A step-by-step guide to finding the CHP system your customers need.
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems differ from organisation to organisation. Very few of your clients will have exactly the same needs, so it will be rare to specify the exact same system more than once. Taking a cookie cutter approach to specification could impact on the long-term success of the project. The return on investment is likely to be significantly lower than a custom-specified CHP system.
So what do you need to consider when specifying a custom CHP system for your clients?
The first step in any CHP project is to define if it is actually suitable for the site in question. Although most businesses will benefit from CHP, others will not. You will also need to define the size of the CHP system required for optimum financial and environmental benefits.
An energy audit will be essential to identifying the right technologies and capacity. For projects that require retrofitting of a CHP system, you must obtain accurate electricity and heating consumption data. Contact the relevant energy supplier, or install temporary monitoring equipment, to obtain half hourly readings. For new builds, obtain a best-estimate based on the available Building Information Modelling (BIM) data supplied by the project manager. This consumption data is used to create energy profiles and the heat-to-power ratio.
With consumption requirements calculated, you must then move on to other environmental considerations.
Make sure you keep asking questions until you have a complete understanding of the site and energy requirements.
Off-the-shelf CHP systems can be supplied as a complete factory-tested solution – including the heat recovery equipment. But for more complex deployments, or those requiring integration with existing systems will require special consideration.
First assess the physical constraints of where the CHP will be installed.
You must also carefully consider interconnection with other utilities, particularly the primary fuel supply (natural gas, biofuel etc) and the building’s electrical, heating and cooling systems, as well as a connection for remote monitoring.
Before making any system recommendation, you must check whether the appropriate permissions are in place.
Ultimately, much of your client’s CHP purchasing decision will be decided on price. You must be able to provide an accurate project cost, and an estimate of ongoing maintenance costs too. This can then be offset against the longer-term cost savings expected from the new CHP system.
Finally, you should outline the benefits and incentives that may be available to your customers. CHP projects often qualify for funding or tax relief. Make sure that your proposal references all applicable schemes and how they are claimed.
The CHP specification process can be complex. If done correctly, your client will be ready to purchase a combined heat and power unit that meets their energy needs today and tomorrow.
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