Mercy Medical Center counts on Vicinity for reliable steam and chilled water expansion





Baltimore, MD

Square footage

1.4 million

The customer

Mercy Medical Center is an acute care, university-affiliated teaching hospital serving the downtown Baltimore community and beyond since 1874. Since its founding by the Sisters of Mercy, the hospital has helped shape downtown Baltimore and continues to provide award-winning patient care in women’s health, orthopedics, cancer care, digestive health, and more. With 183 licensed beds, this thriving health system proudly serves its community with prestigious doctors and leading Centers of Excellence. The facility is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, which employs over 200 providers with locations across Maryland. 

Mercy’s staff is dedicated to respecting the humanity of each patient and delivering high-quality care with warmth and compassion. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report, a top 100 hospital for women’s health and orthopedics by Healthgrades, and a Magnet Hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Additionally, Mercy has ranked as one of the safest hospitals in the U.S., achieving an “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. 

The challenge

As one of the top hospitals in Maryland, Mercy requires reliable energy solutions to meet its high demand for heating, sterilization, and chilled water to keep mission-critical operations up and running 24/7 and optimize patient comfort.  

After leveraging district energy for nearly sixty years, the Mercy team sought opportunities to support the hospital’s increasing energy load while achieving long-term energy resilience and cost savings. 

The solution

As one of Vicinity’s longest-standing partners, the Mercy team further demonstrated its trust in district energy by extending the hospital’s contract with Vicinity for over 20 years, expanding its chilled water service, and leveraging Vicinity experts for annual preventive maintenance. While Vicinity provides chilled water and steam for the hospital’s daily operations, Mercy can focus on fostering a community of compassionate care for patients. 

“The steam and chilled water services that Vicinity Energy provides are crucial to the operational efficiency of our hospital and support our mission to provide excellent and compassionate clinical care to all citizens of Baltimore,” states Mercy Medical Center’s Vice President of Support Services and Construction Robert Beckwith.

Tackling large capital projects with low upfront costs

Vicinity implemented improvements to existing steam infrastructure to drive system efficiencies, reduce energy costs, and decrease annual maintenance spending for Mercy. The project included the relocation and replacement of 900 feet of steam piping along Saratoga Street from Charles to Calvert. Vicinity also expanded and extended its chilled water system 550 feet east along Saratoga Street to serve Mercy and future customers in this section of Baltimore. The upgrade and replacement of existing steam mains along with the addition of new chilled water piping also brought about street beautification from Saratoga Street to Calvert Street with road repaving and aesthetic improvements to public spaces. While Vicinity invests in the Baltimore district energy system to optimize its efficiency and expand its reach throughout the city, Mercy and other Baltimore customers are able to reap the benefits of these upgrades with minimal upfront costs.  

Enhanced reliability for 24/7 patient care 

As part of this extended partnership, Vicinity supplies the Mercy campus with more chilled water from its central chilled water system, quadrupling the cooling output previously provided to the hospital. Vicinity also tied the district chilled water into Mercy’s existing chilled water facility to keep both resources available for guaranteed reliability. Vicinity’s interconnected central facilities, back-up generation, and multiple water and fuel sources deliver the reliability that Mercy and the Baltimore community depend upon. 

Reducing Baltimore’s carbon footprint 

District energy harnesses the power of a centrally located facility to generate cost-effective steam and hot and chilled water that yield greater efficiency, reliability, and carbon reductions over conventional generation, such as onsite boilers or chillers. Because Vicinity leverages renewables to generate approximately 50% of the steam delivered to Baltimore customers and 100% carbon-free electricity via emission-free energy certificates (EFECs), district energy helps reduce Mercy’s carbon footprint. In fact, district energy helps the City of Baltimore avoid 71,361 tons of carbon emissions annually. As Vicinity advances its electrification strategy across all its operations, customers, like Mercy, will continue to receive greener energy solutions and make strides towards decarbonization.   


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