Co-generation, the reuse of energy to power systems, has been around for a while in a variety of forms and uses, notes Ira Meister, president and CEO, Matthew Adam Properties, Inc. It has gained increased interest in the past decade with the expansion of efforts to reduce global warming, enactment of stricter government regulations and the desire to control skyrocketing energy costs in larger buildings.
Matthew Adam Properties, a leader in bringing “Green” initiatives to the properties the company manage, has instituted a program to evaluate the installation of co-generation in several buildings, Meister says. It has been working with Tecogen, a leader in the field of co-generation. The company is currently performing financial feasibility studies at several buildings. Initial findings indicate Tecogen’s natural gas system can reduce carbon emissions and costs.
“While still in the preliminary stage, the study indicates we can reduce a building’s electric bill by 50 percent, in addition to savings in heating water,” Meister says.
The Tecogen system (called CHP, “combine heat and power”) generates electricity using a natural gas-fueled engine, which immediately reduces electrical consumption. Natural gas is cleaner and more efficient than oil and a less costly energy than oil or steam.
In co-generation, the “waste” heat produced by the natural gas-fueled engine is recovered and replaces fuel used to operate the water heaters and boilers. The “waste” heat can be used in conjunction with an absorption chiller to convert the heat into cooling and relieves the chillers (typically electric powered) of providing much of the site’s air conditioning.
“When Tecogen completes its study, we will have a better understanding of the benefits of installing co-generation and help us determine which buildings would benefit,” Meister says. “We, at Matthew Adam Properties, believe that co-generation can help us resolve several issues we confront as managing agents – improving services, reducing costs and adapting ‘Green’ initiatives.”
Meister says the co-generation program is part of Matthew Adam’s overall program to use innovative thinking and a professional approach to provide quality management for the buildings in our portfolio. The “Green” efforts are spearheaded by our Sustainability Division headed by Kendra Stensven. Kendra is LEED certified, making Matthew Adam Properties one of the few, if not the only, management company with a LEED certified person heading a “Green” division