Strategies for Demand Response in Commercial Buildings
This paper describes strategies that can be used in commercial buildings to temporarily reduce electric load in response to electric grid emergencies in which supplies are limited or in response to high prices that would be incurred if these strategies were not employed. The demand response strategies discussed herein are based on the results of three years of automated demand response field tests in which 28 commercial facilities with an occupied area totaling over 11 million ft2 were tested. Although the demand response events in the field tests were initiated remotely and performed automatically, the strategies used could also be initiated by on-site building operators and performed manually, if desired. While energy efficiency measures can be used during normal building operations, demand response measures are transient; they are employed to produce a temporary reduction in demand. Demand response strategies achieve reductions in electric demand by temporarily reducing the level of service in facilities. Heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting are the systems most commonly adjusted for demand response in commercial buildings. The goal of demand response strategies is to meet the electric shed savings targets while minimizing any negative impacts on the occupants of the buildings or the processes that they perform. Occupant complaints were minimal in the field tests. In some cases, "reductions" in service level actually improved occupant comfort or productivity. In other cases, permanent improvements in efficiency were discovered through the planning and implementation of "temporary" demand response strategies. The DR strategies that are available to a given facility are based on factors such as the type of HVAC, lighting and energy management and control systems (EMCS) installed at the site.