In the push for alternative energy solutions in regular homes, Combined Heat and Power (CHP) has become an area of much interest. In the domestic setting CHP, or “MicroCHP” combines onsite electricity and heat generation (your boiler). The MicroCHP which has a traditional Natural Gas connection, combines the functions of an electrical generator, and a boiler, to generate electricity and hot water. This works well as generators generally create waste heat, but in a CHP format, this heat is used to heat water. The efficiency gained by combining the two functions is significant, usually providing 37% electricity and 45% hot water in relation to the gas imputed. This combined efficiency of 82% is a large improvement on traditional means (55% – 62%).
The electricity generated by the MicroCHP is then used in your house to reduce the amount of electricity you buy from grid. The
So… do they work? Well its like this. In a normal house you have the heating switch on when you need the heat, and that’s it. When you have a Micro CHP, the situation is similar, it switches on when you need heat, but that is the only time that you will be getting electricity from it. So if you have the heating switch on in the morning, then at that time you’ll be getting cheap electricity, but you may not really need that electricity.
Larger CHPs are common in hotels, swimming pools, hospitals, and industry. In these places they aim to have the CHPs operating for over 4000hrs a year (about half the time). In your house, it is unlikely that you would have it on for more that 1000hrs a year.
My verdict… draft proof your windows…