Each of our locations has a phone number that is staffed 24/7:
Atlanta: +1 404-745-9445
Baltimore: +1 410-625-4555
Boston/Cambridge: +1 617-482-8232
Grand Rapids: +1 616-456-7438
Kansas City: +1 816-889-4950
Morgantown: +1 410-625-4555
Oklahoma City: +1 405-235-3955
Philadelphia: +1 215-732-1411
Trenton: +1 609-858-6800
Tulsa: +1 918-585-8893
Washington, D.C.: +1 410-625-4555
Bill Pay Portal
You can also pay your invoices on your phone by accessing the bill pay portal through the Vicinity website.
We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover credit cards. The bill pay portal has a $500,000.00 limit per payment.
You will get a confirmation email from firstname.lastname@example.org to the email address entered confirming your payment. If you create an auto payment, you will receive an email confirmation that it has been scheduled and another email when it is paid.
Yes, you can schedule autopay payments within the customer account portal after creating an account. Autopay is not available within the one-time payment portal.
Customers who sign up for AutoPay enjoy “set-it-and-forget-it“ convenience by automatically having their payment made each month. This capability allows customers to set a preferred payment date (e.g., the 20th calendar date of every month, or the due date on your monthly invoice) and automatically make payment from the customer’s saved bank account or credit card each month. Customers will receive payment confirmation once the payment has been scheduled and another email when it is paid. You can edit or cancel AutoPay elections anytime.
District energy uses a centrally-located facility, or facilities, to generate thermal energy – heat, hot water, or chilled water – for commercial buildings that form an “energy district.” The energy is transported through underground pipes to meet the needs of commercial and institutional buildings such as life sciences, college and hospital campuses, museums, hospitality, airports, and office parks.
District energy provided multiple advantages:
- Freedom from asset ownership and the costs associated with maintenance
- Wholesale energy pricing and stability
- Efficient energy delivery
- Greater reliability and redundancy in energy supply
- Reduced carbon footprint
Quickly. District energy systems can isolate issues and have built-in redundancy to leverage multiple generating assets and fuel, power, and water sources to maintain reliable service even in the most demanding weather events.
If a piece of equipment or utility source is compromised or experiencing any issues, the system can continue to operate by drawing from its backup sources and infrastructure. With insulated carbon steel conduit piping encased in concrete, a district energy network’s distribution system is more robust and resilient than conventional utility alternatives, even during extreme weather events.
Yes. District energy systems are agnostic to fuel type. This fuel flexibility enables the use of lower-carbon, local sources of energy, increasing the resiliency and security of the network and the health of our communities. Decarbonization upgrades to our centralized facilities immediately benefit our entire network. As more new renewable technologies and sources come online, district energy systems can easily integrate these into their existing, robust distribution systems.
Yes. Unlike onsite generation – which intrinsically involves onsite combustion as part of the energy generation process – district energy is a safer alternative. With district energy, thermal energy is produced at a central facility and distributed to individual buildings via underground piping, eliminating the safety risks associated with onsite generation.
Ground source heat pumps are not appropriate for all end uses. Converting to a ground-source heat pump would require substantial building retrofits and capital investment for many customers. Further, heat pumps are only sometimes technically viable for many customers, like biotechnology companies, laboratories, or hospitals, with unique energy requirements and high demand. These customers require reliability for critical processes, and heat pumps introduce risk to their operations. If a building uses heat pumps, coupling with district energy ensures reliability and affordability, especially during peaks and carbon neutrality. Finally, in–building heat pumps will struggle to meet a building’s temperature requirements on cold days. Below a specific ambient temperature, the heat pump cannot warm up the air in a building to a tenant’s desired comfort level. Comparatively, district energy is a better, more efficient means to heat a building to the appropriate temperature during the winter.
In 2020, Vicinity announced its pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions across our operations by 2050. Vicinity will eliminate fossil fuels over the next 30 years and rely solely on renewable, carbon-free fuel sources to generate the steam and chilled water we deliver to our customers. We are moving quickly and have made significant progress in meeting our goal.
Vicinity’s Clean Energy Future articulates our vision and roadmap to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Learn more on our website: Clean Energy Future.
