Three industrial facilities received the Energy Star Combined Heat and Power Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their highly efficient CHP systems. According to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the companies receiving the award reduced their combined energy costs by more than $54 million annually.

Combined heat and power (CHP) energy production systems decrease energy costs and reduce carbon emissions. CHP systems used by the award winners achieve operating efficiencies of between 62 and 78 percent. According to the EPA, this is much higher than the efficiency of conventional production of electricity and thermal energy, which can be less than 50 percent.

Companies honored by the EPA were Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn., and pharmaceutical companies Janssen R&D LLC in Spring House, Pa., and Merck of West Point, Pa.

CHP is suited for many industrial facilities as it provides reliable electricity and heat for manufacturing processes, including the production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. CHP is ideally suited for plants where energy can be a significant portion of operating costs. By generating electricity on site, the systems also reduce demands on the nation’s electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure.

EPA presented the awards at the Energy Star industrial partner and focus meetings in Washington, D.C.