WASHINGTON, DC - Burns & McDonnell, based in Kansas City, MO, has been selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) to pioneer development of the first generation of Building Cooling, Heating and Power (BCHP) systems.

Burns & McDonnell has partnered with Solar Turbines Inc. and Broad USA, and has been awarded a $3 million contract to design and construct a prototype BCHP system.

BCHP systems integrate onsite power generation heating, cooling, and humidity equipment to meet energy needs in commercial, institutional, and multifamily buildings. The goal of such systems is to reduce the demand of energy by increasing the energy efficiency of buildings, and at the same time reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

BCHP systems can also provide building owners with protection from power outages and high electricity rates because the energy will be created onsite. The DOE is hoping that by sponsoring BCHP systems, they will become the preferred method of energy in buildings by 2020.

The prototype that will be developed by the three companies will use natural gas-fired turbine in combination with absorption chillers to provide electricity, cooling, heating, and hot water. A key feature of the system is the utilization of the waste heat product by the operation of the turbine.