TECO Named #1 District Energy System in 2019 World Competition

TECO receives system of the year award

The International District Energy Association named Thermal Energy Corporation (TECO) its district energy system of the year for 2019 at ceremonies June 26 in Pittsburgh. The annual award is the highest honor IDEA can confer on a system. It is an exciting win that gives even more meaning to the system’s 50th anniversary year. TECO provides chilled-water and steam to cool and heat buildings on the Texas Medical Center campus.

The award recognizes the system that demonstrates exemplary efficiency; outstanding performance in reliability, safety and environmental stewardship; and overall commitment to customer service excellence and industry engagement.

“TECO excelled in all eight of our evaluation categories,” says Robert Smith, award committee chair and vice president of RMF Engineering. “For example, TECO weathered Hurricane Harvey, providing uninterrupted service even when the area was deluged with 60-plus inches of rain, and it has logged 100% chilled water and steam service reliability over the past 26 years.”

This year’s competition drew a record number of entries from around the world. IDEA President and CEO Rob Thornton remarked that “TECO is a world-class organization with world-class people in charge.”

TECO Vice President of Operations Jason Berrio and Board Chairman Bradley Howell accepted the award on TECO’s behalf during ceremonies at IDEA’s 110th Annual Conference & Trade Show in Pittsburgh, Pa. Conference attendees came from 330 cities, 39 U.S. states, 400 companies and organizations, and 18 countries.

“It is a true honor to accept this award and be recognized by IDEA,” says Berrio. “I’m proud to stand here today to represent TECO’s 100-plus employees who share a common vision and who made these achievements possible. Our mission is very strong, supporting life-saving services on the Texas Medical Center campus.”

Howell represents the Texas Medical Center and has been TECO’s chairman since 2014. He shared background on the Texas Medical Center (TMC) – the world’s largest medical complex – and how TECO is vital to that life-saving mission. “TECO has the simple but daunting task to be perfect 100% of the time, providing chilled water and steam every minute of every day to mission-critical facilities,” says Howell. “Lives and invaluable research are at stake. It’s a zero-fail mission. You can imagine the sort of resiliency needed not just in systems but in character to make TECO’s system successful. TECO enables its customer institutions to do what they do best, which is to take care of people, educate people and make medical discoveries. This award serves as a great source of continued motivation and inspiration for TECO and, frankly, for the rest of the Texas Medical Center.”

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the district energy system that serves chilled water and steam to the TMC campus. Owned and operated by TECO since 1978, the system began under the ownership of Houston Natural Gas Company in 1969.

Today TECO operates the largest district cooling system in North America. Its combined-heat-and-power-based system pipes chilled water and steam to 22.7 million sq ft in 50 buildings in 16 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.

The International District Energy Association (IDEA) represents more than 2,400 members from more than 30 countries around the world and from across the district energy industry. IDEA members own, operate or provide technology and services to district energy systems that supply steam, hot water, chilled water and energy services to multiple buildings in cities, communities, campuses, airports, military bases, industry and healthcare facilities.

Photo caption: TECO receives IDEA’s 2019 district energy system of the year award. From left to right, TECO’s Steve Swinson, Ram Goonie, Kyle Fridley; Texas Medical Center’s Bradley Howell; TECO’s Jason Berrio; RMF Engineering’s Robert Smith; IDEA’s Rob Thornton; and TECO’s Mike Manoucheri and Jose Garcia. Photo Pure Light Images.

 
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