The Wave – October 2020

Note from our Team

Winter weather seems to have come early for Saint Paul this year. We have already had snow accumulation and freezing over-night lows. While this is early, many buildings in downtown have been in heating mode for a few weeks. As you make your seasonal transition, please remember that the District Energy St. Paul team is here to help you get the most out of your connection to the system. We want to help you as you manage your heating and process cooling needs throughout the winter. Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

System start up is a time when issues may present themselves. Being extra vigilant during this period can help you identify those issues before they become a larger problem and potentially result in higher energy costs. Something as simple as new or irregular noises coming from the system can be a sign that a component is not working as it should. Another tell-tale indicator of a potential problem is heat not arriving to areas of the building that are calling for it or the inability for the system to properly heat the entire building. Finally, making sure the building automation system is operating properly and monitoring the system for abnormalities can be key to getting ahead of early season issues.

If your building is not occupied or partially occupied, you may be able to save money by lowering zone temperature set points. For more details on care of a low or no occupancy building, read our Ask the Engineer post featuring Nalco. Additionally, if you are considering taking in a higher percentage of outside air please contact our team to consult and assist with review of that impact.

We are working on our regular fall activities of planned maintenance on the cogeneration system and wrapping up our distribution system projects. In all of our work, our team members remain vigilant by following the CDC recommendations of COVID. We want to continue to do our part to keep our neighbors warm and healthy.

Steve Rambeck
Director of Business Development

Annual Building System Maintenance

As you start up your heating system, it is a good time to run through some maintenance items. Scheduled and preventative maintenance can keep your building systems running efficiently, extend equipment life, and help to avoid unexpected downtime and costly repairs. The District Energy team has developed a list of recommendations to help keep your heating system running smoothly. These steps can be incorporated into the maintenance program for your building. For personnel safety and to protect equipment, maintenance tasks should be performed by qualified and trained individuals.

Operating Engineers Seminar Goes Online

Operating Engineers Seminar
Operating Engineers Seminar

The annual Operating Engineers Seminar will be held online later this year. More details will be sent to you directly by email. If you have questions about your system operation, please consult our Ask the Engineer information. If you do not see the answers you are looking for, your team can submit your question or reach out to our team for assistance.

 

Welcome New Customers

We would like to welcome Bio-Techne to the District Energy system. Located in the former Molex copper plant on Empire Drive, the company produces lab proteins for research, clinical trials, and other materials needed in cell and gene therapies. Bio-techne was started in Minnesota in 1976 working first in hematology controls and calibrators for use in hospitals and clinics before shifting into biomedical research in 1985. The company has headquarters in Minneapolis and operations around the world. District Energy will be providing space heating and domestic hot water for the facility. Learn more about the company’s growth in Saint Paul in a Pioneer Press article.

Degree on Cedar
Degree on Cedar

Congratulations to Madison Equities for their recent conversion of the Degree of Honor building from commercial office space to multi-family residential. The renamed Degree on Cedar is located at Cedar and Fourth and offers studio, one-bedroom, and 2-bedroom apartments with great views of the Mississippi River and downtown Saint Paul. The building has been on the system since 1983, and District Energy will continue to provide heating and cooling services.

 

New Snow Melt Service to Jemne Building

Snow melt services
Snow melt

Just in time for our first snow, District Energy is finishing up a snow melt project at our office building on St. Peter Street. As many of our customers have learned snow melt eliminates the hassle, expense, and risk of manual snow removal. It also eliminates the use of chemicals and salts that are harmful to the watershed and corrosive to sidewalks and buildings. Snow removal chemicals not only damage building facades, but also find their way into buildings harming carpet and flooring.

Snow melt systems can be built into any pavement application including sidewalks, streets, stairs, and parking lots. The system can be set up to turn on automatically when the outdoor temperature and humidity indicate that it is snowing. Utilizing low temperature hot water allows for the incorporation of a wide variety of low-grade energy sources such as the building’s waste heat or District Energy’s return water.

Walkways that are snow, ice, and salt-free increases the comfort and confidence of building owners and their customers while reducing the risk of slip and falls. Snow melt will reduce risks for our guests, employees, and protect our historic building. If you would like to learn how a snow melt system could be incorporated into your building system, contact District Energy about snow melt services.

Additional News and Resources

Links to news and information that might be of interest to your organization.

COVID-19 Response Resources from ASHRAE and Others

BOMA Market Report
Annual data on commercial space including square footage, occupancy rates, absorption, and rental rates.

“Smith, Drew, Vogel: Diversity, equity and inclusion: Change starts at the top”
Pioneer Press opinion article with contribution from Ken Smith, President and CEO of District Energy St. Paul and Board Chair of the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ever-Green Energy webinar on energy system transformation
Rao Konidena and Ken Smith offered their perspectives on the emerging energy trends.