal, we think you'll find the data there incredibly useful for your building's operation and your compliance with city benchmarking goals. The online customer portal provides confidential customer access to individual building steam use data back to 1991.

Customer data is posted immediately after we take the monthly steam meter reading at each building. Sourced from Utility Studio, the data helps Seattle Steam identify billing anomalies and operation inefficiencies that may occur in a building. We also use the data for bill audits and analysis; budgeting; forecasting; energy usage, comparison and analysis; and carbon tracking. You can see, compare and analyze energy use through various online reports and graphs.

If you have a customer portal question or want to obtain a username and password to activate your building's portal, contact me at 206.510.4749, cmunson@seattlesteam.com, OR Marco Lowe at 206.658.2025, mlowe@seattlesteam.com.

Citywide District Energy Network Underway in Canada.
The Galt District Energy System in Guelph, Ont., is just the beginning of a citywide district energy network. Courtesy Envida Community Energy.

In 2010, the city of Seattle commissioned a study — A District Energy Strategy for the City of Seattle: Background and Directions — outlining how Seattle Steam and a collaborative team can expand district energy's use to help the city meet its carbon reduction goals by the year 2050. Recently, a city in Canada — Guelph, Ont. — developed a District Energy Strategic Plan that envisioned a citywide district energy network — North America's first. That network just started operation.

Guelph's District Energy Strategic Plan is part of the city's award-winning Community Energy Initiative.

Galt District Energy System, which officially started up at the end of 2013, is the first of many to come in Guelph. Operations are housed in Sleeman Centre, Guelph's premier sports and entertainment venue. Natural gas boilers produce hot water for space heating; a chiller produces chilled water for cooling. Later this year the system will expand to heat and cool River Run Centre (Guelph's performing arts centre) and other commercial and residential developments.

The system is owned and operated by Envida Community Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Guelph Hydro Inc.


Working off the waste with ENERGY STAR®. EPA's Battle of the Buildings is pitting teams of buildings from across the nation against each other in a battle to see who can trim the most energy waste. Contact briangeller@2030districts.org if you're interested in being a part of a Seattle 2030 District team.

District energy industry reps heading to Seattle in June. The International District Energy Association (IDEA) is bringing its annual conference to Seattle this June, with more than 500 people scheduled to attend from around the world. Seattle Steam is an IDEA member and will serve as conference host, providing tours of our biomass-based steam plant and participating in the technical sessions. We're excited for this opportunity to show off our great city and district energy system.

British Columbia includes district energy in "BC Climate Action Toolkit." British Columbia created a "Climate Action Toolkit" in coordination with the Green Communities Committee and the Smart Planning for Communities. The kit, which features district energy planning guidance, provides BC communities with the latest news, best practices and practical advice to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implement their Climate Action Charter commitments.

Mayors unite to save energy, cut emissions from buildings. The mayors from 10 major U.S. cities announced in January that their cities will participate in City Energy Project to significantly boost energy efficiency in their buildings. Combined the move could lower energy bills by nearly $1 billion annually and cut emissions the equivalent of taking 1 million to 1.5 million passenger vehicles off the road.

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