eSteam™: A New, Greener Solution to Combat Carbon Emissions

Many people are aware that pollution is a harmful downside to urbanization. What you may not know, however, is that 90% of our world’s population breathes polluted air every day, and 7 million people die from exposure to this contaminated air every year. This is a jarring statistic, and it sheds light on how carbon emissions serve as a silent killer in our world as the air we breathe can quickly and quietly turn lethal.

What is causing this?

Various factors contribute to pollution and climate change around the world. So, what are the biggest culprits, and how do they produce these carbon emissions? Building operations are responsible for 27% of global CO2 emissions each year, with another 20% coming from the construction and building materials required to create and maintain a building. These daily operational emissions generate lighting, heating, and cooling for a building, all essential elements of residential and commercial life. Additionally, many of these carbon emissions from buildings result from desperation to meet growing energy demands in conjunction with a lack of available clean energy options, as most of these establishments are several decades old.

What can be done?

One way to combat the increasing levels of carbon emissions within buildings is to integrate renewable energy systems into existing architecture through renovation and retrofits. It is equally important to ensure that new buildings’ systems are centered around using clean energy. Commonly known renewable energy sources include wind, solar, and hydroelectricity, and while these have proven to be effective in numerous circumstances, another, more cost-effective solution exists. eSteam™ generates power without emitting any CO2 and is the first-ever renewable thermal energy product in the United States!


Diagram showing how eSteam works
Customers benefit from carbon-free eSteam™ generated with 100% renewable electricity.


How eSteam™ works

Instead of fossil fuels, eSteam™, a new offering from Vicinity Energy, is fueled by electricity in a process known as electrification. Electric boilers, molten salt thermal battery storage, and industrial-scale heat pumps are installed at central facilities to generate steam. These devices employ renewable power from other carbon-neutral energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydro to produce energy used to power buildings in cities across the country.

Rather than start from scratch with sustainable infrastructure, eSteam™ leverages and builds upon existing infrastructure. This means that older buildings do not need significant investments to decarbonize their thermal energy load. eSteam™ uses Vicinity’s existing network of steam pipes, electric substations, and transmission lines to rapidly reduce carbon emissions. This electrification method is the most cost-effective and reliable way to accelerate the decarbonization of buildings and communities.


Chart showing benefits of eSteam
The left chart represents the carbon intensity of steam only. The right chart, “Total Carbon Emissions,” represents Vicinity’s operations’ emissions. This includes the cogeneration unit at Kendall Station (orange shaded area) associated with electricity generation, which is attributed to the New England electric grid. Steam emissions (green shaded area) represent emissions from steam, gas-fired boilers predominantly used at demand peaks and are attributed to our steam customers’ carbon footprint.


Benefits of eSteam™

  • eSteam™ guarantees zero carbon emissions so users can meet their sustainability goals while simultaneously avoiding looming carbon taxes. Many cities throughout the U.S. have implemented or are considering implementing laws to lower buildings’ greenhouse gas emissions. These policies typically impose hefty fines for non-compliance. Because eSteam™ is guaranteed carbon-free, users can have peace of mind knowing that their building will be greener while avoiding carbon fees and penalties.
  • eSteam™ offers total flexibility. Vicinity gives purchasers of eSteam™ the option to choose whichever renewable energy source they prefer to generate energy for their building. They can also select how much eSteam™ they wish to purchase annually. With these features, eSteam™ is customizable to various budgets and sustainability objectives.
  • eSteam™ is delivered through Vicinity’s district energy system, making it considerably more affordable than other onsite alternatives such as building in electric boilers. This access to wholesale power gives district energy an economic advantage over onsite equipment. It distinguishes eSteam™ as the most valuable and cost-effective method of improving a building’s carbon footprint.
  • Choosing eSteam™ to decarbonize your building eliminates the need to invest in costly capital projects. Therefore, you can avoid the financial burden of expensive renovations. This is because eSteam™ decarbonizes buildings by connecting to Vicinity’s district energy network, which is known for its maximum reliability and resiliency in a climate uncertain future.
  • eSteam™ users can gain potential points for LEED® and ENERGY STAR® certifications. These certifications are a great way to demonstrate your building’s commitment to sustainability.

Act now for the future

eSteam™ will be available nationwide shortly, and you can commit to making this change today. Contracts such as PPAs allow you to purchase now for the future. Making the switch to eSteam™ for a low-carbon future will not only aid in saving our planet from the adverse effects of carbon emissions, but it will also help decarbonize our communities so that fewer people find themselves sick or dying from breathing polluted air.


Decarbonize with district energy today.