Lessons Learned from Monitoring and Re-Commissioning New York State’s Portfolio of CHP Systems

Combined heat and power (CHP) systems, or cogeneration, provide on-site electric power and thermal energy from a single system, eliminating waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Conventional power plants use fuel to generate electricity but reject waste heat into the atmosphere. In contrast, CHP systems recover that waste heat and use it for industrial processes, to heat domestic hot water, and provide space heating and cooling.
This Research & Technology Forum featured fleet-level results for several CHP systems that have been installed under NYSERDA‘s CHP program. Specifically, Hugh Henderson, Principal Consultant at Frontier Energy, outlined the types of performance issues that have been found at specific sites, and shows how performance-monitoring and re-commissioning efforts have helped these CHP installations achieve their expected potential.


Hugh Henderson
Principal Consultant, Frontier Energy
Mr. Henderson is a Principal Consultant at Frontier Energy with more than 30 years of experience evaluating energy technologies through on-site evaluation, field monitoring, and energy simulations. His areas of expertise include innovative HVAC systems, CHP, industrial processes, and heat recovery. Mr. Henderson holds both Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Agricultural (Mechanical) Engineering from Cornell University. He is a professional engineer in Florida and New York State. He is an active member in several ASHRAE society-level committees.

Faculty Fellows Research: Using Virtual Reality for Data Simulation

Syracuse University Professors Melissa Green and Amber Bartosh are collaborating on a project that attempts to use virtual reality software to create immersive data visualizations for architecture and engineering purposes.

Project Developing a platform to communicate quantified data using a virtual reality (VR)-enabled immersive and interactive environment.

Amber Bartosh

Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

See a list of Professor Amber Bartosh’s published research


Melissa Green

Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

See a list of Professor Melissa Green’s published research

We see alignments between what we’re trying to do in terms of data visualization. It’s not that crazy a pairing when you think about it from that standpoint.AMBER BARTOSH

Intellectual Collision Bartosh is an architect who uses virtual reality to visualize things like energy flows around people in a building. Green, a mechanical and aerospace engineer, seeks to use the same technology to visualize fluid flows, such as around fins in water. “We see alignments between what we’re trying to do in terms of data visualization,” says Bartosh. “It’s not that crazy a pairing when you think about it from that standpoint.”

Nuts and Bolts Advancements in digital modeling tools have dramatically increased the amount of spatial data relating to fluid dynamics flow visualization, and building energy systems. However, the two-dimensional systems typically used to represent this data usually oversimplify complex three-dimensional conditions. With initial funding from SyracuseCoE as part of the Faculty Fellows Program, followed by a CUSE Innovation Grant from Syracuse University, Bartosh and Green are working to make links among traditional architecture, engineering software, and virtual reality software to create immersive data visualizations.

Challenges It’s a difficult process. While it’s easy to represent a building visually, it’s more challenging to show how a building is going to perform in terms of thermal control or daylighting. “Those things are more difficult to convey because we’re not used to seeing that data in 3-D,” says Bartosh. “We can measure it and record it in charts or spreadsheets, but what we’re trying to do is bring that into this virtual environment, feeling like you’re walking through the real space with the temporal qualities specifically related to energy and flow that we are trying to visualize.”

Real-World Collaboration Bartosh is using projects from SyracuseCoE Partner firm Ashley McGraw Architects as test cases for data visualization methods to see if they help with communication. In turn, Ashley McGraw has integrated VR into its practice after seeing how the technology was being used by architecture faculty working at the SyracuseCoE Interactive Design and Visualization Lab (IDVL).

SyracuseCoE Impact Bartosh and Green are both SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows working out of labs at SyracuseCoE headquarters. Green directs the Flow Visualization Lab, while Bartosh works out of the IDVL. SyracuseCoE funding allowed for the purchase of VR equipment used for their current project. “The space and resources we have here are fundamental to what we do,” Bartosh says.

Bottom Line The collaboration is an attempt to make data visualization a more streamlined process for each of their own labs and, ultimately, a feasible product transferable to other STEM and design disciplines.