In 2019 Thermal Energy Corporation (TECO) celebrated the 50th anniversary of its district energy system that serves the Texas Medical Center (TMC) campus, the largest medical city in the world. The chilled-water and steam system – owned and operated by TECO since 1978 – began under the ownership of Houston Natural Gas Company in 1969.
Today TECO’s combined-heat-and-power-based system pipes chilled water and steam to 24.3 million sq ft in 51 buildings in 17 different institutions. Customers use TECO’s chilled water for space cooling, cold rooms and refrigeration and TECO’s steam to meet space heating, dehumidification, humidification, sterilization, kitchen, sanitary and research requirements.

As the largest district cooling system in North America since it completed a major expansion in 2011, TECO produces chilled water and steam at two interconnected plants housing 27 chillers and nine boilers. 

The not-for-profit company is known for reliability, resiliency, energy efficiency, environmental stewardship and being the energy behind what’s next on the Texas Medical Center campus.

Reliable. TECO logged 100% system reliability – no unplanned outages – for 29 years, from 1992-2021.

Resilient. TECO’s dedicated storm ride-out team kept chilled water and steam running without interruption during record-setting Hurricane Harvey, which dropped nearly 60 inches of rain in 2017.

Energy efficient. TECO has a combined heat and power unit that is 72% efficient, more than twice that of a traditional power plant. High efficiency allowed TECO to rebate customers a total of $55.2 million between 2011 and 2020.

Environmentally sound. Increased system efficiency has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 42,000 tons annually compared to pre-CHP operation.

To learn more about TECO, view and download its recent annual reports.

Cooling and heating pacesetting institutions at the Texas Medical Center

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