Providing reliable and sustainable heating and cooling to buildings across the Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C.
Nestled in the Washington D.C.’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood, the Watergate Energy Collaborative Utility serves the historic Watergate Complex with reliable high-pressure steam and chilled water. As owner and operator of the utility system, Vicinity is managing the energy operations to provide reliable and sustainable heating and cooling to six buildings that comprise the mixed-used campus.
With over $11 million in planned investments, Vicinity will revamp the plant and distribution system to improve efficiency, reliability and sustainability. Upgrades include converting the plant’s 55-year-old steam heating system to high efficiency hot water, complete efficiency upgrades to the chilled water system, and installation of an advanced treatment system to facilitate use of groundwater, currently sent to the sewer, as makeup water to the plant, saving millions of gallons of water each year.
Investing in District Energy
By centralizing and aggregating the production of heat, hot and chilled water to multiple buildings, district energy cuts down on the amount of fuel that would be required by individual buildings using onsite generation, and the resulting carbon emissions. Furthermore, it allows for faster, more complete transitions to clean energy options as they become available. District systems and infrastructure can easily be updated to integrate new technologies and/or renewable fuels that benefit a great number of buildings in a geographic footprint. This allows for carbon footprint reductions at a scale that would be impossible to achieve on an individual basis.
An Innovative Approach to a Cleaner Environment
- Electrifying generation to further reduce carbon emissions as the grid gets greener;
- Investing in efficiency projects and upgrades to our existing district infrastructure;
- Leveraging renewable energy for our “house loads” in our facilities;
- Researching new opportunities, like the introduction of battery storage, to meet the needs of customers and avoid costly grid interruption; and
- Exploring additional leading-edge technologies to accelerate our transition.
How District Energy Works
District energy is an innovative and resilient energy solution that uses a centrally located facility, or facilities, to generate thermal energy—heat, hot water or chilled water—which is then transported through highly insulated underground pipes directly to nearby buildings, avoiding the need for boilers, chillers and cooling towers in individual buildings. Watch the video to learn more about how district energy works.
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