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We need more CHP, say experts

Sustainability experts called for increased use of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) during the recent Sustainability Live exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham.

Representatives from M&E Sustainability said it was a “national scandal” that so much energy was being wasted by large central power stations. “More than two-thirds of the electricity generated by power stations is wasted,” said Mike Malina, founder of Energy Solutions Associates.

“By the time you factor in poor energy efficiency in buildings, British consumers are receiving about 20p-worth of usable electricity for every £1 they pay to the generators.

“We should be using far more CHP to produce electricity at the point of use to avoid the massive transmission losses from central generation and to capture and use the waste heat that is simply thrown away by power stations.”

The seminar, chaired by HVCA head of communications Jack McDavid, debated the growing problem of end users receiving “poor advice and inappropriate technologies” for their projects.

“There are a lot of exaggerated claims being made about the performance of some renewable technologies,” said David Frise, former chairman of M&E Sustainability. “The people who promote and champion these technologies must be challenged and forced to prove their claims.”

M&E Sustainability is calling on the Government to support a wide programme of awareness training so end users get a better understanding of the issues. It supports the creation of an “energy hierarchy” in which basic energy-efficiency measures are taken to reduce demand before building users consider applying renewable or low-carbon technologies.

“We are seeing increasing interest in mini-CHP this year,” said David Shaw of manufacturer Baxi-SenerTec. “Changing legislation and dramatically rising fuel costs seem to be concentrating minds.

'The beauty of CHP is that it ticks a lot of boxes by generating electricity at the point of use, capturing waste heat to provide low carbon space and water heating, while also helping developers and end users meet the requirements of Part L of the Building Regulations.”