Mercy Medical Center counts on Vicinity for reliable steam and chilled water expansion




Baltimore, MD

Square footage

1.4 million

The customer

Mercy Medical Center is an acute care, university-affiliated teaching hospital serving the downtown Baltimore community and beyond since 1874. Since its founding by the Sisters of Mercy, the hospital has helped shape downtown Baltimore and continues to provide award-winning patient care in women’s health, orthopedics, cancer care, digestive health, and more. With 183 licensed beds, this thriving health system proudly serves its community with prestigious doctors and leading Centers of Excellence. The facility is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, which employs over 200 providers with locations across Maryland. 

Mercy’s staff is dedicated to respecting the humanity of each patient and delivering high-quality care with warmth and compassion. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report, a top 100 hospital for women’s health and orthopedics by Healthgrades, and a Magnet Hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Additionally, Mercy has ranked as one of the safest hospitals in the U.S., achieving an “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. 

The challenge

As one of the top hospitals in Maryland, Mercy requires reliable energy solutions to meet its high demand for heating, sterilization, and chilled water to keep mission-critical operations up and running 24/7 and optimize patient comfort.  

After leveraging district energy for nearly sixty years, the Mercy team sought opportunities to support the hospital’s increasing energy load while achieving long-term energy resilience and cost savings. 

The solution

As one of Vicinity’s longest-standing partners, the Mercy team further demonstrated its trust in district energy by extending the hospital’s contract with Vicinity for over 20 years, expanding its chilled water service, and leveraging Vicinity experts for annual preventive maintenance. While Vicinity provides chilled water and steam for the hospital’s daily operations, Mercy can focus on fostering a community of compassionate care for patients. 

“The steam and chilled water services that Vicinity Energy provides are crucial to the operational efficiency of our hospital and support our mission to provide excellent and compassionate clinical care to all citizens of Baltimore,” states Mercy Medical Center’s Vice President of Support Services and Construction Robert Beckwith.

Tackling large capital projects with low upfront costs

Vicinity implemented improvements to existing steam infrastructure to drive system efficiencies, reduce energy costs, and decrease annual maintenance spending for Mercy. The project included the relocation and replacement of 900 feet of steam piping along Saratoga Street from Charles to Calvert. Vicinity also expanded and extended its chilled water system 550 feet east along Saratoga Street to serve Mercy and future customers in this section of Baltimore. The upgrade and replacement of existing steam mains along with the addition of new chilled water piping also brought about street beautification from Saratoga Street to Calvert Street with road repaving and aesthetic improvements to public spaces. While Vicinity invests in the Baltimore district energy system to optimize its efficiency and expand its reach throughout the city, Mercy and other Baltimore customers are able to reap the benefits of these upgrades with minimal upfront costs.  

Enhanced reliability for 24/7 patient care 

As part of this extended partnership, Vicinity supplies the Mercy campus with more chilled water from its central chilled water system, quadrupling the cooling output previously provided to the hospital. Vicinity also tied the district chilled water into Mercy’s existing chilled water facility to keep both resources available for guaranteed reliability. Vicinity’s interconnected central facilities, back-up generation, and multiple water and fuel sources deliver the reliability that Mercy and the Baltimore community depend upon. 

Reducing Baltimore’s carbon footprint 

District energy harnesses the power of a centrally located facility to generate cost-effective steam and hot and chilled water that yield greater efficiency, reliability, and carbon reductions over conventional generation, such as onsite boilers or chillers. Because Vicinity leverages renewables to generate approximately 50% of the steam delivered to Baltimore customers and 100% carbon-free electricity via emission-free energy certificates (EFECs), district energy helps reduce Mercy’s carbon footprint. In fact, district energy helps the City of Baltimore avoid 71,361 tons of carbon emissions annually. As Vicinity advances its electrification strategy across all its operations, customers, like Mercy, will continue to receive greener energy solutions and make strides towards decarbonization.   


energy experts

Access to energy experts

99.99% reliability 

Meet stringent energy needs

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Summer readiness checklist

As temperatures rise, it’s time to ensure HVAC systems are geared up for the summer heat to optimize building systems’ performance, conserve energy, and keep occupants comfortable.

