Integrating Energy Efficiency and Demand Response
Keywords: demand response, energy efficiency
Abstract:Although demand response (DR) and energy efficiency (EE) fall under the same demand-side umbrella, few utility programs ever seek to actively promote both DR and EE. Research has shown, however, that there is a clear link between DR and EE, and that both approaches to demand-side management can work hand-in-hand to generate substantial value. For instance, DR can often be a gateway to greater energy efficiency, because it increases customers’ awareness of their energy usage. In addition, DR and EE can actually share the same technological platform – particularly with activities such as Monitoring Based Commissioning (MBCx) – thus maximizing the value of the investment required to enable DR and EE. Broadly speaking, MBCx refers to the combination of retro-commissioning and continual commissioning activities, coupled with ongoing, technology-based monitoring to ensure persistence of savings. Selected facilities are first analyzed to identify and implement cost-effective retro-commissioning activities that typically require little or no capital investment. During the implementation phase, monitoring technology is installed at each facility to capture energy usage data from interval meters, as well as to interface with building control or energy management systems (BMS/EMS). This data is then used to create benchmarks for optimal building operations, and also to continuously track building operation and performance. Since all buildings invariably drift away from optimal operations – whether through human intervention, impact of seasonal changes, or other outside factors – the ongoing monitoring ensures that building managers are alerted to any issues as they arise, and can then take appropriate remedial action on a timely basis. The monitoring infrastructure required to enable MBCx, along with associated BMS/EMS system upgrades, are usually sufficient to also enable a customer for demand response. Through the implementation of a combined EE/DR approach, customers can not only achieve permanent energy efficiency reductions, but they can also deliver a substantial demand response potential, thus maximizing the value of the investment for everyone. This strategy enables the customer, the utility, and society in general to unlock the full potential of these commercial properties. By drawing on details of actual implementations, our paper will explore the value of combining EE and DR through the installation of an MBCx platform. We will provide case studies of actual customers that are implementing a joint approach, and we will also provide recommendations on how to design a program that seeks to cultivate the integration of energy efficiency and demand response.