Sunday, January 25, 2015

Another Hot Thing in Saint Paul

In the posting below I wrote about the Winter Carnival and other things happening in Saint Paul -- things that happen even in what most people in other places find to be cold, cold weather by their standards. When I was in graduate school -- at a time my children and grandchildren call the dark ages -- I had a friend who had lived his whole life in Los Angeles before coming to Minnesota for grad school. One night at dinner he looked at the rest of us in all seriousness and said, "Surely you don't go outdoors when the temperature goes below 32 (0 degrees C)!" Boy! did we laugh! And he found we did go outdoors in the winter.

I have noticed solar panels on the Xcel Center and River Center for sometime, but only today did I learn that the River Center solar panels represent the largest hot water solar heating system in North America.

Altogether there are 144 panels. They provide the energy for the hot water needed for cooking in the restaurants in River Center, as well as hot water for the restrooms and hot water as needed for cleaning. Any left over hot water is routed to the nearby District Heating System.

The District Heating System has pipes that connect through most downtown Saint Paul buildings, saving each of them from having to have individual system. In the winter hot water flows through the system and in the summer cold water flows through the system. The energy for this system comes from solar, wood, and biomass. 

So there -- another hot thing in Saint Paul. 

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