BCHP Screening Tool

The BCHP Screening Tool is a computer program for assessing the savings potential of combined cooling, heating, and power (CHP) systems for commercial or institutional buildings, that was developed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA [1]. Two versions have been completed, with releases in 2003 and 2007, and the second version can be downloaded for free from [1]: it has been downloaded already over 2,000 times. The training period for BCHP varies substantially depending on previous experience: for a person familiar with the DOE-2.1 simulation program that is used within BCHP, it would take approximately two days to complete a basic analysis, otherwise it would take approximately 7 days. To move from a basic analysis to an advanced analysis would take approximately 1-2 weeks.

The BCHP Screening Tool is specifically designed for a single-project investigation for commercial buildings, although commercial campuses can be handled by experts. It consists of databases for HVAC equipment, electric generators, thermal-storage systems, prototypical commercial-buildings, climate data, and electric and gas utility rates. The program also includes the simulation program DOE-2.1e discussed above to calculate heating, cooling, and electrical loads. The tool is structured to perform parametric analyses between a baseline building, typically a conventional building without a CHP system, and up to 25 alternative scenarios with varying selections for building mechanical systems and operating schedules. Economic calculations are also performed, but the life-cycle economic parameters and the utility rate schedules have not been kept current and may be out of date. All economic data is from 2003 and requires escalation to the present. Economic analyses should be preformed separately to allow all economic factors to be handled correctly. Input is via an extensive template with drop-down boxes and data base links. Extensive output is provided, including hourly data for multiple parameters over a 1-year period if desired.

The BCHP Screening Tool has mainly been used for informal publications to US federal agencies to date. As it is focused on single-project investigations within the commercial and institutional sector, it does not model large sections of the electricity, heat or transport sectors. Therefore, it has not been used to simulate 100% renewable penetrations for these.


  1. Whole-Building & Community Integration Program, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 26th May 2009,http://www.coolingheatingpower.org/about/bchp-screening-tool.php