The backbone of Vicinity’s decarbonization plan is the electrification of its operations. Electrified district energy utilizes existing infrastructure at a central facility and the irreplaceable and robust distribution piping to decarbonize urban buildings. Vicinity will import carbon-free electrons through co-located, existing substations to power electric boilers, coupled with industrial-scale heat pumps and thermal batteries, to deliver electrified, clean steam for heating, cooling, sterilization, humidification, and other thermal energy needs.
Vicinity is actively upgrading its operations. We are purchasing renewable and carbon-free electricity to supply power to our equipment and have incorporated biogenic fuels into our operations in Philadelphia, Boston, and Cambridge. We are investing tens of millions in major efficiency projects at our facilities. And we have developed and are executing a robust plan to electrify our steam generation. We are currently procuring our first electric boilers for our facility in Cambridge, MA, and we will purchase renewable energy to power the boilers and deliver carbon-free steam. As part of this plan, we are also pursuing a significant industrial-scale heat pump complex and thermal battery storage.
Yes. While district energy systems have been around for decades, they have an essential role in our effort to decarbonize quickly. District energy systems are agile; they can swiftly and aggressively integrate renewables into their energy mix as more renewable electrons are available on the grid. By replacing fossil fuel infrastructure with electric boilers, heat pumps, thermal batteries, and other clean technology, district energy systems can effectively decarbonize communities without retrofitting or installing new electrical infrastructure in individual buildings.
Yes. Vicinity Energy’s systems are helping commercial buildings meet local carbon reduction requirements, as well as the new Federal Building Perfomance Standard enacted by the Biden Administration.
Utility-owned district systems, like Vicinity Energy’s, are categorized as indirect, Scope 2 emissions, and not part of the new Federal BPS. Federal buildings connected to Vicinity’s systems can instantly meet the requirements set by the new standard.
However, we’re not stopping there: we are moving beyond these requirements as we take steps to electrify our operations and decarbonize the cities we serve, and ultimately pass these benefits on to our customers.
Vicinity is actively greening our operations. We are investing tens of millions in major efficiency projects at our facilities. We are purchasing renewable and carbon-free electricity to power our equipment and have incorporated biogenic fuels into our operations in Philadelphia, Boston, and Cambridge. Currently, we are installing our first electric boilers, located in Cambridge, MA, and we will purchase renewable energy to power the boilers and deliver carbon-free steam, known as eSteamTM, as part of this plan. We have also signed an agreement with a German-based company called MAN Energy to purchase and install industrial–scale heat pumps and thermal battery storage.
The benefits of electrification are numerous.
- No expensive retrofits – We eliminate the challenge of converting individual buildings. This solution is faster, more cost-competitive, and less capital intensive than building retrofits under mandates.
- Existing infrastructure – We will use our network of underground pipes to deliver clean, carbon-free steam to customers. Further, many of our facilities have existing electric substations and transmission lines, so no additional investment is needed to access renewable electrons.
- Cleaner air – We eliminate new gas “stacks” and fossil-burning infrastructure in individual buildings. Communities benefit from cleaner energy sources, which improve city air quality and remove particulates and other pollutants from our neighborhoods.
- More affordable – Because Vicinity has access to wholesale renewable power, we can procure electricity at much lower rates than the average consumer. Further, Vicinity intends to purchase a lot of its power overnight when prices are lower and store it when our customers need it.
- Reliability – Our ability to fuel switch allows us to be more reliable than other onsite alternatives. Vicinity’s system has built-in redundancies and will continue to access backup fuels as needed in emergencies.
As part of Vicinity’s electrification plan, we plan to install molten salt or molten silica thermal batteries, which are an excellent means of storing heat. This technology will allow us to procure renewable electrons when prices are low (typically overnight), produce the thermal energy, and store it so that it’s available when our customers need it.
Vicinity’s industrial-scale heat pump will extract heat from adjacent water sources, like the Charles and Schuylkill Rivers. The heat pump will harvest energy from these water sources and use it to generate steam and improve the system’s overall efficiency. The technology functions similarly to an air conditioning system but accomplishes the reverse. Vicinity’s heat pump technology will return the water cooler, not impacting the river or the surrounding environment. Vicinity’s heat pump complex could be the largest in the nation.
