Reliable district energy heats Maryland’s oldest cultural institution, the Maryland Center for History and Culture





Baltimore, MD

Square footage


The customer

Founded in 1844, the Maryland Historical Society, now known as the Maryland Center for History and Culture (MCHC), educates future generations about Maryland’s rich past. Serving more than 80,000 students and teachers annually, MCHC is based in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood and houses an impressive collection of over 7 million historic documents and 350,000 objects in its museum, library, pavilion, and exhibit storage space. As the organization preserves and celebrates the state’s history, MCHC continues to evolve and expand its space to achieve its mission.

The challenge

Due to its increasing popularity and expansion efforts, MCHC needed a reliable heating solution to keep its visitors comfortable and historical contents preserved. Additionally, the organization was focused on reducing its carbon footprint and repurposing resources wherever possible, including city water.

The solution

For more than three decades, Baltimore’s district energy system has supplied thermal energy to the institution to power onsite heat exchangers and hot water tanks. Vicinity’s green steam reliably provides heat and hot water to the institution, a more sustainable and economical alternative to onsite boilers.

A history of reliability and precision

With 99.99% reliability, the institution is safeguarded against interruptions of service—enabling it to provide a comfortable experience to its increasing number of annual visitors. This level of reliability also supports preservation efforts. As the organization houses important documents, artwork, and exhibits that require specific temperatures, MCHC relies on district energy to provide steam at the precise level needed to maintain the delicate and historic objects.

Recycling with purpose

Within the process of converting steam to energy, a portion of this steam reverts to condensate, which is often cooled with city water and discarded as waste. However, in 2014, the institution devised a creative solution to pipe the condensate into an adjacent, outdoor reflecting pool—saving on sewer charges and city water costs. By recycling the condensate, instead of discarding it, MCHC not only reduces costs, but also minimizes its impact on the planet and surrounding community by conserving water, a limited and important resource.

Committed to a greener tomorrow

Not only has this historic facility made strides in conserving water, MCHC has made strides in reducing its carbon emissions by utilizing district energy. Because approximately 50% of the steam delivered to Baltimore customers is generated through renewables, MCHC has access to a green energy solution that contributes to a cleaner future. MCHC pays homage to the state’s vibrant history while simultaneously forging ahead into the future by educating young generations and actively adopting environmentally responsible practices.


lower carbon

Reduced carbon footprint

99.99% reliability 

Recycled condensate

precision icon

Precise steam control

cost savings icon

Cost savings

energy experts

Access to industry experts