emergency 206.623.0442 | email us | www.seattlesteam.com | send to a friend
Swedish Medical Center Makes Long-Term Commitment to Service From Seattle Steam
Connections: Newest customer, Copperworks Distilling, nearly ready to open
New Water Well to Save Money, Resources
Beyond Our Borders: Building Resilient Cities: District energy can help
Timely Tips: Check condensate temps
Remembering Woody and Looking Forward
News You Can Use: City's energy use benchmarking reveals consumption patterns and more
Swedish Medical Center
Makes Long-Term Commitment to Service From Seattle Steam
Photo Assassi Productions.

After thoroughly evaluating its heating options, Swedish signed an agreement in late March to continue district heating service from Seattle Steam through the year 2033.

"Swedish decided to continue receiving its heat from Seattle Steam because it has continuously provided the First Hill campus with a reliable, environmentally responsible and cost-effective heating solution," said Lee Brei, Director of Facility Services for Swedish Health Services. A Seattle Steam customer for 49 years, Swedish uses our high-pressure steam for heating, hot water and sterilization of medical equipment.

Seattle Steam has renewed contracts with more than 40 other downtown and First Hill customers since early 2012. The company has also added eight new long-term customers – including Olive 8, Four Seasons Hotel Seattle and the Russell Investments Center – over the past five years.

Read more

Copperworks Distilling Nearly Ready to Open

Seattle Steam is pleased to announce our newest customer: Copperworks Distilling Company, a craft distillery and tasting room at 1250 Alaskan Way on the Seattle waterfront, just south of our Western Avenue steam plant. Expected to open this summer, Copperworks will use our steam in its distilling process, then re-purpose the steam condensate to wash the distillery's massive copper pot and column stills.

Copperworks Distilling's co-owners Jason Parker (left) and Micah Nutt have hands-on experience that has guided their startup venture. Courtesy Copperworks Distilling.

Founded by co-owners/distillers Jason Parker and Micah Nutt, Copperworks will initially offer gin and vodka made from 100% malted barley while the company's all-malt whiskey ages in new, charred American oak barrels.

"To achieve the most authentic characteristics and full flavors in our various spirits, each of our products will be distilled in a traditional Scottish copper still best suited to that individual spirit," says Jason, who started his career as the first brewer at Pike Brewing Company (another long-time Seattle Steam customer). "Hand-built by expert coppersmiths in the highlands of Scotland, our copper pot and column stills are designed specifically for our unique processes and the ingredients we've chosen. Plus, unlike most U.S. distillers, we distill our whiskey twice using two different stills."

The Copperworks team is working fast and furiously to get the spirits flowing and the tasting room open. They will then offer tastings, tours, classes and other events focused on enjoying and learning about fine distilled spirits. With more than 10,000 pounds of copper stills representing 1,800 gallons of capacity, Copperworks Distilling can produce up to 350,000 bottles of spirit per year. Local farms will supply nearly 100% of the barley used in the production process.

Welcome, Copperworks Distilling Company, to the Seattle Steam network.


After a year of detailed planning and permitting, Seattle Steam's new well will be up and running this fall. It's expected to meet our baseload water needs in the winter and 100% of our water needs during the summer, when municipal water rates and demand are at their highest. As a result, Seattle Steam will be able to cut long-term water-related costs while establishing a redundant water supply that enhances reliability and resiliency.

Hokkaido Drilling Inc. will begin drilling the new well on the southwest corner of our Western Avenue Plant within the next few weeks. It will take approximately two weeks to reach the aquifer that's 300-400 feet under our site. Construction should be completed in August.

Once the well is in place, we will test the water to determine if additional water treatment is required and how much water the well can produce. We expect to be ready to use well water for boiler makeup water this summer.

The well is anticipated to produce up to 250 gallons per minute, with groundwater displacing the use of more than 135,000 ccf (hundred cubic feet) of municipally sourced surfacewater each year. Our well will capture water from the aquifer just before it enters Elliot Bay, reducing the use of surfacewater from Cedar River Basin, which provides water to the City of Seattle.

Building Resilient Cities: District energy can help
Long Island, N.Y., after Superstorm Sandy.

Last fall's Superstorm Sandy can certainly be classified a natural disaster. More than 100 people died, 8.1 million homes lost power, and the damage estimates are now north of $71 billion.

No one knows when or where the next event of this magnitude will strike, but it literally and figuratively pays cities to be prepared. District energy systems such as the one operated by Seattle Steam are known to provide reliable service during such disasters and receive high marks when it comes to post-catastrophic resiliency. In fact, a number of district energy all-stars emerged on the East Coast after Superstorm Sandy.

