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Cold as Ice: How Downtown Chicago Keeps Cool

March 11, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

By Matt Baker

Chicago has ice in its veins.

In truth, it’s not ice but 34° water coursing beneath the surface of downtown Chicago. One long stretch runs up LaSalle, another down Dearborn. A search of Lower Columbus might reveal pipes suspended over one’s head. Feeding this network, tucked away in different corners of the city, cooling plants deliver on-demand chilled water. Thermal Chicago is the company behind this district cooling network, and they may be one of the city’s best-kept energy secrets.
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