About the Central Heating Plant

Construction began on January 2, 1933, and was completed in January 1934, when the finished heating plant, with its state of the art machinery and equipment, was put into operation. The plant originally produced steam for federal government buildings in Washington, including the White House, the Federal Triangle office buildings, and many other buildings between First and Twenty-seventh Streets along the National Mall. The total cost of the plant and its equipment was approximately $4,000,000.00. 

The Central Heating Plant ranks among the noteworthy structures of early 20th century Washington—a direct and forceful example of functional planning and design. Constructed in the Industrial Art Deco Style, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

How Does the Plant Function?

GSA's Heating Operation and Transmission Division (HOTD)  has embarked on a program of innovative technology initiatives for efficient and effective operation of the plant in the 21st century.  These include a co-generation project, in which gas-fired turbines were installed to generate electricity and produce steam at the same time, thus providing a more efficient conversion of fuel to usable energy.  

Simultaneously, high-efficiency chillers were installed to produce chilled water with the electricity generated by the turbines.  Improvements in the HOTD metering system have also been made to provide customers with the most accurate billing possible.  This includes a Web browser system allowing customers to view their meter data in real time, on-line via the Internet, and use this information to improve energy performance of their buildings and thus meet energy policy goals.

Last Reviewed 2016-06-30