How to save energy with CHP

23 August 2013
How to save energy with CHP

A combined heat and power system can provide huge benefits to your business

Hotel and catering companies use a significant amount of energy and also have a particularly high requirement for heat. For that reason, they can suit combined heat and power (CHP) systems, which have the potential to lower energy bills and offer further green benefits.

CHP systems generate electricity on site while also capturing heat produced in the process, which is re-used to provide energy savings. But while many understand the benefits that CHP systems can provide, the capital costs have often been prohibitive for those seeking to adopt the technology. So these systems have traditionally been seen as the reserve of those with the capital resources to invest in the equipment and the technical expertise to ensure a return on the investment.

However, new delivery models and smart financial arrangements are helping companies harness the benefits of CHP without capital investment or risk. Instead of charging customers for installation of the equipment, CHP providers have realised they can achieve greater market penetration and overall adoption of the technology by providing solutions to customers that provide the savings promised from day one, in a way that is as easy to understand as possible.

These solutions take the form of agreements whereby the CHP provider installs and maintains the CHP system without charge to the customer. Taking responsibility for all testing, maintenance and repair, the CHP provider then buys the gas used by the system. They then sell the electricity and heating to the customer at a price that provides the immediate savings on energy bills.

Paul Hamblyn, managing director, EuroSite Power

Five tips for CHP success

1 Choose a solution, not a system
A good solution provider should match the solution to the heat load not the electrical load. Equipment manufacturers interested in selling units may be tempted to sell you the "largest box" but a solution provider with a stake in the savings will ensure the unit runs efficiently, thus maximising the benefits.

2 Green benefits are for you, too
CHP systems are a cleaner energy option, offering considerable environmental benefits when compared with electricity from the grid and conventional boiler systems. Recognised as a low-carbon technology, CHP can significantly reduce CO2 emissions, which in turn can reduce the impact of taxes such as the Climate Change Levy and the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme. Your provider should be able to advise on how you can ensure you make the most of these green benefits.

3 Tell your accountant
Just as there are balance sheet benefits of leasing rather than buying IT and other business equipment, the same can apply to choosing CHP as a solution rather than a capital investment. Keep your accountant informed and they should be able to advise you of further financial advantages or implications.

4 Do your research
If you choose a CHP solution, the agreement will usually last about 15 years. It's a long-term relationship, so do your research. Get a shortlist of suppliers and make sure the one you choose ticks all the right boxes in terms of the type of solution offered, expertise in your industry and also in technology itself.

5 Experience counts
Choose a provider with proven experience in the hotel sector. The supplier needs to understand how CHP technology works and how it is best applied to the 
needs of a catering or hotel establishment to provide the very best savings.

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