Cogeneration is also known as Combined Heat and Power, or CHP, and is a highly-efficient grouping of technologies that uses fossil or renewable fuels to supply energy locally. There is a growing awareness that the sustainability of CHP is an ideal fit for the hospitality industry.
Energy efficiency is a top priority in the hospitality industry, seeing as it ranks in the top five for carbon emissions. The hospitality industry spends almost $4 billion a year on energy. Due to the low cost of natural gas and the steadily-increasing cost of electricity, CHP and hotels are a match made in heaven. Since hotels have a high demand for energy and CHP carries the ability to efficiently use heat generated from these systems, the combination makes sense.
CHP provides hotels with a reliable source of energy 24/7, ensuring guests are comfortable and safe. CHP does this by producing simultaneous heat and power all day, every day. CHP can easily integrate into existing heating and electrical systems, and can be designed to operate and continue to provide power should there be a utility outage.
While CHP increases efficiency and reliability, it also improves environmental performance. The power and heat produced by CHP on-site offsets the purchase of electricity and fuel for boilers. Those same reductions reduce the environmental impact of hotels by reducing air pollution via reduced fuel consumption.
Potential customers have also increased their awareness of their green credentials. Evidence has been growing that travelers are choosing their hotel accommodations based on the green credentials they are being offered by the hotel to host them. Guests look for hotels that are green, convenient, and economical. With CHP, hotels are able to reduce their carbon footprint, drastically reduce their energy costs, and increase sustainability, while simultaneously enticing prospective green-guests to stay at their hotel.
CHP technologies have also become more reliable, remaining fairly inexpensive and generating efficiency. The technologies are flexible and offer a wide range of sizing options based on the needs of the hotel. CHP is typically designed to match the thermal demand of the hotel and will usually provide 50 to 70 percent of the electricity needs of the facility.
There are at least 16 hotels in the United States that are already using CHP systems to meet their energy needs. Many of those systems were installed in the 1980s and are continuing to operate efficiently and reliably, atoning to their long-term benefits.