Energy is Key to Smarter Cities

Energy is an important parameter of a smart city. In order to meet sustainability goals and ensure long-term resiliency, city planners are looking for solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, optimize local resources, enhance economic resiliency and strengthen critical energy infrastructure.

Boston suspension bridge DSC_3316On April 19th, the Open Innovation Club will host a Tech Meeting at Greentown Labs in Boston on Efficient Buildings and Sustainable Urban Development. During this event we will explore different solutions to increase energy efficiency in buildings, improve air quality and indoor comfort and how this fits into a city’s larger strategy of resilience and sustainability.

How District Energy is Paving the way to Boston’s low-carbon Future

The City of Boston has put together a Climate Action Plan in order to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The city’s priorities include expanding energy efficiency programs, increasing local and low-carbon energy sources including district energy and cogeneration, and promoting healthy and equitable communities.

Within this context, Veolia North America has been helping Boston meet its targets with its district energy system, which produces recycled “Green Steam,” or thermal energy, from its Combined Heat and Power (CHP) operations at Kendall Cogeneration Station. By combining energy-efficient technology with a network of underground steam pipes, Veolia is supplying sustainable cogenerated “Green Steam” to over 250 medical research institutions, hospitals, hotels, museums and government buildings throughout Boston and Cambridge. 

“Green Steam” Reduces Boston’s Carbon Footprint by 475,000 tons

Veolia Green Steam projectWith its 2014 acquisition of Kendall Cogeneration Station and the installation of an additional 7,000-foot steam pipeline in 2013, Veolia’s $112 million “Green Steam” investment is helping to improve air quality and reduce the region’s overall carbon footprint by 475,000 tons – the equivalent of removing 80,000 cars from the road. In addition, the new pipeline, combined with Veolia’s ongoing retrofit of Kendall Station, eliminates thermal pollution to the Charles River ecosystem, decreasing the temperature of the river and thereby protecting the marine inhabitants of this precious natural resource.

Obtaining LEED Credits with District Energy

Beyond reducing the carbon footprint of each building connected to the system, Veolia’s system improvements have delivered other benefits to energy consumers, including increased capacity, reliability and overall system efficiency. Additionally, using Veolia’s “Green Steam” system for new building construction will earn more Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points than using onsite generation. Because the majority of steam supplying the district energy system is produced via cogeneration, development projects in Boston and Cambridge are able to achieve up to 8 – 9 more LEED points possible under the Energy and Atmosphere (EA) category using “Green Steam,” versus installing on-site gas boilers.

Veolia will present their project in more detail during the Open Innovation Tech Meeting. Register here to join the conversation.


Image credits: Courtesy of Veolia