In hard-hit New Jersey, Princeton University continually provided both heat and power to its 12,000 students and faculty, never missing a beat. The College of New Jersey, Fairfield University, Stony Brook University and Hartford Steam Co. all had similar reports. Nassau Energy Corp. in Long Island never lost service to any major customers, supplying uninterrupted thermal energy to a 530-bed medical center, community college and even the evacuation center. The list goes on.

"District energy systems increase our energy security and provide redundancy, making them less susceptible to cascading failures," says urban planner Brad Bradford from the International District Energy Association (IDEA) who authored "Planning for Resilience and/or Future-Proofing Cities."

In fact, district energy and combined heat and power are featured in federal S.1205 "Local Energy Supply and Resiliency Act", which is being considered as an amendment to S. 761 "Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013".

Locally, Seattle Steam has built-in resiliency to serve the downtown and First Hill areas of Seattle: We have more than one fuel source, operate our own backup power system so we're not fully reliant on the grid, have built-in steam capacity redundancy, and have licensed operators on the job 24/7 to ensure operations continue, no matter the challenges. Most individual buildings can't make the same claims.

In fact, during the Nisqually earthquake in 2001, Seattle Steam remained in service with no downtime. The same was true of the district energy system in San Francisco during the city's 1989 earthquake: There was no interruption in steam service.

Whether it's an earthquake or a hurricane, district energy systems have a proven history of reliability, providing cities and campuses across the country with the resiliency they need to weather any storm.

Check condensate temps
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.

Q. Why does condensate temperature matter? What does that information tell us?

A. During each monthly meter reading visit to customer buildings, Seattle Steam checks condensate temperature. Although customers can see these readings on their own Seattle Steam customer portal, Seattle Steam's distribution team reports unusually high condensate temperatures directly to the customer.

After Seattle Steam identified a significant condensate issue and conveyed it to one of our large hotel customers, the customer asked our distribution team to help diagnose the problem.

Our staff did some detective work and found that a faulty piping configuration serving an economizer was preventing the hotel's economizer from properly functioning.

The customer had the economizer re-piped, and the condensate temperatures dropped substantially. This resulted in an 8% efficiency improvement – all from a $1,500 re-pipe. The hotel owner and chief engineer are extremely pleased. We are too. We believe energy efficiency is the first step towards carbon reduction and a sustainable future.

If you would like complimentary assistance to help diagnose a heating system problem, please contact Charlie Munson.

NOTE: Customers can view a building's condensate temperature history at any time. Head to seattlesteam.com and log in at the customer portal; then link to condensate temperatures. If you do not know your portal ID or password, contact David Easton.


William (Woody) Woodard, Seattle Steam's former distribution and customer service manager, passed away in mid-March. Woody retired from Seattle Steam in September 2011 after nearly 40 years of service. We miss him not just as a colleague, but as a friend.

To honor his dedication to our industry and his customer service excellence, Seattle Steam established the Woody Woodward Scholarship Program that connects his longtime service to future generations.

Seattle Steam will award one or more scholarships each year to college-age sons or daughters of current Seattle Steam employees. A three-person committee selects the winner(s) based on essays prepared by each applicant.

Congratulations to 2013's scholarship recipients:

  • Jove Calimlim, Seattle Central Community College. Major: Associate's Degree in Information Technology, with intent to transfer to University of Washington in Computer Engineering.
  • Britney Carrier, Western Washington University. Major: Engineering.
  • Spencer Scott, Evergreen State College. Major: Liberal Arts, with interests in media production, business and social issues.

Seattle energy use benchmarking reveals consumption patterns. Seattle officials recently logged data on 94 of Seattle's municipal buildings in compliance with its 2013 benchmarking law. The report reveals some interesting variations in how efficiently municipal facilities are operating, with downtown's central library leading the pack. Learn more.

Can efficiency returns top stock market? "Unlocking American Efficiency," a study commissioned by United Technologies Corp., projects that a 30% increase in existing building efficiency by 2030 could provide returns of $65 billion annually – a better return than corporate bonds, equities or high-performing venture capital stocks. Learn more.

Building Performance Database helps evaluate efficiency investments. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Building Performance Database helps building managers, owners, real estate investors and lenders evaluate the financial results of energy-efficiency investment projects and identify high- and low-performing buildings. The database contains real – not modeled – performance data from more than 60,000 public and private buildings across the U.S. Learn more or access database.

Nova Scotia debuts Canada's first energy-efficiency game app. Efficiency Nova Scotia recently released Canada's first energy-efficiency game app: "Spot it!" The game features 13 levels where players have to spot the difference between efficient and inefficient rooms in a typical household. At the end of each level, the game explains the differences. Read more.

Seattle Steam Co., 1325 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1440, Seattle, WA 98101
©2013 Seattle Steam Co. All rights reserved.