Case Study: New CHP System Lowers Energy Bill by 23 Percent
And installer receives $5,000 toward equipment
In the first two months of 2012, the electricity
and water heating costs at a Danbury, Conn., car wash serviced by local
energy-systems installer Norbert E.
Mitchell Co. fell by 23 percent - $2,368.29, to be exact - compared with
the same months from 2011. The installer achieved this dramatic energy cost
reduction by supplementing the customer's existing boiler unit with a
micro-combined heat and power (CHP) system. At this rate of savings, the
car-wash owners will recoup in just five or six years of continual operation
the roughly $45,000 they spent on the system.
And if the potential for
a fast payback from energy savings weren't reason enough for the Norbert E.
Mitchell Co. to recommend a CHP system, the company found an additional
incentive: $5,000 from the Propane Exceptional Product program.
the company decide that an innovative but still-emerging technology such as
CHP could become the centerpiece of a profitable and differentiating service
offering? The decision was built on research and partnership.
long known about CHPs in industrial settings," Mitch Mitchell, gas services
manager for Norbert E. Mitchell Co., says. "But it wasn't until Marathon came
up with [the Ecopower] that we saw a product that was a contender for the
residential and mixed-use marketplace. That's when we started a relationship
with Marathon, learning to service the units it had installed in our area and
becoming more comfortable about the technology and the manufacturer."
Once Mitchell and his service team became familiar with the Ecopower and
felt confident about the model's in-field performance, they committed the
company to becoming its exclusive regional dealer and installer. At the same
time, the sales and marketing team at Marathon told Mitchell about the Propane
Exceptional Product program.
"We heard about the program from our
Marathon rep," Mitchell says. "Once we knew the product was right and that the
manufacturer was [committed to this market], it was a no-brainer to apply for
the program rebate."
Indeed, the program is a fine fit for the Norbert
E. Mitchell Co. - and remodeling firms, builders, and owners willing to lead
the pack toward the mainstream adoption of promising, if unfamiliar, propane
technologies. The program provides financial incentives of up to $10,000
toward the purchase and use of innovative products such as CHPs, as long as
participants agree to meet requirements regarding system installation and
In addition to including Marathon's 2.7-kilowatt Ecopower
CHP, the program accepts the larger, 10-kilowatt Yanmar CP10WN, intended for
light commercial use. While this unit is new to the United States, a version of
it has been used in Japan and other Asian countries for more than 13 years,
George Woodcock, manager of Yanmar America Corp.'s Energy System Division,
"We've made some slight modifications to it to meet the U.S.
market and get EPA certification," Woodcock says, adding that it also has a UL
2200 listing for generator use. This means that it has undergone high-level UL
testing, an important consideration for municipalities and owners of commercial
Both units appear in the training video "Innovative Propane
Technologies: Micro-Combined Heat and Power."
For more information about
the Propane Exceptional Product program, including incentive amounts,
qualification requirements, and a list of eligible products, go to propaneexceptionalproduct.com.