Downtown Kansas City’s “District Energy” headquarters has announced a new initiative to showcase their commitment to sustainability that will also create a four-acre redevelopment opportunity in the River Market.
Veolia has announced it will eliminate coal from its River Market plant by the end of 2016 in efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and lead the way in sustainable business practices.
By December 31, coal will be eliminated from its 4-acre riverfront property at 1st and Grand near the last streetcar stop. Once that happens, Veolia will look to redevelop that land.
“Ideally, we would love to partner with a developer to construct a building that meets the gold standard of excellence in sustainability, which is what the mission of district energy is all about.,” said Matt DiGeronimo, general manager of Veolia and a former nuclear submarine officer for the U.S. Army.
“Increasing sustainability in a system that has contributed to Kansas City efficiency since the early 1900s should significantly improve air quality in the city and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James said. “Redevelopment of land in the River Market neighborhood will further enhance a booming area and boost the impact of KC Streetcar.”
Veolia’s “District Energy” heating and cooling processed has been endorsed by the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP) as the most sustainable way to heat and cool cities. District energy is the production and distribution of energy produced at a central plant and distributed to the community through an underground piping network that reduces costs while improving redundancy and reliability. District energy can produce up to 80 percent efficiency compared to conventional power sources.
A recent report by UNEP states that eliminating poverty and social inequality requires a move to sustainable energy, as does the fight against climate change, which raises the stakes for the adoption of district energy systems.
“District energy is the best and most economical method to reduce carbon emissions in a metropolitan area such as Kansas City,” stated DiGeronimo. “We are net zero electric energy and zero waste to landfill. Not bad for a system of energy distribution that’s been around longer than instant coffee, crossword puzzles and zippers. Sometimes there’s no school quite like the old school.”
The Veolia pipeline runs in a loop throughout downtown Kansas City. Efficiencies come immediately with district energy systems in the form of reduced capital costs and improvements in reliability and reduction in carbon footprints. The construction of Veolia’s steam delivery allows developers to use any of the most modern heating and cooling systems in their building.
The City of Kansas City has been using district energy since 1905. More recently, those who have joined the Veolia district energy sustainability pipeline are customers like the Sprint Center, the Marriott, and Bartle Hall. DeGeronimo envisions Veolia partnering with the City and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce to become a “champion city” for district energy under the City Energy Project.