Cogeneration Picks Up Steam in CRE

By District Energy posted 06-25-2020 16:50


Commercial Property Executive


Cogeneration, or combined heating and power (CHP), now represents 35 percent of capacity in non-traditional markets that include commercial real estate and industrial properties, according to Richard Sweetser, president of Herndon, Va.-based Exergy Partners.

In mid-June, Sweetser and others delivered a presentation at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Show that highlights a groundbreaking CHP e-catalog allowing owners and engineers to easily pre-screen their buildings for potential CHP plant installation. CHP produces electricity and useful thermal energy (heating and/or cooling) from a single source of energy, usually natural gas.

According to Sweetser, who served as the lead on the Department of Energy’s Packaged CHP e-Catalog and Accelerator Program, the catalog—which is based on NYSERDA’s earlier work—reduces cost, risk and lead time for CHP projects. The e-catalog offers a list of packagers, whose job is to assemble and support recognized package systems; solutions providers, who can be packagers but who also are installers and commissioners of package systems; and customer engagement partners, or utilities or government entities that have programs to promote CHP.

Robert Thornton, president & CEO of Westborough, Mass.-based International District Energy Association, noted that there has been a slight surge in CHP since Super Storm Sandy in 2012, during which 21 million people were left without power—including seniors trapped on upper floors of high-rises because power outages left elevators grounded.

“A combination of weather, aging utility grid, greater dependence on utilities has resulted in a lot of property owners looking for technologies to enhance greater resiliency so they have stronger business continuity,”  Thornton said. “CHP makes sense where there is a matching or combined need for heat and power.”

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