Vicinity owns and operates several large cogeneration turbines. By installing electric boilers, Vicinity will gradually transition away from its cogeneration turbine and become an importer of electricity to run the electric boilers. Vicinity will purchase wholesale renewable power, resulting in the generation and distribution of eSteam™, a carbon-free renewable thermal energy product, to customers.
eSteam™ is Vicinity’s unique and innovative carbon-free renewable energy product. eSteam™ offers maximum flexibility and superior economic benefits compared to alternative onsite solutions. Vicinity uses carbon-free, renewable electricity to generate eSteam™, providing rapid decarbonization for commercial and institutional buildings in city centers.
To generate and deliver eSteam™, Vicinity is electrifying its operations by installing electric boilers, industrial-scale heat pumps, and thermal battery storage. Vicinity will procure electricity from renewable, carbon-neutral energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro. Leveraging our existing network of underground pipes, we will deliver eSteam™ to our customers without any effort.
Electrification will enable Vicinity to generate steam with a zero-carbon emissions factor. This means that the eSteam™ energy you purchase from Vicinity is clean and sustainable. By using eSteam™, our customers will be able to enjoy many benefits, including
- Carbon-free: eSteam™ is a carbon-free renewable energy product for rapid decarbonization
- Maximum flexibility: Customers choose how much eSteam™ they want to use and the carbon-free electricity source
- Superior economics: eSteam™ is the most affordable option to decarbonize your building compared to onsite alternatives
- Maximum resiliency: Vicinity’s operational flexibility means that we can switch fuel and generating sources to avoid interruptions
No. Electrification will not affect customers unless they choose to purchase electrified steam, known as eSteam™. There will be no changes in pricing from Vicinity’s electrification efforts. In the near term, if customers purchase eSteam™, the price will be different than steam generated from fossil fuels. However, our offer will be much more cost-effective than other electrifying alternatives. Because we operate at economies of scale, we can offer our customers the best pricing possible. We aim to manage affordability and sustainability on behalf of our customers.
VRF is a refrigerant based heating and cooling system that utilizes a central outdoor condenser to feed multiple indoor evaporators. There are two main reasons a developer might choose to go with a VRF system—zoning controls and ductwork. VRF allows for more precise zoning controls, so if you need to heat or cool rooms to drastically different temperatures, VRF might be a good choice. Because VRF uses a central outdoor condenser, it also means there is less indoor equipment needed, such as separate window AC units for every room. This also keeps things quieter indoors.
VRF systems require upfront capital costs to install. Additionally, the average life of a compressor is about 10-15 years, and they range in costs from $5k to $15k in commercial buildings. Because district energy does not require cooling or heating equipment onsite, there are typically no upfront costs associated with connecting to a district energy system—unlike the high upfront capital costs required for boilers, chillers, and cooling towers. Many district energy providers are even willing to invest in connecting a building to the district system and will cover the cost of any potential street repairs and beautification. Plus, existing ductwork in a commercial building can often be retrofitted to accommodate district energy.
VRF systems consist of multiple complex pieces of equipment which require qualified HVAC mechanics to repair and maintain. This means either keeping HVAC technicians on staff or hiring a vendor each time maintenance or repairs are required.
VRF systems require electricity to run, which exposes buildings to multiple risks—including volatile electricity rates based on peak demand and policy changes that may drive those rates up in the future. And, in the event of a loss of electricity, the building would lose heating and cooling as well—which is potentially dangerous to occupants and could damage equipment and assets in the building.
District systems are a great source of reliable energy, whether heating or cooling. The robust underground steel-encased pipes of a district network are reliable even in severe weather, and district energy systems maintain 99.99% uptime. Additionally, because its central facilities are fueled by multiple sources and have bult-in redundancies, reliable district energy cooling and heating is available even in the event of electrical losses. This is critical for the wellbeing of occupants and the protection of sensitive assets and equipment, especially for mission-critical facilities like hospitals, public safety facilities or laboratories.
VRF systems are normally housed on rooftops, which precludes that space from being used for building amenities, such as lounges and gardens. Additionally, there is a misconception that VRF systems do not require ductwork—though ductwork is certainly required to ensure safe air cycling in a building, especially as a result of COVID-inspired code changes to keep building occupants safe.
District energy does not require rooftop chillers or compressors, freeing up rooftop space for amenities, a solar array, or other storage or equipment needs. This also means no rooftop penetration—which can reduce risk of damage due to a compromised building envelope.
Because district energy does not rely on electricity, building peak usage would be much lower than with VRF or installing electric units. That means that variable loads for heating or cooling would be drastically reduced—creating a flat load profile with lower demand charges.