Veolia Energy Upgrades Grand Rapids District Energy System to Increase Energy Efficiency

06/23/09  • Energy

Local project will provide economic and environmental benefits to Grand Rapids, including local jobs and a more efficient system with a reduced carbon footprint

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 23, 2009 – Veolia Energy North America, a leading provider of sustainable energy services and facility operations and management solutions, announced today that the company has awarded a design/build contract to Progressive AE to upgrade Veolia Energy’s Grand Rapids district energy (heating and cooling) system. Based in Grand Rapids, Progressive AE will design and install a cutting-edge condensing heat exchanger, which is a sophisticated heat recovery technology that will reduce the volume of fuel consumed by at least 5 percent. This major upgrade will ensure competitive steam rates for customers served by the Grand Rapids district energy facility, while lowering the cost per pound of steam produced and reducing its overall carbon footprint. The reduction in carbon dioxide will be approximately equivalent to the emissions of 1,000 cars.

Scheduled to be completed by November 2009, the project will be implemented using local subcontractors and will employ nearly 25 local workers during various periods of construction. Williams & Works, another local engineering firm, will serve as Owners' Representative for the project.

"The City applauds Veolia Energy for its continued commitment to Grand Rapids," said Mayor George Heartwell. "In just six months since it purchased the County's steam system, Veolia Energy has made significant efficiency upgrades that have helped Grand Rapids become a more sustainable community while investing in local businesses and workers."

"We are very pleased to be awarded this contract and commend Veolia Energy for making these system upgrades," said Bradley H. Thomas, P.E., President and CEO of Progressive AE. "With over 40 years of architecture, engineering and construction experience on local and national projects, we understand the importance of this project and share Veolia Energy's commitment to ensuring the long-term viability of this system, which is a vital resource for more than 125 customers in downtown Grand Rapids."

Since the acquisition of the Kent County District Heating and Cooling system in December 2008, Veolia Energy has undertaken a systematic implementation process to increase the efficiency of the operations. The installation of the condensing heat exchanger is just one of several planned upgrades, which will also include re-insulating piping in manholes to reduce heat loss and reducing distribution system leaks. In addition, Veolia Energy will replace the old low pressure distribution system, which constitutes about one quarter of the total distribution system, with a high pressure system over the next three years.

"We are dedicated to identifying and implementing improvements to our system that will benefit the community of Grand Rapids," said Keith Oldewurtel, Vice President and General Manager of Veolia Energy Grand Rapids LLC. "In addition to improving the system's overall efficiency, these upgrades demonstrate our dedication to spurring economic development by making the system more sustainable, and delivering low costs to our customers in the process."

District energy plays an integral role in Grand Rapids' infrastructure, where Veolia Energy serves approximately 125 commercial, government, institutional and healthcare customers. The centrally-produced thermal energy is distributed to customers in the Central Business District along 4 miles of high pressure and 1.5 miles of low pressure steam pipes.

About Veolia Energy North America
A subsidiary of Veolia Environnement, the world's leading environmental services company, Veolia Energy focuses on controlling energy costs and reducing carbon footprints through energy-efficient, custom solutions. Solutions encompass the production and distribution of highly-reliable thermal energy; on-site operation of customers' complex equipment to enhance the technical, economic and environmental performance; combined heat and power generation (cogeneration); and the introduction of renewable fuels into the energy mix where it is viable. Veolia Energy serves customers throughout the Continental USA, with a national reach and capability, and owns and operates the largest portfolio of district energy (heating and cooling) networks in the United States. With approximately 335,000 employees globally, Veolia Environnement reported revenue of $50 billion in 2008.

About Progressive Architects and Engineers
Progressive AE is a full-service, award-winning design firm and knowledge leader in the field of sustainability for the natural and built environment. Our architects, engineers, and consultants create innovative solutions and tangible value. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan for more than 45 years, we have architects and engineers licensed and practicing in 48 states.

Veolia Energy North America - Rowan Sanders
Tel : 617-849-6656
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