Orange County is Demand Response Ready

Reduced operating costs and guaranteed tenant comfort makes demand response appealing for commercial buildings in California.
Published: Thu 04 Sep 2014

Property management company Davis Partners have signed an agreement with building automation firm, Enerliance, to bring Automated Demand Response (ADR) capabilities to nearly 670,000 square feet of Orange County Class A office space.

Enerliance LOBOS ADR software enables commercial buildings to easily and automatically participate in demand response events. During times of peak demand, the LOBOS-outfitted HVAC systems in six buildings across the county will deliver 822kW of demand response capacity to Southern California Edison's grid.

Tenant comfort is not compromised

To finance the project, Enerliance helped Davis Partners take advantage of rebates and incentives offered through Southern California Edison's Commercial Utility Building Efficiency (CUBE) Program. The project, which included upgrades to the buildings' HVAC and building automation systems, also allowed for the installation of an overall energy efficiency component, LOBOS EE, in three of the buildings. LOBOS will not only help reduce the buildings' energy usage and allow for the easy, automatic participation in demand response events, but it will also ensure that tenant comfort is never compromised.

"Without tenant comfort, commercial buildings simply will not participate in demand response," said Enerliance Business Development Director CP Pitones. "One of the key aspects of LOBOS technology is that it makes demand response participation virtually unnoticeable for building occupants. Because of LOBOS, this critical energy-saving measure is now a viable option."

And while LOBOS's automated demand response capabilities are of increasing importance for grid stability, what makes LOBOS a genuine energy solution is its ability to add value to a building through reduced operating costs.

For Davis Partners, and property management firms everywhere, LOBOS is a building upgrade with multiple benefits. "As property managers we are always looking for ways to create value for our building owners," said Davis Partners Senior Director Kimberley Civita. "With the utility incentives out there for commercial building efficiency upgrades, the investment on the side of the building owner is nominal compared to the return. LOBOS adds value by reducing operating costs, and the fact that it does it without impacting tenant comfort is exactly what we needed to make this project happen."

To date, LOBOS is optimizing over 50 million square feet of building space nationwide.

Commercial buildings adopting demand response

The commercial sector offers a significant growth opportunity for the demand response market, according to Navigant Research. Commercial buildings account for a substantial amount of electricity consumption and represent a major underserved market.

Energy consumption by these buildings is particularly significant during the peak times of summer and winter when heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems place heavy demands on utility power grids.

Navigant Research forecasts that the number of commercial facilities participating in demand response programs will rise from fewer than 600,000 in 2012 to more than 1.5 million sites by 2018. Revenue from demand response for commercial buildings will surpass US$712 million annually by 2018.

With the energy storage market heating up, utilities will need to ensure that they offer their commercial customers attractive enough rebates and incentives with its demand response programmes otherwise they may start losing them to the “utility in a box” concept where they generate, store and manage their own power. [Engerati-Energy Storage Sector Targets Commercial Customers and Optimising Self-Generated Power.]