Creating Heat and Light

January/February 2005
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2005 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 01, 2005
A Canadian program tests the efficiency and future potential of residential combined heat and power systems at its residential building test center.
        Combined heat and power systems (CHP), which jointly produce heat and electricity from a single fuel source, can be up to 90% efficient, compared with conventional U.S. power production, which converts only 35% of fuel energy into delivered electricity. The rest of the fuel energy is normally lost in the form of heat. By using this heat to produce space heat and hot water,CHPs can decrease energy costs and increase fuel use efficiency.         Currently, CHP units in the United States are used almost exclusively for commercial and industrial buildings.However, there is tremendous potential for using this technology in residences as well. Recently, the Department of Energy (DOE) assembled a team of appliance industry leaders to develop a CHP system to provide more reliable and less costly energy for residential use. Projects like this show that residential CHP systems are a likely reality in the future of home heating and power. Advancing the Home CHP Cause         CHP isn’t just a future reality—residential systems already exist. One such system for individual residences was recently tested through a joint effort ...

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