The Wave – December 2019

Extra Care for Extreme Weather

The heating season is well underway, and we want to help you prepare your operations for the extremely cold weather that is likely in the coming months. It is our highest priority to meet your needs for reliable hot water service. Combining District Energy’s reliable service with your well-maintained building systems will allow your building to navigate through the coldest days while keeping your employees, patrons, and tenants warm and safe.

We recommend reviewing the District Energy Preventive Maintenance Checklist to make sure that your mechanical systems are in good working condition. Extreme cold can worsen existing issues in your mechanical system. In our experience, we have learned that:

  • Equipment exposed to outside air is at increased risk.
  • Chilled water coils that are freeze prone should be drained and dried with warm air, not just compressed air.
  • Buildings that are programmed for work-week occupancy should be monitored over long or extremely cold weekends.

Taking extra care during extreme weather events is critical to keeping your operations running smoothly. Our team has identified a few clues that could indicate that the building system may be having an issue:

  • Complaints of cold conditions from occupants in the building
  • Inability to properly heat the entire building
  • New or irregular noises coming from the pumps or piping system
  • Loss of pressure in the building’s hot water loop
  • Large swings in forecast temperatures causing potentially rapid freeze/thaw cycles

We recommend that buildings have an emergency plan in place, including contact information for HVAC contractors that may need to be deployed for emergency assistance. Your plan should also include the District Energy 24 hour emergency contact information in case you experience loss of heat and/or water 651.297.8955.

In addition to system emergencies, any repairs or modifications to the building mechanical system should be shared with the District Energy team, so that we can help you optimize your system and minimize larger system impacts.

Thank you for you continued partnership in keeping your systems safe and working properly. Please contact the District Energy team if you have any questions at 651.297.8955 or email info@districtenergy.com.

Welcome to New Customer Catholic Charities’ Opportunity Center

In October the newly-constructed Opportunity Center opened on Catholic Charities’ Dorothy Day campus across from Higher Ground (which opened in January 2017). The Opportunity Center helps to serve the homeless population in Saint Paul by providing 177 affordable apartments as well as a resource center. The facility is open daily and connects people to key services to improve their health, income, housing stability, and overall well-being.

District Energy is proud to be a project supporter and service partner providing heating, cooling, and snow melt services to this campus which is responding to a growing need in our community.

Improve Your Cooling Efficiency

Winter is a great time to optimize your cooling system. Increasing your energy efficiency can save you money on your energy use and impact your energy demand. The building’s contract demand is adjusted annually based on multiple peak one-hour energy consumption normalized for weather from June through September over the previous two 12-month periods. Your buildings energy demand may adjust up or down each year based on contract terms including a contract demand floor.
In addition to regular preventative maintenance, you can find advice on our website about improving cooling efficiency through tying into our meter, pre-cooling, and commissioning.

If you have questions about improving the cooling efficiency in your building, or if you would like additional assistance to get the most from your District Energy cooling connection, please contact our team at 651.297.8955 or email info@districtenergy.com.

Building Engineers Seminar

Operating Engineers Seminar
Operating Engineers Seminar

On October 30, we hosted our annual Operating Engineer Seminar, which offers us the opportunity to connect with our customers while they connect with each other. This year we hosted a guest speaker from TKDA’s Mechanical Group, Lon Fiedler, PE, Senior Engineer. Lon focused his presentation on HVAC equipment upgrades, retrofits, and replacements that align with efficiency best practices. For direct connect cooling customers, he also reviewed how to maintain ideal operating conditions when adding a heat exchanger and how this separation from the District Energy water pressure through a heat exchanger is beneficial for:

  • Pressure isolation: separation from an “infinite” 150 psi water source
  • Freeze protection: ability to use glycol to prevent costly coil damage from freeze-up

Thanks to our customers that joined us for the event. You can view the event presentation here. If you would like to learn more about your building’s energy services, contact our team at 651.297.8955 or email info@districtenergy.com.

Sponsoring Read Brave Saint Paul

Read Brave City of Saint PaulThis year District Energy is sponsoring the Read Brave program through Saint Paul Public Library. Read Brave is a reading program that revolves around a theme relevant to the city, and this year the theme is “Our Climate Crisis.” The program offers a suggested reading list for children and adults as well as coordinated events and discussions.

We are proud to sponsor this initiative in support of our local libraries and climate literacy in our community. Environmental stewardship and community partnership are core values for our organization and we look forward to being a part of these important conversations and learning opportunities.

To see the reading list and events, visit the Library’s website.

Day of Service on the Mississippi

Day of Service Saint Paul
Day of Service Saint Paul

In October, our team planted 120 trees in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. With the guidance of Audubon Minnesota, we helped to restore bird habitats within a national park and near the city. Audubon works to protect wildlife, natural places, clean air, and clean water. These areas are at increased risk due to increased development, invasive species, and climate change. They believe that what’s good for birds is good for all of us. Prior to our restoration efforts, invasive buckthorn had been removed from the area to make way for the variety of new trees that we planted.

This year we launched a Day of Service across all Ever-Green Energy locations in partnership with the National Audubon Society. Our colleagues in Duluth and Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, engaged in similar volunteer work through Audubon.

Ask the Engineers

Did you know that you can ask our engineers any question you have regarding your District Energy services? Our team is right down the street and ready to help you work through solutions for your building’s energy operations. We can provide you and your team with extra support when you are working on:

  • Energy efficiency projects
  • Energy trend analysis
  • Orientation of new building operators and managers
  • Replacing equipment
  • Building renovations
  • Changes to building programming
  • Solving heating and cooling issues

Our team of experts can offer insights on mechanical design, equipment selection, and operational best practices to maintain thermal comfort for your tenants and guests.
We have already answered some customer questions on the Ask the Engineer section of our website. We can also help you with any question you have, so please contact our team at 651.297.8955, email info@districtenergy.com, or with our Ask the Engineer form. Our team can meet with you to help you work through your questions, and we add the most frequently asked questions to our website.