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University of Pennsylvania Enhances Steam System Redundancy

March 28, 2022

The University of Pennsylvania recently completed construction of a redundant steam distribution pipeline, improving reliability, safety and performance for the campus-wide heating system.

A high-efficiency district energy system connects Vicinity Energy’s Philadelphia steam-generation plant to the university through multiple access points. To bolster steam-supply redundancy and to enhance building comfort, Burns provided mechanical design and construction administration for a new parallel supply line.

Burns incorporated the 16-inch, high-pressure steam pipe within a highly congested network of underground utility lines, interfacing with several interconnected steam services, all while accommodating the steam system’s critical pitch and slope requirements.

During construction, the pipeline passed in front of Penn Museum. Temporary steam supply preserved the institute’s historical antiquities. Following construction, streetscape restorations returned the museum’s 120-year-old courtyard entrance to original conditions.

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