Chair's Update 4th Quarter 2013

By Patti Wilson posted 06-25-2017 19:07

Patti Wilson

I was recently doing research about the Architect of the Capitol and was inspired by the very first sentence on its website under "About the AOC": "The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is the builder and steward of America's Capitol, serving Congress and the Supreme Court, creating a home for American democracy."

That simple summary contains a story of American pride, a critical part of which relates to the district energy system run by the AOC. For more than a century, that system has been supplying steam to those buildings 24/7/365, and in 1938 district cooling was added. The district energy system is, in itself, a steward of some of the most important buildings in our country, ensuring reliable service year-round.

In early September, IDEA, the U.S. Department of Energy and the General Services Administration's (GSA) Heating Operation and Transmission Division (HOTD) collaborated to host a large delegation from the Advanced Cogeneration and Utilization Center Japan. Members of the delegation traveled to Washington, D.C., to learn what the GSA has accomplished through its continued innovation and improvement in energy efficiency with the addition of two 5.2 MW cogeneration turbines. The GSA HOTD district energy system is more than 75 years old, and yet it continually improves in the areas of energy conservation, resiliency and optimization. This district energy system serves as a steward of an additional 93 significant federal and commercial buildings in our capital by supplying continuous steam, chilled water and cogeneration.

Just a few weeks later, on Sept. 23, IDEA, Euroheat & Power and the International Energy Agency hosted the Third Global District Energy Climate Awards and Summit at the historic Hudson Theatre in New York. The summit was led by Rob Thornton and included participants from North America, Europe and the Middle East. During the day, six panels of experts from around the world convened to share their experiences with the development and implementation of community and district energy systems, financing options, sustainability and benefits gained by the local communities. It was a day of sharing and stewardship within our industry to help move community energy forward.

The summit culminated with a highly competitive awards ceremony. All of the systems that submitted entries for an award were a source of inspiration with their creativity and commitment to ensuring their community systems are as efficient, resilient and sustainable as possible, while utilizing local, renewable resources. For example, the brand new Princess Nora University for Women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, implemented the largest solar district hot water system in the world, demonstrating community-scale district heating in the Middle East. And in Denmark, the city of Marstal implemented a 100 percent renewable district heating system integrating several different technologies: solar thermal, biomass boiler and heat pump. The city of Marstal represents ongoing renewable technology development on a community scale.

Here in the U.S., three of our IDEA members received awards at the gala global awards ceremony. Cornell University and Texas A&M University each received an Award of Excellence for a campus system, and District Energy St. Paul received an Award of Excellence for modernization of a municipal district energy system serving more than 10,000 citizens.

From Riyadh to Marstal to College Station to Capitol Hill, each of these systems is a steward of district energy for the community it serves. Likewise, all of us at IDEA are stewards and leaders of this industry. My first few months as board chair have provided new insights into the creative work you are all doing to develop sustainable energy solutions for communities and campuses, and I truly believe the world is beginning to notice these achievements.

We will soon gather to celebrate our accomplishments and best practices at the IDEA 27th Annual Campus Energy Conference in Atlanta. I look forward to seeing you there!


Patti Wilson
Chair, 2013-14

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