As commercial building on-site power generation technologies mature to the point of becoming “off-the-shelf” products, the importance of effective heat recovery is demonstrated time and time again in applications where three to six year paybacks typically are necessary to convince building owners to purchase and install these new technologies. This paper explores the effectiveness and economic benefit of different methods of utilizing recoverable heat from on-site power generation equipment in commercial buildings (Cooling, Heating and Power systems – CHP). An optimal configuration of heat recovery options is explored based on analysis of heat recovery from microturbine(s) exhaust to support commercial building heating and cooling/dehumidification needs. Benefits of recovering heat for space heating/domestic hot water production and to support desiccant dehumidification vs. absorption cooling are studied in five different building types (large supermarket, large retail store, medium size office building, full service restaurant and quick service restaurant). Buildings are evaluated at four different geographical locations, allowing additional study of the climatic conditions on the optimum heat recovery system configuration for specific building types. A sophisticated model, incorporating performance algorithms of state-of-the-art power generation, dehumidification and absorption cooling equipment, is used for calculating annual energy/cost savings for CHP systems and optimization of basic parameters, such as generator size/number and heat recovery equipment selection.

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