It is possible to generate multiple types of energy at once from one resource or within a single production process.
When thermal and electrical or mechanical energy are generated through a chemical or physical process simultaneously, this is referred to as cogeneration or a combined heat and power (CHP) system. CHP systems thereby manage to recover the heat produced as a by-product of an electricity generation process and allow this thermal energy to be used in the form of heating or transformed into cooling agents (the latter usually with the help of an absorption refrigerator). In cases where the thermal energy generated in this manner is used for both heating and cooling, this process is called trigeneration or combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP).
Trigeneration is the most efficient way of producing and using energy, while a cogeneration system still outperforms any process in which excess heat is not used at all. The efficiency of the energy generation system is therefore maximised by minimising the amount of waste energy. Generally, these technology options can be applied anywhere, in factories, private housing or other buildings.