Steam System Balancing and Tuning for Multifamily Residential Buildings in Chicagoland - Second Year of Data Collection

Stacey Rothgeb, Stacey Rothgeb (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


Steam heated buildings often suffer from uneven heating as a result of poor control of the amount of steam entering each radiator. In order to satisfy the heating load to the coldest units, other units are overheated. As a result, some tenants complain of being too hot and open their windows in the middle of winter, while others complain of being too cold and are compelled to use supplementalheat sources. Building on previous research, CNT Energy identified 10 test buildings in Chicago and conducted a study to identify best practices for the methodology, typical costs, and energy savings associated with steam system balancing. A package of common steam balancing measures was assembled and data were collected on the buildings before and after these retrofits were installed toinvestigate the process, challenges, and the cost effectiveness of improving steam systems through improved venting and control systems. The test buildings that received venting upgrades and new control systems showed 10.2% savings on their natural gas heating load, with a simple payback of 5.1 years. The methodologies for and findings from this study are presented in detail in this report. Thisreport has been updated from a version published in August 2012 to include natural gas usage information from the 2012 heating season and updated natural gas savings calculations.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages54
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Partnership for Advanced Residential Retrofit (PARR), Chicago, Illinois

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-60003

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102013-4238


  • Building America
  • main line vent
  • multifamily buildings
  • Parr
  • radiator
  • radiator vent
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • steam boilers
  • steam headers
  • steam risers
  • steam system balancing
  • steam system tuning
  • steam systems
  • temperature distribution
  • tenant comfort


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