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The integration of cogeneration systems in residential and mixed-use communities has the potential of reducing their energy demand and harmful emissions and can thus play asignificant role in increasing their environmental sustainability. This study investigated the impact of selected planning and architectural design parameters on the environmental and economic performances of centralized cogeneration systems integrated into residential communities in U.S.cold climates. Parameters investigated include: 1) density, 2) use mix, 3) street configuration, 4) housing typology, 5) envelope and building systems’ efficiencies, and 6) passive solar energyutilization. The study integrated several simulation tools into a procedure to assess the impact of each design parameter on the cogeneration system performance. This assessment procedure included: developing a base-line model representing typical design characteristics of U.S. residential communities; assessing the cogeneration system’s performance within this model using three performance indicators: percentage of reduction in primary energy use, percentage of reduction in CO2 emissions; and internal rate of return; assessing the impact of each parameter on the system performance through developing 46 design variations of the base-line model representing potential changes in each parameter and calculating the three indicators for each variation; and finally, using a multi-attribute decision analysis methodology to evaluate the relative impact of each parameter on the cogeneration system performance. The study results show that planning parameters had a higher impact on the cogeneration system performance than architectural ones. Also, a significant correlation was found between design characteristics identified as favorable for the cogeneration system performance and those of sustainable residential communities. These include high densities, high use mix, interconnected street networks, and mixing of housing typologies. This indicates a higher potential for integrating cogeneration systems in sustainable communities.
Keywords: cogeneration; residential & mixed use communities; energy efficiency; district heating
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