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With dwindling users, St. Louis officials weigh options to support steam loop

By District Energy posted 03-04-2018 00:00


Bryce Gary, St. Louis Post Dispatch


What’s one thing the finalist cities for Amazon’s new campus have in common?

Besides a certain level of dynamism, some in St. Louis are pointing out another, more specific commonality: They have shared networks called district energy systems, used for heating, and sometimes cooling, buildings in their downtown cores — a condition Amazon required of its suitors and already employs at its Seattle facilities.

St. Louis, which didn’t make Amazon’s short list for its second headquarters search, has a district energy system, too, although it faces some challenges. Often called the “steam loop,” the system encompasses more than 15 miles of pipes that provide heat to downtown buildings. Customers ranging from government buildings to Busch Stadium, hotels and apartment complexes are able to buy the steam without spending hundreds of thousands — or even millions — of dollars on their own, individual boiler systems.

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