WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recognizing three universities with its Energy Star Combined Heat and Power (CHP) awards for generating power and thermal energy while saving energy, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and decreasing air pollution. EPA says that CHP, also known as cogeneration, is 50 percent more energy efficient than producing heat and power separately.

According to EPA, the University of Missouri-Columbia, University of California, San Diego, and Fairfield University CHP systems are reaching operating efficiencies ranging from 55 percent to 75 percent compared to conventional fossil-fueled power plants, which are only about 30 percent efficient. This efficiency increase translates into energy savings, greenhouse gas reductions, and a favorable return on investment when the costs of installing and operating a CHP system are compared to the costs of purchased power and thermal energy.

CHP is the simultaneous production of electricity and heat from a single fuel source, such as natural gas, biomass, biogas, coal, waste heat or oil. CHP is not a single technology, but an integrated energy system that can be modified depending upon the needs of the energy user.

The CHP Partnership, established in 2001, is a voluntary program encouraging the use of CHP to reduce the environmental impact of power generation. The partnership works closely with energy users, the CHP industry, state and local governments, and other energy stakeholders to facilitate the development of new projects and to promote energy, environmental, and economic benefits.

For more information about the CHP Partnership, visit www.epa.gov/chp/.

Publication date:06/28/2010