Project Info

Complete
Project Title 
Wedgewood Demand Response and Flex Demonstration
Project Number 
DR20.02
Investor Owned Utilities 
SCE
End-use 
HVAC
Sector 
Commercial
Project Year(s) 
2020 - 2021
Description 

Demand management and flexibility test of a commercial building with implemented EE and DR measures

Project Results 

 Executive Summary

This document presents the results of advanced load control tests performed during 2020 as part of a demonstration project sponsored by the Southern California Edison (SCE) Emerging Products and Technologies group. The study evaluated the ability of software to reduce electricity demand during peak times through advanced demand management and load flexibility, while minimally impacting tenant comfort.  The study also evaluated how the system would react to a simulated Demand Response (DR) one-hour ahead load reduction dispatch event.

The project evaluated the use of Extensible Energy’s DemandEx™ load management software to manage electricity demand in an office building by controlling the HVAC systems in coordination with local solar power generation. DemandEx is designed to reduce a customer's electricity costs by reducing demand peaks and by shifting energy use from more costly demand periods to less costly periods. This is done through strategies such as shifting energy from periods of low solar generation and high demand to periods where solar is generating power. While the software is capable of controlling a variety of categories of equipment, the evaluation focused only on its ability to control HVAC, as HVAC constitutes a significant portion of the controllable load and is the main driver of demand peaks in office buildings.

Two hypotheses were tested: First, a load shift hypothesis tested whether the software could effectively reduce the customer’s HVAC-related demand charges by between 10% and 25%, without negatively impacting building tenant comfort, by shifting operations and increasing loads during SCE’s non-peak (Mid and Off-peak) TOU periods and reducing loads during peak periods. The second, a load shed hypothesis, tested whether the software could enable two to four hours of load shift of at least 20% of whole-building load in response to simulated day-ahead, hour ahead and 15 minutes ahead load curtailment signals from SCE.  

The project demonstrated that significant demand reductions can be achieved during peak demand times through load shift.  Demand was reduced 15.5% on warmer days when cooling was needed, with reductions of 28% in the morning and 13% in the evening (Figure 1). In addition, the control software was able to reduce energy consumption in the evening hours by 19%, while compensating with increased energy consumption in the afternoon when there is substantial renewable solar generation. Additionally, the system was able to shed load of approximately 14% compared to the maximum observed peak demand for the one-hour DR test.

The project encountered some challenges due to COVID-related shutdowns and pre-existing issues with the building control system that limited the achievable results. Savings should increase when the building returns to full operation and when repairs to the control system are implemented.

If extrapolated to a full year under current building operating conditions, demand charge cost savings could be $3,600. Adjusted for COVID-related effects, the demand charge cost savings could be around $5,400 per year. With additional software-only repairs to the building management system, it was estimated that demand cost savings of up to $9,000 per year may be achieved.

If deployed at multiple sites, this load-flexibility capability could provide a significant demand shifting benefit for utilities and the California grid, in addition to potentially significant direct utility cost savings to the site customers. In addition, the ability to shift demand from periods with less solar generation into periods with more solar generation would support the state's transition to renewable generation and result in reduced emissions.

The study effects were achieved in a region with mild climates and in a building with significant configuration issues. Greater effects could be expected in regions with hotter climates, and in buildings with properly configured control systems.

Project Report Document

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