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Vicinity Energy Extends 20-Year District Energy Contract with Mercy Medical Center, Including Steam Infrastructure Improvements and Chilled Water Service Expansion

By District Energy posted 03-30-2021 11:50




Vicinity Energy, owner of the nation’s largest portfolio of district energy systems, has extended its contract with Mercy Medical Center into the next 20 years. The agreement will build upon the nearly 60-year relationship between both organizations by combining three existing Vicinity steam contracts under a single agreement, implementing improvements to existing steam infrastructure, and significantly expanding chilled water service to the medical campus.

One of the top hospitals in Maryland, Mercy Medical Center’s relationship with Vicinity’s robust district energy system dates back to 1963. Vicinity historically supplied 32,500 pounds per hour of steam to the entire campus and 425 tons of chilled water for the Weinberg Building annually. With this new contract, Vicinity will now supply the Mercy campus with a total of 1,725 tons of chilled water per year from its central chilled water system, quadrupling the cooling output and bringing Mercy Medical Center's buildings under a single chilled water and steam agreement. Vicinity will also perform annual preventive maintenance for Mercy’s steam mechanical rooms. Vicinity will tie the district chilled water into Mercy’s existing chilled water facility to keep both resources available for added redundancy to the hospital.

Beginning in January 2021, the project consolidation will dramatically improve system efficiency for the Medical Center by reducing energy costs and decreasing annual maintenance spend. The project is expected to be completed in August 2021 and will include the relocation and replacement of 900 feet of steam piping along Saratoga Street from Charles to Calvert. Vicinity will also be expanding and extending 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 and the addition of new chilled water piping will also bring street beautification along Saratoga Street to Calvert Street, with road repaving and aesthetic improvements to public spaces.

"Now, more than ever, hospitals and medical facilities require 24/7 energy to ensure that their mission-critical operations will continue uninterrupted," said Bill DiCroce, president and CEO of Vicinity Energy. "With interconnected central facilities, back-up generation and multiple water and fuel sources, our district energy systems’ built-in redundancy directly addresses this need and delivers the reliability that hospitals and our communities depend upon. We are proud to continue our relationship with Mercy Medical Center by providing sustainable thermal energy that supports the lifesaving work of its physicians and staff."

"Vicinity has been a reliable long-term partner for well over a half century, and we are excited to be extending our relationship with them, while also ensuring long-term energy resilience and cost savings for the hospital,” said Dr. David N. Maine, president and CEO of Mercy Health Services, Mercy Medical Center. "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," said Robert Beckwith, vice president of support services and construction at Mercy Medical Center.

District energy harnesses the power of a centrally located facility to generate cost-effective steam and hot and chilled water that yields greater efficiency, reliability and carbon reductions over conventional generation, such as onsite boilers or chillers. In Baltimore, over 50 percent of the steam delivered to customers is generated through renewables—resulting in reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 30,000 tons annually. The downtown Baltimore business corridor is also supplied with reliable central chilled water services, supported by one of the largest ice thermal storage systems in the country.

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