June 2014
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Energy Triple Threat to Drive Electric Demand Response...

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Jack Mc GowanJack Mc Gowan, CEM
Principal
The McGowan Group

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At IBcon on June 19 in Las Vegas, don’t miss a hard hitting panel called Smart Buildings to SMART GRID – Using Building Intelligence to Enable Automated Demand Response.  This session will be moderated by Scot Duncan President of Enerliance, one of the most successful companies in the California market for Automated Demand Response. The session tackles the idea that large scale commercial comfort or heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are typically the largest electrical load in the building.  SO why not harness them at scale for Automated Demand Response (Auto-DR)?   What is truly exciting is that the same technology and strategies that work for HVAC can be applied to other building systems as well.  Equally exciting is that Building Intelligence can pay for itself quickly through participation in Auto-DR programs, but can also position building owners to save money every day and protect themselves from what this author calls the Energy Triple Threat. This panel will bring extensive ADR experience, and a broader perspective on why this topic could get ever hotter.

This session is targeted at Automated Demand Response and Buildings, but there are a number of changes in play that could increase the scope of ADR in the context of an “Energy Triple Threat”.  This triple threat focuses on Electricity, as both the highest quality form of energy, and a commodity that is essential to the high quality of life available in the developed world.  The triple threat consists of these conditions that could blindside commercial building managers:

  1. Energy Triple ThreatClimate Change – as you read this the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be issuing new rules requiring up to 25% less carbon emissions from the U.S.’s 600 coal-fired power plants. The rules, due June 2. 2014, will likely force closing plants that are too expensive to retrofit. Regardless of your beliefs about climate change, this action will dramatically affect all energy users.
  1. Electricity Demand – with the gradual U.S. economic recovery, demand for electricity is growing. Electric utilities dodged the “load growth” bullet in recent years due to business decline, but that is changing just as the major source of electric generation (40% from coal) may be forcibly reduced. This will affect energy reliability or “resiliency”.
  1. Energy Economics – Taking this bold Climate action will dramatically impact electric cost too.  Some believe energy is underpriced and the best way to manage consumption is to raise cost.  BUT, the alternative position is that our “global economy” is in the midst of a precarious recovery that could be threatened by major price increases to a commodity that is essential to economic vitality and growth.

Reliable Controls Without question, effectively managing Smart Buildings and their interaction with the Smart Grid, is the most effective way for managers to protect themselves from the Energy Triple Threat.  Making time for this session at IBcon in Las Vegas may be the best place to learn how.  Focusing specifically on Auto-DR, HVAC accounts for up to 40% of energy use in a commercial building and customers can get paid for shedding these loads at critical times.  Combining HVAC with lighting makes it possible for Building Intelligence to harvest savings from nearly 70% of building electric users.  With the advent of LED lighting, in many cases deployed with lighting control that allows digital dimming and daylight harvesting, this is very achievable achievable and can pay dividends everyday.

Expanding the discussion beyond Auto-DR, the same technology and strategies that work for large commercial HVAC, or lighting, demand response can be applied to other building systems as well.  This panel will highlight new ways that Building Intelligence can enable precise, dynamic control during curtailment events allowing utilities and facility owners to unlock the potential of HVAC based demand response.  The panel will discuss past barriers to large scale commercial HVAC based ADR and the direct linkage between building intelligence, energy efficiency, demand limiting, and tariff optimization.


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