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Detroit Thermal Provides Steam Heat to Ford Field

October 24, 2012 By Linda Hardesty

Detroit Thermal, owner and operator of the district energy steam system throughout the greater downtown Detroit area, is supplying hot water heaters for Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. Detroit Thermal has replaced the stadium’s natural gas hot water heaters with three steam heat exchangers that will improve efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and meet expanding demands.

Ford Field removed and recycled the older gas water heaters trading them for smaller, more efficient steam heat exchangers that will produce hot water for the 65,000-seat sports and entertainment complex. The new system was up and running at the Lion’s game against the Minnesota Vikings Sept. 30.

The versatile steam exchangers heat water quickly when needed, rather than keeping large quantities of water hot all the time.

Detroit Thermal produces its steam through the city’s solid waste. Its sister company, Detroit Renewable Power, converts as much as 3,300 tons of solid waste a day into refuse-derived fuel that is used to create more than 700,000 pounds of steam per hour.

In other sports-related energy news, the Natural Resources Defense Council has implemented a Sports Greening Project, and published a Game Changer Report with case studies about energy-efficient stadiums.

The non-profit organization the Alliance to Save Energy, used the Game Changer Report to rank America’s top seven energy-efficient baseball stadiums as follows. The rankings are based on the number of energy-efficient features as well as the US Green Building Council’s LEED certification:

  1. Marlins Park: Miami Marlins. The stadium’s LEED Gold rating is partly attributable to its energy-efficient building envelope.
  2. Target Field: Minnesota Twins. In 2011 the venue got upgrades to equipment, lighting and HVAC, reducing electricity use by more than 12 percent.
  3. Nationals Park: Washington Nationals. Its energy-efficient lighting uses 20 percent less energy than average field lighting.
  4. AT&T Park: San Francisco Giants. Lighting retrofits include replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs throughout the park and installing motion-sensor lighting.
  5. Safeco Field: Seattle Mariners. The franchise reduced natural gas use by 60 percent and electricity use by 30 percent.
  6. Miller Park: Milwaukee Brewers. The stadium has gotten upgrades to HVAC systems, electrical lighting, and power systems.
  7. Busch Stadium: St. Louis Cardinals. More than 1,000 traditional spotlights and floodlights were replaced with LED lamps.


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