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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Findings from Seven Years of Field Performance Data for Automated Demand Response in Commercial Buildings


California is a leader in automating demand response (DR) to promote low-cost, consistent, and predictable electric grid management tools. Over 250 commercial and industrial facilities in California participate in fully-automated programs providing over 60 MW of peak DR savings. This paper presents a summary of Open Automated DR (OpenADR) implementation by each of the investor-owned utilities in California. It provides a summary of participation, DR strategies and incentives. Commercial buildings can reduce peak demand from 5 to 15percent with an average of 13percent. Industrial facilities shed much higher loads. For buildings with multi-year savings we evaluate their load variability and shed variability. We provide a summary of control strategies deployed, along with costs to install automation. We report on how the electric DR control strategies perform over many years of events. We benchmark the peak demand of this sample of buildings against their past baselines to understand the differences in building performance over the years. This is done with peak demand intensities and load factors. The paper also describes the importance of these data in helping to understand possible techniques to reach net zero energy using peak day dynamic control capabilities in commercial buildings. We present an example in which the electric load shape changed as a result of a lighting retrofit.

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