WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing four facilities with the Energy Star Combined Heat and Power Award for the superior performance of their CHP systems. High-efficiency CHP technology reduces emissions of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants by capturing the heat produced during electricity generation, which would otherwise be wasted, and using it to provide zero-emission space heating, cooling, hot water and steam for commercial, institutional and industrial use.
“Today’s award winners demonstrate how CHP can save money and reduce pollution—a real win-win for the bottom line and the environment,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Onsite power generation, like CHP, can also strengthen our nation’s electrical infrastructure.”
Three of the award-winning CHP systems are located at medical centers where energy efficiency is a key strategy to control the cost of healthcare. The fourth award-winning CHP system is located at an Army National Guard facility where mission support helicopters are housed and maintained.
EPA presented the awards recently at the New York State Energy Research and Development On-Site Power Conference & Expo. The following facilities were recognized:
Maine Army National Guard; Bangor, Maine
South Oaks Hospital; Amityville, New York
University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center; Bel Air, Maryland
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Campus; Worcester, Massachusetts
These CHP systems achieved operating efficiencies of 70-75 percent, much higher than the efficiency of separate production of electricity and thermal energy, which is typically less than 50 percent. Based on this comparison, the CHP systems avoid pollution equal to that from the generation of electricity used by more than 3,800 homes. The four systems together save an estimated $4 million annually.
CHP systems designed with the ability to disconnect from the grid and operate independently enable a facility’s operations to continue during power blackouts and other electric grid supply failures such as during disruptive storms. For the three medical centers recognized, CHP means that patient care can continue uninterrupted and vital assets such as medical research facilities are safeguarded.
In addition, two of the CHP systems honored— South Oaks Hospital and Maine Army National Guard — work together with onsite solar photovoltaic systems to further reduce the facilities’ electricity bills and carbon footprint.
EPA’s CHP partnership seeks to reduce the environmental impact of power generation by promoting the cost-effective use of CHP. The partnership works closely with energy users, the CHP industry, state and local governments and other clean energy stakeholders to facilitate the development of new CHP projects.
EPA recognizes CHP systems that have demonstrated superior performance, specifically systems that use at least 10 percent less fuel than state-of-the-art separate heat and power generation; are affiliated with one or more EPA CHP partners; have a minimum of 12 months and 5,000 hours of measured operating data beginning within 14 months prior to the date of application and are operating within applicable permitted emission limits. The percentage fuel savings (and emissions avoided) are different for each awardee.