Demand Shifting with Thermal Mass in Light and Heavy Mass Commercial Buildings
The potential for utilizing building thermal mass for load shifting and peak demand reduction has been demonstrated in a number of simulation, laboratory, and field studies. This project studied the potential of pre-cooling and demand limiting in a heavy mass and a light mass building in the Bay Area of California. The conclusion of the work to date is that pre-cooling has the potential to improve the demand responsiveness of commercial buildings while maintaining acceptable comfort conditions. Results indicate that pre-cooling increases the depth (kW) and duration (kWh) of the shed capacity of a given building, all other factors being equal. Due to the time necessary for pre-cooling, it is only applicable to day-ahead demand response programs. Pre-cooling can be very effective if the building mass is relatively heavy. The effectiveness of night pre-cooling under hot weather conditions has not been tested. Further work is required to quantify and demonstrate the effectiveness of pre-cooling in different climates. Research is also needed to develop screening tools that can be used to select suitable buildings and customers, identify the most appropriate pre-cooling strategies, and estimate the benefits to the customer and the utility.