Cooling, Heating, and Power (CHP) systems are a form of distributed generation that can provide electricity while recovering waste heat to be used for space and water heating, and for space cooling by means of an absorption chiller. CHP systems improve the overall thermal energy efficiency of a building, while reducing energy consumption. Since energy conservation has implications on energy resources and environment, CHP systems energy performance should be evaluated based on building primary energy consumption. Primary energy consumption includes the energy consumed at the building itself (site energy) plus the energy used to generate, transmit, and distribute the site energy. The objective of this investigation is to determine the effect of the power generation unit (PGU) size on the energy performance of CHP systems. Since CHP systems energy performance varies with the building energy profiles, in this study the same building is evaluated for three different cities with different climate conditions. This paper includes simulation results for the cases when a CHP system operates with and without a primary energy strategy. Results show that for any PGU size energy savings are guaranteed only when the primary energy strategy is applied. Since CHP system energy performance depends on the building energy use profiles, which depend on climate conditions and other factors such as building characteristic and operation, each case requires a particular analysis in order to define the optimum size of the power generation unit.

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