The National Aquarium keeps its cool with Vicinity





Baltimore, MD

Square footage


The customer

Ranked as one of the nation’s top aquariums by U.S. News & World Report, the National Aquarium in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is home to thousands of species. From colorful exotic fish to diverse collections of plants and animals, like crocodiles, birds, and reptiles, the National Aquarium delivers a memorable experience for visitors.

The challenge

Spanning across two piers within the Inner Harbor seaport, the National Aquarium complex is home to nearly 20,000 aquatic animals, with over 700 species of fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. The Aquarium requires a significant energy load because of the animals’ specific air and water temperature needs and the complex’s vast open spaces. To support the growing cooling needs of various exhibits and provide optimal comfort for visitors, the Aquarium needed an energy solution to supplement its cooling capacity back in 2001.

The solution

When looking for an energy solution with exceptional reliability, the Aquarium supplemented its cooling capacity through a long-term supply agreement with Vicinity. More recently, the Aquarium renewed this agreement for an additional twenty years, a testament to the Aquarium’s trust in Vicinity’s district chilled water service and clean energy mission.

“Through this partnership with Vicinity Energy, we are able to maintain the comfort of our visitors and support the delicate air and water temperature requirements of our aquatic plants and animals. The use of Vicinity Energy’s chilled water system… stands as a testament to the National Aquarium’s focus on sustainability and supports our mission to conserve the world’s aquatic treasures,” states John C. Racanelli, president and CEO of the National Aquarium.

Meeting precise energy needs

Vicinity supplies chilled water for roughly a dozen Aquarium exhibits, including the coral reef, kelp forest, anemones, puffins, and octopus. Since fluctuations in water temperature can cause stress and harm to the animals, the Aquarium uses the district chilled water system to prevent temperatures from fluctuating more than 2-3°F from the ideal temperature requirements for each exhibit. Certain species of seabirds, such as the Atlantic puffin, require cooler environments to mirror their native habitat in the northeastern Pacific. With the help of Vicinity’s chilled water, the water in the puffin exhibit is cooled to approximately 40 degrees °F, and the air temperature is set to a frosty 42 degrees °F.


Precise energy needs

99.99% reliability 

Reduced maintenance effort and cost