Demand Response in Commercial Buildings

Monday, April 27, 2015

Purpose of the project:

Our Southern California portfolio is particularly at risk of rising energy costs because of increasing overall cost per kwh and mandatory dynamic pricing. To mitigate these risks as well as improve grid resiliency, reduce energy consumption and save money, we implemented Demand Response (DR) capabilities in our one million square foot Long Beach campus. This is innovative because participation in DR among commercial building owners is only roughly 1%, so it is highly unusual for a commercial building owner to actively pursue a DR project.

Approach:

Having implemented DR elsewhere, we had learned that typical DR software protocols are too aggressive, so the engineer never deploys the protocols. To combat this, we partnered with Enerliance, an innovative company with a DR system, called LOBOS, that allows for staged shedding to ensure the buildings would participate. The LOBOS DR controller automatically adjusts the individual Air Handling Units (AHU), Roof Top Units (RTU) and Central Plant equipment setpoints up and down as required to meet our kW demand reduction for the specific DR bidding at each Long Beach building. This allows our buildings to shed load in stages to protect tenant comfort while maximizing the drop in consumption. We installed the LOBOS system in the Long Beach campus in September 2013 and conducted testing and training in October 2013. Training for the operating staff was provided during the course of the installation, during the testing, commissioning and tuning portions of the project, as well as during a formal training session. We find that providing training during many small interactions between our technical staff and the operating staff tends to promote retention of the information better than one large official training session does.

Results:

The installation of the LOBOS system was successful and the buildings are now participating in DR events. We had several issues during the installations involving the connections between the equipment that the utility had to install to provide DR signals to the campus and the Enerliance equipment that allows the shedding, but we eventually resolved these issues after several site visits, and the trainings were successful. These buildings should shed 66,770 kwh a year during Demand Response events, saving approximately $11,350 plus utility incentives. However, bigger savings will result from the building using the LOBOS system to shave its peak load every month. We partner with another innovative company, Gridium, which identifies the days of an upcoming month we are most likely to set our peak demand based on historical building performance and analysis of weather data. The building then implements the DR protocols on those days to save additional energy and dollars. We predict that these additional shed events will save another 200,000 kwh and approximately $35,000 dollars in 2014 on the Long Beach campus. These load reduction initiatives will reduce strain on the grid and blackouts as well as save energy and money. Even better, the installation of LOBOS was absolutely free to KRC because of available utility incentives for these installations. We are planning many additional utility-funded LOBOS installs in 2014. Our participation in Demand Response earned us the Peak Load Management Association Award for Outstanding Demand Response Customer

“Participating in Demand Response is challenging for commercial real estate owners because of tenant comfort concerns. KRC has solved this problem and is very proud that its million square foot Long Beach campus is contributing to the reliability of the grid and reducing operating expenses via participating.” - Sara Neff, VP of Sustainability, Kilroy Realty Corporation