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District Heating Reduces Carbon Footprint

InnovaMass® 241S Multivariable Vortex Mass Flow Meter

District heating is a system for distributing heat generated from a centralized location for residential and commercial heating requirements. The heat is often obtained from a cogeneration plant that burns fossil fuels, but increasingly these plants are transitioning to biomass. According to recent research, district heating is one of the cheapest methods of reducing carbon on the planet and has one of the lowest carbon footprints of all fossil fuel generation plants.

Traditionally, many campuses, universities, hospitals, and corporations have estimated steam flow by measuring condensate or using turbine meters. In this era of rising energy costs, accurate steam usage data is critical to control costs. Facility managers have long known that the condensate method lacks accuracy and turbine meters fall short in a number of ways.


With the capability of measuring five flow parameters with one process connection and calculating true mass flow directly with integral temperature and pressure sensors, Sierra’s InnovaMass® vortex meters provide an optimal solution.

Sierra was the first to invent a multivariable mass vortex flow meter in the late 1990's. By capturing over 80% of the district energy market worldwide in the last decade, Sierra’s InnovaMass has become the “steam meter” for industry. As a member of the International District Energy Association (IDEA), Sierra has also played a leading role in improving district energy technology.

The InnovaMass installation at the University of Toledo is an example of one of thousands of successful applications. The University has installed eleven InnovaMass meters throughout the UT campus. With the InnovaMass, the University of Toledo is now able to effectively measure the total steam output from its central steam plant and sub-meter the amount of steam to each building. Operators at the University of Toledo report that the Innova-Mass has been responsible for substantial savings of both energy and maintenance costs.

Here’s what makes Sierra’s InnovaMass an ideal choice:

  • Insertion available for economical installation on large pipe sizes up to 72”
  • Direct measurement of five process variables (pressure, temperature, mass flow, volumetric flow, density)
  • 30:1 turndown range for accurate flow measurement at low and high flows
  • Fully field-configurable
  • Loop powered and onboard diagnostics
  • No moving parts to clog