The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized three facilities with the Energy Star Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Award for superior performance of their CHP systems.
The three 2015 award winners demonstrate how CHP can partner with district energy systems to reduce pollutant emissions from electricity generation. District energy systems produce steam, hot water and chilled water at a central plant, which are piped underground to individual buildings for space heating, hot water heating and air conditioning.
Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, installed its CHP system to achieve the goal of eliminating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The system provides space heating and hot water heating for 56 buildings totaling 1.4 million square feet. Bowdoin College reports they save $138,000 a year with their system.
Pepco Energy Systems in Atlantic City, NJ, uses the heat from electricity generation at its Midtown Thermal Control Center to provide space heating and cooling to buildings through an energy system that serves Atlantic City’s tourist district. The system also supplies efficiently produced electricity to the grid, with fewer emissions of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants than conventional grid-supplied electricity.
CHP is instrumental to the sustainability strategy of Thermal Energy Corporation (TECO) in Houston, Texas, which seeks to reduce emissions and ensure continuous heating and cooling to the Texas Medical Center’s 19.3-million-sq-foot medical complex. TECO reports savings of $6-$12 million annually.
These CHP systems achieved operating efficiencies of 68 to 86 percent, much higher than the efficiency of separate production of electricity and thermal energy (typically less than 50 percent).