Saturday, January 5, 2008

A strange source of civic pride

When you stand on the edge of downtown St. Paul, on the top of the bluffs, facing the Westside, you might notice billowing, puffs of steam coming from an oddly attractive industrial building. The building proclaims itself with a big banner reading "Red Hot, Cool, & Green." The building is home to St. Paul District Energy, North America's largest hot water district heating system. So what does that mean? It means that many of the civic, office, and hotel, and convention facilities get their heating and cooling from hot water, most of which is heated by burning wood chips (and not by burning heavy polluting coal). St. Paul District Energy's website also points out that:

Air emissions have been significantly reduced; 150 smokestacks and 50 cooling towers on downtown buildings have been eliminated, as well as 300 chimneys on nearby homes.

Our closed-loop distribution system has eliminated the use of groundwater for heating and cooling, saving an important natural resource.

That's pretty cool for a downtown energy plant! I'm proud to say that it is part of my hometown!

Image: Market Street Energy.

No comments: