Solar, Wind, CHP
The Railroad Bridge along the Cape Cod Canal in Southeastern Massachusetts stands as an iconic reminder of American ingenuity and a benchmark for travelers to the summer destination peninsula.
While that landmark has stood for more than 75 years, travelers have become used to another towering presence at the western-most point of the canal; the 242-foot tall wind turbine on the campus of Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
The maritime academy utilizes wind power as part of an overall “green” strategy for the campus that includes solar panels, and Combined Heat and Power.
“I have had potential clients ask which technology is best for their building; solar, wind, or CHP” said Dale Desmarais, Director of Sales and Marketing for Aegis Energy, EDF Group “It really depends on your building. But sometimes the answer can be ‘all of the above’.”
Buildings with a high electric load but with very little need for hot water (an office building perhaps) could be a fit for solar if there are open space options on a rooftop or nearby. That same building may not have the necessary space but a steady flow of high wind makes a rooftop wind unit a good fit.
A building that has that same high electric load and a high and relatively steady hot water load, like a college campus, large residential complex, nursing home, or assisted living facility, could prove to be a good fit for Combined Heat and Power.
At a time when electrical rates continue to rise and reliance on “the grid” has become an angst-inducing proposition, more and more facility managers and business owners are looking toward distributed energy solutions.
Founded in 1985, Aegis Energy, EDF Group is a full service Combined Heat and Power developer that manufactures and installs modular systems to reduce both energy costs and emissions. Combined Heat and Power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, is an efficient, clean, and reliable technology, which simultaneously generates electricity and thermal energy from a single fuel source.
Aegis employs Energy Analysts to determine if CHP is the right fit for a property that is looking to reduce emissions and energy costs. In some cases, Combined Heat and Power serves as the centerpiece of that goal. In other instances, it serves as a complement.
As an example, Aegis worked with Saybrook Point Inn and Spa in early 2012 to develop a CHP solution to the establishment’s energy needs. Saybrook Point Inn and Spa is an AAA 4-Diamond resort in Old Saybrook, Connecticut that was an early adapter in the “green lodging” community, utilizing eco-smart thermostats, solar panels, and electric vehicle charging stations.
Old Saybrook has realized over $110,000 in annual energy savings from its CHP system and serves as a prime example of a facility that utilizes multiple distributed energy options.
“There are an increasing number of choices available and property managers and owners can struggle with determining what is right for their building,” said Desmarais. “It’s important to realize that options are available. You aren’t necessarily limited to choosing between solar, wind, and CHP. Sometimes you can utilize all three.”