New Rapid Fire Boilers Provide Clean Steam to Philadelphians

March 20, 2013

Emissions from energy use make up 85% of Penn's carbon footprint, according to Facilities & Real Estate Services Executive Director of Operations & Maintenance Ken Ogawa. Using clean steam helps the University lower its carbon emissions, and move towards its Climate Action Plan goals.

Now, thanks to an arrangement with Veolia Energy, all systems on campus that require thermal energy - heat, hot water, lab equipment, humidifiers - receive steam from Veolia's generation plant in nearby Grays Ferry. This totals about half of Penn's energy usage; electricity for lighting, air conditioning, and equipment makes up the other half.

Using this public utility as the source of steam for the campus and Penn's hospital system meets our green commitment in a couple of ways, explained Mr. Ogawa. "Veolia's newly upgraded rapid-fire natural gas boilers allowed the company to decommission the old, inefficient fuel-oil boilers." He pointed out that these new boilers reduced the carbon footprint for all steam users in Philadelphia by approximately ten percent. "Steam has become a much cleaner fuel source for all of their customers, including Penn, because of these new systems," Mr. Ogawa said. By working with this vendor, Penn is using cleaner energy, in addition to the University's initiatives to reduce energy overall. Read more about green steam in thisPhiladelphia Inquirer article.


2013 marks the fifth year in a row that Penn has received the Tree Campus USA® designation, awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Share a Story

Do you have a sustainability story to share with the campus? Want to hear more about a specific topic or project?
Send us an email
and we'll consider the content for inclusion on the website or in a future e-newsletter.