Note from our Team
I hope everyone is enjoying the slow change from fall to winter and soaking up the last few weeks before the colder weather and snow settle in. The cooler weather also means your building has likely changed modes as well. We have included the annual maintenance check list in this newsletter to help you prepare your building for the heating season. Please reach out if you have questions.
We are also preparing for the heating season. As the construction season winds down, our team will finish up a few distribution network repairs and maintenance projects. These summer projects help to keep our system running reliably throughout the year. We have also added a couple new customers this summer. We welcome the Ball Corporation and Rift Valley Transportation to the system. We have also been working on the first phase of an improved energy production monitoring system. Enhanced production monitoring will provide additional data to continue to improve system efficiency. These upgrades are an important step in both short-term improvements and in helping us work toward our bigger goal of carbon neutrality.
In customer service and engineering, we have been supporting customer building projects this summer. Our new tools including the Energy Efficiency Program and the Customer Portal help to support this work. We have reached out to all of the customer buildings with an invitation to register for the Customer Portal. If you would like to join the platform, please contact our team for additional details.
Our team is excited to announce that starting in October, District Energy will be providing cooling customers with carbon-neutral cooling. Customers have made clear through conversations and responses to our annual customer survey, that renewable energy and decarbonization are increasingly important to their organizations. Our new carbon-neutral cooling supports current system customers and can also attract new customers to the system which is a benefit for all customers.
In other good news, this year District Energy provided a rebate to cooling customers in the amount of $200,000. This rebate is in addition to $195,000 in fuel adjustment cost reductions to the base energy charge this fiscal year. Our cost per ton hour in fiscal year 2021 was 10% less than it was 5 years ago. Savings over the last several years are a direct result of our efforts to continue to optimize our systems to save money and energy, while also making the system more reliable.
As always, please reach out if you have any questions or need any support. We are just down the street and ready to help 651-297-8955 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Carbon-Neutral Cooling Services
District Energy has announced that going forward, we are committed to providing carbon-neutral cooling to our cooling customers. Carbon-neutral cooling will be part of existing cooling services, the previously approved rate structure, and the board approved budget. We are doing this by partnering with Minnesota-based Juhl Energy to purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) from renewable energy projects located in Minnesota and Wisconsin. With the removal of the steam absorption chillers a few years ago, the District Energy cooling system is 100% electrified. The RECs mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity used to deliver chilled water to customer buildings.
District Energy’s cooling system efficiency gains have made this agreement possible. Over the last several years, energy and financial savings have resulted from our continuous efforts to improve system efficiency through customer building optimizations, plant dispatching protocols, optimizing 6.7 million gallons of thermal storage, and strategic equipment investments.
Last year District Energy announced a carbon neutrality goal by 2050 along with a goal of 7% carbon reduction year over year. As our customers increasingly prioritize carbon reduction, the REC agreement is a step to support their priorities as we continue to consider energy sources, fuels, and technology to decarbonize the system. We are working with Xcel on an electrification project to further decarbonize heating services. District Energy provides up to 50% carbon-neutral heating through biomass-fired combined heat and power.
To hear what our customers and community partners have to say and to learning more, check out the press release.
Prepare Your Building for Heating Season
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. Extreme cold can worsen existing issues in your mechanical system, and well-maintained building systems will help your operations to navigate through the coldest days of winter. 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.
Register for the New Customer Portal
The District Energy Customer Portal is now available to all customers. We have completed testing to make sure that the system is working well. Now, representatives from all connected buildings are invited to sign up.
The Customer Portal provides customers with quick access to their energy usage and account details. The energy data is available in various time increments, from 15-minute to monthly intervals, and is updated each morning for the day prior. The platform provides customers with charting and comparison tools to help them analyze their energy trends and key temperature information. The Customer Portal also provides a simplified data transfer to Energy Star to meet the City’s benchmarking requirement.
Please reach out to the District Energy team for registration information at 651-297-8955 or email@example.com
Operating Engineers Seminar to Focus on Portal
This fall, the annual Operating Engineers Seminar will focus on the new District Energy Customer Portal. We want to make sure that your team is registered for the platform and knows how to use the building data trends to optimizing building operations.
The seminar will be held virtually on November 18th from 10:00 – 11:00 am CST with an additional 30-minute block of time allotted for discussion and questions. A formal invitation has been sent to customers and we encourage you to RSVP and ensure you are registered in the platform prior to the event.
Please RSVP to Madalyn Johnson by November 15, 2021, at Madalyn.firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-925-8129.
Accepting Applications for Energy Efficiency Program
District Energy is making it easier for customers to apply for engineering and financial support for their energy efficiency projects. An energy efficiency program application is available on our website. Customer project support will be determined on a rolling basis, as resources allow. Customers can contact the District Energy team with questions at 651-297-8955 or email@example.com
Welcome Jordan Debol
The District Energy customer service team welcomed a new member earlier this year. Jordan Debol is our Business Analyst, and he brings a great combination of analytical and customer service skills to our team.
Jordan has been supporting customers in helping to monitor and analyze their energy data, responding to customer inquiries and requests, and supporting customers as they learn the tools in the new Customer Portal. He said, “I really enjoy being a part of the District Energy team as I get to see firsthand the impact we can have on helping our customers more efficiently utilize their energy, benefiting them, the system, and the environment.”
Prior to joining Ever-Green, Jordan worked for World Kinect Energy Services where he worked with commercial and industrial customers helping them manage their natural gas and electric energy use. He also supported Kinect’s renewable natural gas business acting as the account manager for that line of business. Jordan has a BS in statistics with minors in mathematics and management from the University of Minnesota, where he served as the men’s hockey team’s student manager for four years.
Tom Anderson: 35 Years and Counting
In 1986, Tom Anderson was studying electronics and was recruited by District Energy to work on the metering for their newly-installed hot water district energy system. The system has changed a great deal since those early days, with metering advancements, efficiency improvements, and the integration of renewable energy. Tom has been a constant for the team, adapting to the evolving technology, and being a familiar face to our customers.
Metering technology has undergone incredible advancements during Tom’s tenure. Our system has gone from manual meter readings at one data point per hour to metering that constantly streams real-time data from customer buildings back to our offices. Tom used to spend three days visiting customer buildings to read meters each month.
Throughout his time with the organization, Tom has helped the system improve, understanding both the technical requirements of the system and the customer needs and experience. In the early days, he developed the technology that protects the system from interruptions due to lightning strikes. Today, Tom works with customers to set up new meters and fiber, answer questions, and to facilitate connecting District Energy meter data points into customer building automation systems. He also works across teams to make sure that the meter data is flowing to the right systems for reports, billing, and analysis. Tom’s knowledge has been instrumental to our metering transformation.
Tom said, “It has been interesting to see our system grow and change along with Saint Paul. Despite all of the change, working with our team and our customers is still the best part of the job.”
Feature in Impact Report
District Energy is operated and managed by its affiliate Ever-Green Energy. Published in July, Ever-Green’s corporate social responsibility report “2020 Impact Report” highlights the system’s accomplishments from the year including carbon emissions data. To learn more, view the District Energy section of the report on the Ever-Green website.
We Are Hiring
Ever-Green Energy has a few job openings. Our team believes that this is a great place to work. Please share our job postings with your family and friends.