27 Sep 2016
The latest data from our combined heat and power (CHP) installation at Regent's Place shows how investment in energy efficient technology can deliver real value for end users.
When we were developing 10-30 Brock Street, The Triton Building and 175 Drummond Street, we incorporated a CHP-led energy centre to supply the new offices and homes. CHP is a technology that simultaneously generates electricity and heat. It harnesses the heat produced as electricity is generated, which would normally be wasted, and instead uses it to heat water. It works particularly well on mixed use schemes where there’s year-round demand for domestic hot water, like this area of Regent's Place.
We opted for CHP at Regent's Place's because this low carbon solution would deliver good value for occupiers and residents, fits with our sustainability goals and supports Camden Council’s target to cut borough-wide emissions by 40% by 2020.
The high efficiency, CHP-led energy centre was a key appeal for some of the commercial firms moving to Regent's Place, who were keen to see the plant go operational as soon as possible. The results have exceeded expectations, with the latest data showing a net annual saving of £30,830, reducing costs by 40% for occupiers and residents compared to traditional boilers, as well as cutting carbon.
Our sustainability team quite often gets asked about technical aspects of CHP and whether it’s hard to manage. This is where I’m pleased to hand over to Broadgate Estates, our property management partner, which runs the plant on a day-to-day basis.
Phil Draper, Senior Technical and Sustainability Manager at Broadgate Estates: “We’re delighted with the savings being delivered by the CHP at Regent's Place. Yes, the plant is more complicated to manage than traditional boilers but in the right scheme it’s worth the effort. It’s important that the building team has a good understanding of the plant. We’ve heard of schemes where CHP was put in to fulfil planning agreements and then switched off because it was seen as too complicated or simply not viable.
“Broadgate Estates has got a lot of experience managing complex systems to provide a smooth experience for building users. The Regent's Place CHP took a bit longer to get fully operational than we wanted due to an initial issue with a valve, but we’ve addressed this now. We’ve also introduced an hydraulic separation between the CHP and the main heating system to improve efficiency. Most heating systems that connect to CHP operate at the output temperature set by the CHP, generally 85°C, which is higher than needed and results in greater heat loss throughout the system. At Regent's Place, we are able to operate the heating system at a temperature suitable to the demands of the buildings rather than at the CHP output temperature.
“We’ve also found a way around one of the technical aspects that can put people off CHP – that it needs an engine rebuild each five years. At Regent's Place, we’ve combined this rebuild into our maintenance contract, spreading the cost over five years to make bills more consistent for occupiers and residents. We also deduct all maintenance costs from any quoted savings to give a true picture of the financial benefits of the CHP for occupiers and residents.
“Generally, CHP is an underutilised solution largely because it’s perceived as expensive, as the upfront costs are higher than standard boilers. However, in our experience, it can work out very well because occupiers and residents benefit from lower energy bills for years. In addition, a number of CHP suppliers now offer lease arrangements for CHP, which reduces that initial cost, spreading it over a longer period.
“Building on the Regent's Place experience, we’re now looking at retrofitting CHP to some existing schemes where there’s year-round demand for hot water.”
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