Vicinity Energy’s robust, underground district energy network distributes 99.99% reliable cogenerated thermal energy — or green steam — to over 230 facilities that use it for heat, hot water, chilled water, steam-driven cooling and processes like sterilization and humidification. Green steam refers to our low carbon thermal product, which in large part comes from a combined heat and power (CHP) process and the integration of renewable energy. By combining the production of thermal energy (used for both heating and cooling) and electricity into one process, CHP results in the most efficient use of fuel to generate electricity and condition buildings, using far less fuel than when heat and power are produced separately. District energy also offers our customers a green energy alternative. With our goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, we are continuously implementing a cleaner energy mix and investing in the city’s infrastructure to reduce carbon impacts.
Vicinity in Boston and Cambridge
Vicinity tackles global energy problems on a local level, with local resources. For over 90 years, the Boston-Cambridge district system has distributed reliable, resilient and sustainable district energy to some of the area’s premier hospitals, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, universities, hotel and entertainment venues, commercial space, and government facilities. An innovative and resilient energy solution, district energy involves the production of thermal energy from a central plant, eliminating the need to install or manage onsite boilers and chillers.
Green Steam Investments for a Cleaner Future
In the Boston-Cambridge district alone, Vicinity has invested over $110 million in a series of green steam projects to improve efficiencies and reduce environmental impacts — incorporating the interconnection of the two previously separated district energy systems, a new 7,000-foot steam pipeline extension, Vicinity’s acquisition and reconfiguration of Kendall Cogeneration Station and the integration of renewable energy. The new pipeline from Kendall captures and leverages the plant’s excess heat for use in Vicinity’s district networks, thereby recycling thermal energy that was previously discarded. These combined efforts have dramatically reduced the region’s carbon footprint by nearly 165,000 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year – the equivalent of removing nearly 36,000 cars from the road. Under Vicinity’s ownership, facility upgrades at Kendall, including replacement of the plant’s original cooling system design with an air-cooled condenser, have also reduced thermal impacts to the Charles River ecosystem. And we’re not stopping there — Vicinity’s Clean Energy Future is our formalized commitment, vision and roadmap to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.
District Energy Benefits in Boston and Cambridge
In addition to improving the region’s critical energy infrastructure and reducing its carbon footprint, with district energy, individual buildings don’t require onsite boilers or chillers — freeing up space for building amenities, eliminating the risk of onsite combustion, and reducing upfront capital and ongoing operations and maintenance (O&M) costs. You also get the peace of mind that comes with Vicinity’s 99.99% reliable energy delivery. Our interconnected central energy facilities have built-in redundancy, back-up generation and multiple water and fuel sources. So regardless of what’s going on in Boston and Cambridge, you can rely on district energy to help keep you up and running.