Whether buildings use district chilled water or operate onsite chillers and cooling towers, regularly reviewing and implementing this guide ensures proactive building readiness for summer temperatures, helps maximize equipment lifespan, and improves overall energy efficiency.

Print out this summer preparedness checklist and review it every spring to prepare staff and equipment for the coming warm temperatures. Please note that the steps will vary depending on the equipment present onsite.

Contact your account manager to explore partnering with Vicinity’s operations and maintenance experts to assist with summer readiness, equipment upgrades, or preventative maintenance programs.

Vicinity leverages best practices at its central facilities to provide a smooth transition into the summer season. These protocols ensure safe, reliable, and consistent operation to prevent service disruptions for customers who leverage chilled water or steam for cooling purposes. Vicinity’s interconnected energy facilities offer 99.99% uptime energy delivery with resiliency through redundant power and fuel sources.

Vicinity’s summer preparedness includes extensive cooling tower and chiller inspection and cleaning at Vicinity’s central facilities that produce chilled water, including basin cleaning, sterilization to prevent bacteria growth, and oil inspections on gearboxes and fan belts. Vicinity also performs eddy current testing to detect leaks on chiller tubes and inspects refrigerant and oil samples. By taking these proactive steps, Vicinity delivers reliable customer service year-round and reduces the maintenance needed onsite at customers’ buildings.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium optimize visitors’ experiences with district energy


Sports and entertainment


Baltimore, MD

Square footage

2.6 million

The customer

Located in downtown Baltimore, Oriole Park at Camden Yards became the official home of the Baltimore Orioles on April 6, 1992. Since then, more than 72 million fans have attended Orioles’ games, and millions more have attended concerts, festivals, meetings, tours, and community events held at the retro-style ballpark. 

Adjacent to Oriole Park is M&T Bank Stadium, a multi-purpose football arena and home to the Baltimore Ravens since its construction in 1998. It’s one of the most praised stadiums in the NFL for amenities, ease of access, concessions, and other facilities. 

As two of the most preeminent sports stadiums in the country, both facilities are LEED Gold certified (Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance) and feature state-of-the-art amenities. The stadiums are owned by Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA), a public corporation of the state that plans, finances, builds, and manages sports facilities, convention centers, entertainment venues, and other projects. MSA aims to promote historic preservation, adaptive reuse, community redevelopment, cultural arts, and civic pride throughout the state with its projects.  

The challenge 

Both stadiums leveraged the Baltimore district energy network for heating and domestic hot water for nearly 30 years since they opened. However, shortly after the construction completed on Oriole Park at Camden Yards, MSA sought an efficient cooling solution to support both stadiums. MSA needed an energy solution that would keep guests and employees comfortable in the various amenity spaces, including locker rooms, restaurant/café, suites, press areas, special event space and offices. 

The solution 

Rather than investing in chillers and cooling towers at both stadiums, the Maryland Stadium Authority decided to construct its own central chilled water facility that could simultaneously cool both stadiums due to their proximity. MSA supplemented its cooling with Vicinity’s chilled water system for the historic 45,000 square foot gateway station and museum located at the opening gates of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Driving reliability to guarantee optimal event experiences  

As the home for many events that draw large crowds, uninterrupted service is of utmost importance to MSA. Vicinity 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. Also, Vicinity’s network incorporates thermal storage systems that produce chilled water from ice made using off-peak electricity—taking pressure off electrical grids during summer peak capacity periods and helping reduce electric capacity charges. With both Vicinity’s steam and chilled water, MSA can rest assured that staff and visitors are comfortable year-round, and there are no disruptions to events.  

