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How Catholic institutions are building sustainability into aging infrastructure

By District Energy posted 01-11-2023 14:48




A new energy is forming around St. James Cathedral in Seattle's First Hill district.

Specifically, energy free of greenhouse gas emissions that are heating the planet.

In March, the Seattle Archdiocese announced plans to sell four properties it owned to Westbank, a Vancouver-based developer that is working to create a carbon-neutral energy system in the Emerald City neighborhood.

The futuristic-sounding project will provide clean energy to buildings across the First District, including the cathedral and O'Dea High School, by capturing and redirecting excess thermal energy produced by Swedish Health Services, which in March merged with Providence Health founded by the Sisters of Providence. The project, being developed with Creative Energy, aims to provide free heating to the health system, along with nearby residential buildings and the wider neighborhood, including Seattle University.

Once completed, it would make First Hill one of the largest decarbonized communities in North America, eliminating upwards of 12,000 tons of carbon emissions annually (the equivalent of taking 2,200 cars off the road), according to Westbank, which has established a similar carbon-free energy community in Vancouver.

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