By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The steam that heats hundreds of Philadelphia buildings is “greener” these days.

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Today, Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter cut the ribbon on two clean-burning, rapid-response boilers at Veolia Energy’s co-generation plant, in the Grays Ferry section of the city.

The new boilers produce steam using clean-burning natural gas instead of high-sulfur fuel oil.

Veolia VP Mike Smedley (second from left in photo) says the boilers power a vast underground network.

“Here in Philadelphia, we’ve got over 41 miles of steam pipeline underground that most folks don’t see every day.  Our steam is heating over 500 buildings in downtown Philadelphia,” he notes, including the University of Pennsylvania, Veolia’s biggest customer.

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Mayor Nutter says this fuel changeover reduces the city’s carbon footprint.

“This represents a two-percent reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions citywide,” the mayor said today.  “These are real numbers with real impact.”

And Smedley says that since natural gas is cheaper than fuel oil, customers should see their bills go down as well.


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