Newcastle project wins CHP accolade
A housing development in Newcastle has won an award for the most efficient Combined Heat and Power (CHP) installation in the UK and the second best in Europe.
Housing company Places for People, one of the largest property management and development companies in the UK with around 60,000 properties, has won the prestigious DACHS Award for its outstanding contribution to the development of sustainable housing.
The award was presented by Baxi SenerTec, the manufacturer of the DACHS mini- CHP engines, which can deliver up to 450MW/h of electricity and 1,200 MW of usable heat at a combined efficiency of over 90%.
By generating electricity at or close to the point of use, CHP is a great alternative to conventional power stations, which are less than 35% efficient. Almost two thirds of all the energy created by power stations is lost in waste heat and during transmission to the user.
This was an important consideration for Places for People, which has adopted CHP as a key element of its strategy for providing sustainable and affordable energy for its tenants. Its Stanhope Street housing scheme in Newcastle, which was built in 1974, consists of 351 rented flats with a heating demand of 71,357 kilowatts a year.
The Dachs mini-CHP system is one of several low carbon energy sources the housing company has deployed, including solar panels, ground source heat pumps and wind turbines to offset the impact of rising fuel bills and to reduce its carbon footprint.
Derek Watters, Sustainable Development Manager at Places for People, says that his company has made sustainable design and living mainstream: “We seek to deliver efficient new build housing; improve the performance of existing homes; deliver new ways of generating power and energy and challenge people’s perceptions and attitudes as to how they consume electricity and gas.”
The DACHS unit provides all of the electrical requirements of Stanhope Street’s energy centre, operating the boilers, pumps and fans. So far, it has cut CO2 emissions from the site by 18%, which adds up to 8.1 tonnes a year.
“Because CHP systems make extensive use of the heat produced during the electricity generation process, they can achieve very high efficiencies at the point of use, and help to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions,” says Mr Watters.
The CHP has also made the residents happy by saving them hundreds of pounds on their energy bills at a time when energy costs are rising steadily.
“The system has cut energy use on the estate by an estimated 64%,” adds Mr Watters. “Weekly heating bills now average just £3.35 per dwelling.” The Stanhope Street development was rated the best performing CHP scheme in the UK and second in the whole of Europe by SenerTec. The system was originally specified by a local consulting engineer following a feasibility study.
“CHP is proving to be an increasingly popular choice with a wide range of clients this year,” says Baxi SenerTec’s UK Business Manager David Shaw. “It can play a pivotal role in getting planning permission and in helping developers comply with Part L of the Building Regulations. The Stanhope Street project shows what can be achieved in low carbon design if clients, designers and technology manufacturers work closely together and share a common vision.”