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Combined Heat & Power (CHP)

Propane CHP systems produce both heat and electricity at peak efficiency, and they can also provide backup power.

On average, the power grid in the United States is only 30 percent efficient. This fact, combined with an increasing demand for more environmentally friendly energy sources, has inspired many construction professionals to turn to combined heat and power (CHP) sources for their projects.

CHP systems both provide heat and generate electricity with higher efficiency and lower emissions levels than conventional heating and grid-supplied power. CHP eliminates transmission and distribution losses associated with purchasing electricity via the central grid, and recovered waste heat is used to meet a facility's space-heating, water-heating, and cooling needs. As a result, CHP systems can operate at 70 percent to 80 percent (electric and thermal) efficiency.

The CHP Opportunity Calculator


Calculating the payback period for investments in CHP can be a complicated task, with variables such as fuel costs, incentives, and existing heating systems affecting energy savings and cash flow.

To simplify the process, we've assembled a CHP Opportunity Calculator that helps you identify the economic viability of CHP in your projects. Just enter the parameters and costs for your specific project, and the downloadable spreadsheet will determine your total project cost, annual energy and cost savings, and even CO2 emissions reductions.

 

Download the calculator

 


Commercial CHP systems

CHP systems have been in use in large-scale industrial, commercial, and institutional applications for decades. In commercial settings, CHP systems can greatly improve energy efficiency when compared with traditional systems. These systems are most effective in buildings with significant and steady thermal demands, which could include heavy domestic hot water needs (e.g., hotels, hospitals, and car washes), swimming pool heating, or space heating through a hydronic system. CHP systems can be ideal for retrofit situations when existing water heating equipment needs replacement, electric rates are increasing, or on-site power generation is an increasing priority. Most CHP systems can be used for standby power during grid-based power outages.


Watch a video case study of two CHP applications.

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According to the EPA, CHP units could be utilized in 10,000 of the current 48,000 hotels in the United States, with nearly 1,000 of those hotels experiencing a return on investment in five years or less. Because of their year-round hot water loads for laundry, pool heating, guest rooms, radiant heating, and more, hospitality buildings are an ideal candidate to utilize CHP.

Propane CHP incentives

Financial incentives for CHP systems are available for construction professionals and their clients. For instance, the Propane Heat and Power Incentive Program provides incentives of up to $10,000 toward the purchase and use of combined heat and power (CHP) systems. To improve your return on investment even further, learn more about propane rebates and incentives.

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