Demand charges, determined by the maximum amount of power you draw at any given time (typically measured over any 15-minute period during the month), can account for 50 percent or more of a commercial customer’s electricity bill. Demand management systems aim to either curtail your load during that anticipated peak period or spread your load more evenly. This, in turn, reduces peak demand and, hence, your power bill. If your organization participates in a demand response (DR) program, your ability to control demand is even more important as you can be heavily penalized for failing to meet your obligations when a DR event is called.
Managing your HVAC systems, particularly independent rooftop air conditioners, is a highly effective method of controlling demand, but in very hot weather they need to run for longer periods to keep your staff and customers cool, so the opportunity to reduce demand diminishes.
This is when incorporating other electrical loads in to your demand management system can reap real benefits. Consider, in particular, semi-discretionary loads like electrical water heaters (the ones with storage tanks, rather than the instantaneous type) or pumping equipment, for example, equipment used to fill air pressure storage vessels. These types of load can typically be delayed for short periods with no detrimental effect. Depending on circuit layout, lighting can sometimes be incorporated too, for example, in locations near windows where incoming sunlight is likely to be strong enough that lights aren’t really needed.
Even if the power consumption from these additional loads is small, cumulatively they can prevent new demand highs from being reached and/or make the difference between meeting – or not meeting – your DR obligation. As you solidify your strategy for achieving optimal DR results (and the associated revenues), we suggest taking a look at the increased energy consumption reduction you can achieve through a program like Swarm Logic.
Adding seemingly small loads to your demand management system can quickly change your program dynamics, resulting in significant savings – 15-25%, in fact.