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Seattle Steam Co. Winter 2012


Want to know how much steam your building used in January 2008 compared to January 2010? Or what the heating degree-days were in March 2006 versus March 2011? Or need a copy of your invoice from November 2010? If you're a Seattle Steam customer, all you need to do is access your customer portal via our website — obtain your username and password from David Easton, 206.658.2025 — and that information will be right at your fingertips.

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Established in 2008, the online customer portal is sourced from UtilityStudio and provides confidential customer access to individual building steam use data going back to 1991. Customer steam use data is posted immediately after the monthly meter reading is taken at each building. Seattle Steam continues to update and upgrade the portal's capabilities, most recently adding hourly use data so customers can more closely monitor steam use and save energy by making more immediate adjustments.

UtilityStudio is a part of Seattle Steam's own billing program. Seattle Steam uses the data to identify billing anomalies and operation inefficiencies that may occur. It can also use the data for bill audits and analysis; budgeting; forecasting; energy usage, comparison and analysis; and most recently, carbon tracking. Reporting and graphing tools enable customers to see, compare and analyze energy use. Shown here is just one sample of the graphs available through the portal.

The online portal also allows Seattle Steam customers to sign up with both Seattle Steam and ENERGY STAR for automatic ENERGY STAR benchmarking through Portfolio Manager. This helps steam customers comply with the City of Seattle's mandatory energy benchmarking program. More details are available online.

Seattle Steam encourages you to leverage the information available to help you continue to save energy and money. The more you know, the better your energy decisions will be!


Gov. Gregoire Signs Bill to Include Heat in Renewable Energy Options. In April Governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill that allows renewable thermal energy to qualify for renewable energy credits. The bill also requires utilities to add renewable thermal energy to the list of alternative energy resources they provide for customers to purchase. These sources include biomass heating through boilers, solar heating, and heat recovery and reuse at wastewater treatment facilities. Seattle Steam Co. lauds the action.

"Sometimes small steps lead to progress faster than giant leaps; today is the first small step in understanding that thermal energy has a much greater role to play in a sustainable energy future for Washington State," said Stan Gent, CEO and president of Seattle Steam. "Understanding how district energy can be used to heat properties using renewable heat or waste heat from industry opens the door to cost-effective sustainable solutions."

According to the state's Department of Commerce, more than half of the energy consumed in Washington each year is wasted as heat. The bill provides additional financial incentive for utilities and private companies to produce useful thermal energy from additional sources beyond natural gas and fossil fuels.

Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Anacortes), the bill passed the House 97-0 and the Senate 47-1. The bill was supported by environmental groups, utilities, municipal organizations and private developers.

"This bill changes the way people think about energy," said Chuck Collins, CEO of Cascade Power Group, a Bellevue-based energy conservation and renewable energy project-development company supporting the bill. "Until now, when people said renewable energy they just meant electricity. Now, we're changing the conversation to include thermal resources."

The thermal renewable energy credits will be offered to customers through voluntary utility green power programs, and will not count towards the state renewable portfolio standard. In 2010, over 50,000 customers purchased over 50 megawatt-hours of renewable energy credits through voluntary utility programs.



A Fitting Tribute. William "Woody" Woodard, longtime Seattle Steam employee, retired in 2011. Earlier this year we took the opportunity to thank Woody for his nearly 40 years of service. We gave him something not everyone can appreciate as much as he can: a steam gauge engraved in his honor! We also established a scholarship in Woody's name that connects his longtime service to future generations. Seattle Steam will award one scholarship each year to a college-age son or daughter of a current Seattle Steam employee. A three-person committee that includes Woody himself will select the winner based on essays prepared by each applicant.

Charlie Munson


In each e-newsletter, Seattle Steam's Charlie Munson, manager of distribution and customer service, answers a timely operating question to help you continue to improve building operations.

Is taking care of steam traps really that important?
In one word, yes! In the past couple of newsletters we've emphasized that customers should check their steam traps regularly and take care of any leaks immediately. In fact, we can't emphasize it enough. Remember, one failed trap a year could cost you more than $6,000 in steam that was purchased and not used.

Seattle Steam has a free thermal imaging service that can give you the information you need quickly and accurately so you can get those repairs under way. The accompanying images show a typical steam trap and a thermal image of the same trap. The intense red in the thermal image indicates a significant steam leak that needs to be repaired.

Contact me now at 206.510.4749 or cmunson@seattlesteam.com to schedule your free trap review!

Steam Plant

Q&A With Stan Gent. Seattle Steam's Stan Gent answered questions about energy and the company's future plans in an article published in March by the Puget Sound Business Journal.


Seattle Targets 60% Recycling for 2012. In 2011, Seattle reported that the city's overall recycling rate hit an all-time high of 53.7% in 2010. The recycling rate for individual families rose to 70.3%. Seattle's goal is to divert 60% of its municipal solid waste to recycling and composting by the end of this year, with a 70% diversion by 2025.


Seattle Travel Ideas. If you have visitors coming to Seattle this summer, you might want to check out the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau's new travel website. It is a companion site to visitseattle.org.


Vancouver Has New Take on Tourism. Tourism Vancouver has hired an energy specialist to work with its 1,000 members to help them manage energy use and realize financial savings. It is believed to be a first among worldwide destination marketing and management organizations.


Seattle Steam recently conducted an online customer satisfaction survey. What did we learn? That respondents appreciate the company's solid record of customer service and reliability. In fact, 96% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed that Seattle Steam provides good overall customer service.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents indicated they had not toured Seattle Steam's biomass installation but would be interested in doing so. David Easton is contacting those who were interested in a tour, and several groups have already gone through the plant. If you would like a tour, please contact him at deaston@seattlesteam.com, 206.658.2025.

One change we noted compared to previous years is the number of respondents who are familiar with the customer portal on our website, which provides access to building energy consumption information, invoices and more. More than half of this year's respondents are not familiar with the portal, compared to 25% in 2010. To help close that gap, portal information is the lead story in this issue of the newsletter.

Seattle Steam thanks all those who participated in the survey and encourages you to continue to share your feedback with us year-round.


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