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New York City is powered by very expensive steam

 
If you've walked down the streets of New York City, you've seen the iconic New York City steam cone. You see it in TV shows, movies, magazines. And yet, most people walk by this thing and have no idea what it is. So what is this thing, and why is it about to cost 40 percent more to live and work in New York City because of it? 
 
New York City's steam system is not only the largest city steam system, it's bigger than all of the other city steam systems in the United States combined. And not only is it big, it's also the oldest and first city steam system in the country.
 
Back then, buildings and homes were heated by burning logs of wood. Not only were those incredibly laborious to keep going 24x7, they were also insanely dirty. Every building would be pouring soot all over the city's streets and onto people. It was gross.
 
So when the New York City Steam Company was invented and offered super clean steam piped directly in your building, with no labor, no soot, and no space being taken up to store that coal or wood, it was a radical innovation.

As more and more buildings were built throughout the 1900s, they were built without a central heating system, only heated by city steam. This was a wonderful way of heating buildings for many, many years.
 
So what's the problem?
 
Well, first, heating buildings on site has become a lot more efficient with gas burning boilers.
 
And second, more importantly, all of that city steam is centrally generated.
 
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What that means is that that steam has to travel hundreds of miles underground before it gets to buildings. Along the way, it not only loses heat, it also springs leaks. That leaking steam and all of that heat that's lost on the way has to be paid for, and it's paid for by the buildings that use that steam.

In fact, today, steam is amongst the most expensive ways to heat and cool buildings.
 
So why is this about to become a much bigger problem?
 
For the first time in over a decade, ConEdison just announced they're going to increase the price of city steam by almost 40%. That is going to destroy building budgets. 

So what are we going to do about this? Well, the best answer is smart technology.
 
Right now, most city steam buildings have a valve that controls how much steam is going into the building. That valve is usually opened or closed solely by a sensor that monitors the outdoor temperature. Because the indoor temperature isn't taken into consideration when opening or closing the valve, most buildings are paying for steam 24x7x365 completely unnecessarily.
 
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The great news is smart technology can much more precisely control that valve using indoor temperatures. So buildings can use a lot less steam and save a lot of money.
 
In fact, in most buildings, smart technology can reduce the steam heating bills by between 10 to 30 percent, enough to almost cover the cost increase from ConEd.

So what's hotter and steamier than 400 degree steam? Not paying 40 percent more on your energy bills. And thanks to smart technology, that's possible today.