Reliable green steam supports The Curtis’ office to lab conversion in Philadelphia



Life sciences


Philadelphia, PA

Square footage


The customer

Situated near Independence Hall, The Curtis, founded in 1891 and owned by the Keystone Property Group, is a historic 12-floor, mixed-use building. From luxury living to collaborative office spaces and a wide range of retail and dining offerings, this revitalized Philadelphia icon also supports the city’s booming life sciences industry with its innovative lab facilities.

The challenge

Because of the city’s thriving life sciences scene, Keystone sought to convert The Curtis’ traditional office spaces to support lab research. From ventilation, space temperature, and humidity needs to sterilizing laboratory tools and equipment, laboratories have particular and stringent energy requirements to support continuous operations. Keystone’s existing onsite boiler could not handle the precise requirements necessary for laboratory research and the increasing energy demands of life science tenants. Keystone needed an alternative energy solution to serve the high-pressure, clean steam requirements to attract and support life science tenants’ needs.

The solution

To meet the unique energy needs and space requirements while ensuring peak reliability at The Curtis, Keystone turned to Vicinity’s district energy system for heating, reheating, sterilization, and humidification to support lab research.

“This is an exciting time for the life sciences industry in Philadelphia, and The Curtis’ conversion from office to lab space is at the forefront of the city’s life science sector. Thanks to the reliability and flexibility of district energy, tenants can be confident that our labs will maintain consistent 24/7 heating, reheating, sterilization, and humidification to meet the specific requirements needed to support their critical research,” states Keystone Property Group’s Senior Property Manager Sam Mattei. 

Empowering Keystone to meet each tenant’s needs

Keystone recognized the value of district energy in its scalability and capacity to deliver the uninterrupted—and sustainable—low-carbon thermal energy required for tenant lab spaces. Keystone can conveniently increase its steam demand to support additional floors if needed, without any additional upfront capital investment.

Supporting mission-critical needs

High-pressure steam is the preferred method of sterilization for state-of-the-art hospitals and research facilities across the globe. Vicinity reduces energy risk for The Curtis and offers 99.99% uptime energy delivery through interconnected central energy facilities with multiple power supplies, back-up generation, and several water and fuel sources in the event of interruptions to other utilities. Access to reliable and clean district steam allows the life science tenants to carry on their mission-critical research without compromising on productivity, safety, or results. 

Reducing Philadelphia’s carbon footprint

The partnership between Keystone and Vicinity drives sustainability in The Curtis and beyond, lowering the building’s carbon footprint and impact on the surrounding community. Because Vicinity’s district energy system relies on the highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP) process and biogenic fuels to produce steam, The Curtis is able to avoid approximately 168 tons of carbon each year, the equivalent of removing 34 cars from the road. As Vicinity transitions to cleaner energy solutions and incorporates new technologies at Philadelphia’s central facilities, The Curtis will benefit from continuous greening solutions that will further cut carbon emissions.


lower carbon

168 tons of annual carbon emission savings

99.99% reliability 

Meet stringent energy needs