Minimizing carbon impact 

The partnership between MSA and Vicinity drives efficiency and sustainability, lowering the stadiums’ carbon footprint. Vicinity leverages renewables to generate approximately 50% of the steam delivered to Baltimore customers and 100% carbon-free electricity via emission-free energy certificates (EFECs), enabling the two stadiums to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Even better, as Vicinity progresses its electrification strategy and incorporates new technologies at Maryland’s central facilities, the MSA can continue to promote sustainability at these two stadiums.


lower carbon

Reduced carbon footprint

99.99% reliability 

Operations savings

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

Pumps & Systems podcast: Heat pumps & decarbonization

In this episode of the Pumps & Systems podcast, Bill DiCroce, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vicinity Energy discussed the role heat pumps can play in decarbonization, as well as the efforts cities like Boston are currently making to strive for sustainability and an eventual goal of net zero carbon emissions.

Recommended preventative maintenance

Vicinity’s comprehensive maintenance services are offered year-round—during peak usage or before system turn-ons—to optimize steam efficiency, reliability, and cost savings.

Improve the operating performance of steam systems by taking preventive steps to avoid energy losses. Customers who have leveraged Vicinity’s preventive maintenance program have experienced the following benefits:

  • Conserved energy and reduced energy costs by improving system performance and eliminating inefficiencies.
  • Improved reliability by identifying problem areas that could cause unscheduled system outages.
  • Optimized capital expenditure and operating expenses by maximizing system efficiency and strategically planning for infrastructure investments with an identified budget for equipment repair or replacement.
  • Improved operating procedures by reviewing, refining, and documenting preventative maintenance best practices.
We partner with each of our customers to customize recurring service agreements for the summer and winter seasons, tailoring the maintenance services below to their specific needs. Reach out to your Account Manager today to understand the preventative maintenance services offered in your district.

Steam traps

  • Service description: Survey building, locate, identify, tag, and test steam trap performance.
  • Maintenance value: Ensure steam traps function correctly and prevent issues that can lead to energy waste, equipment damage, and safety hazards.

Pressure Regulating Valves (PRVs)

  • Service description: Identify valves’ make, model, size, and serial number. Test pilot valve for leaks, clean orifices, check diaphragm plates, test the gauging, and set to desired system pressure.
  • Maintenance value: Prevent system over-pressurization and relief valves from releasing steam into the atmosphere. Failed PRVs may improperly cycle open and close, both oversupplying and then starving the downstream equipment of steam.


  • Service description: Inspect screens and clean out debris, evaluate source of debris, and troubleshoot. Ensure blow-down valves are functioning properly to flush trapped material.
  • Maintenance value: Reduce rust and pipe scale damage to valves and pumps. Ensure heat transfer surfaces are kept free of efficiency reducing deposits.

Heat exchangers

  • Service description: Perform water chemistry testing, determine if leaks exist, measure tube thickness, repair or plug tubes as needed, and perform preventative maintenance, such as hydrolasing or cleaning as needed.
  • Maintenance value: Recover efficiency losses, optimize operation of the exchangers, and reduce energy consumption.

Steam pipe

  • Service description: Inspect steam piping. Check for leaking joints, watermarks on insulation, and corrosion.
  • Maintenance value: Deliver safe and reliable steam into the building while reducing potential for steam emissions into the building.

Condensate return line

  • Service description: Inspect for leaks and corrosion. Check condensate pump seals for leaks. Check vent pipes for vapor emissions.
  • Maintenance value: Avoid condensate water spills, ensure proper evacuation of condensate from system lines, and identify the presence of leaking steam traps in the system.

Mechanical room hot water loop

  • Service description: Inspect all piping, inlet/outlet temperatures, and pressures on heat exchangers and mechanical pumps.
  • Maintenance value: Confirm adequate operation of key energy transfer equipment, such as heat exchangers, which supply building heat, hot water, or other process loads.

Seasonal and maintenance shutdowns/turn-ons

  • Service description: Manage closure and opening of Vicinity’s main service valve for seasonal system curtailment or start of use. Shutdowns require draining of systems while turn-ons require both draining of systems and operating pressure checks.
  • Maintenance value: Ensure safe and confined operation of Vicinity’s main service valve for shutdowns/turn-ons related to seasonal changes and maintenance activities. Reduce radiant energy losses, condensate accumulation in system piping, and mechanical room air space temperature. Prevent pipes from rotting and prepare systems to be dormant for an extended period by draining the systems for shutdowns.