Energy network optimization (ENO) models identify new strategies for designing, installing, and controlling stationary combined heat and power (CHP) fuel cell systems (FCSs) with the goals of 1) minimizing electricity and heating costs for building owners and 2) reducing emissions of the primary greenhouse gas (GHG) — carbon dioxide (CO2). A goal of this work is to employ relatively inexpensive simulation studies to discover more financially and environmentally effective approaches for installing CHP FCSs. ENO models quantify the impact of different choices made by power generation operators, FCS manufacturers, building owners, and governments with respect to two primary goals — energy cost savings for building owners and CO2 emission reductions. These types of models are crucial for identifying cost and CO2 optima for particular installations. Optimal strategies change with varying economic and environmental conditions, FCS performance, the characteristics of building demand for electricity and heat, and many other factors. ENO models evaluate both “business-as-usual” and novel FCS operating strategies. For the scenarios examined here, relative to a base case of no FCSs installed, model results indicate that novel strategies could reduce building energy costs by 25% and CO2 emissions by 80%. Part I of II articles discusses model assumptions and methodology. Part II of II articles illustrates model results for a university campus town and generalizes these results for diverse communities.

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