Maximizing Demand Response Revenue Through Automation

April 29, 2024

Image of the energy grid at sunset with a lot of cables and wires for demand response

With the growing focus on the electric grid and the need to reduce CO2 emissions, demand response programs present an excellent opportunity for property and resident managers.

What Is Demand Response?

Demand response (DR) is a strategy employed by utility companies to manage electricity consumption during peak demand periods. These typically coincide with the warmest days of summer, when the electric grid is the most vulnerable, and its emissions are usually the highest.

DR involves reducing energy demand in real-time or on a pre-determined, typically 2-4 hour window. This is called a demand response event (DR event).

Buildings that participate in demand response programs will reduce their electricity demand, reduce strain on the grid, and receive financial incentives from utility companies.

Buildings get paid per kW reduction during scheduled or sometimes unscheduled demand response events. For example, there are usually between 4 to 8 demand response events a year in a typical season in New York’s ConEd demand response program. This is a great opportunity for buildings to earn additional revenue.

Parity can automate demand response curtailment to maximize revenue and reduce the impact of the temporary energy reduction for occupants during a DR event.

Energy grid in the united states that works with demand response.

Photo by Nasa on Unsplash

How Does Parity Automate Demand Response?

Parity automates demand response protocols to run during demand response events.

We can do this because we remotely control a building’s HVAC systems. We have a deep understanding of the building’s real-time heating and cooling demand, so we’re able to automate their system with a unique level of precision.

For example, we can automate ventilation equipment for a demand response event. It’s normally not feasible for maintenance staff to scramble up to the roof to manually do this for every DR event.

By working with the resident manager to pre-program the level of curtailment they are comfortable with, Parity can automatically “switch” the building into demand response mode when the notification of an event is received from the demand response aggregator.

This allows Parity to maximize revenue for the building while reducing any impact occupants might face from the temporary reduction in energy usage. Plus, this allows Resident and Property Managers to not have to manually perform any protocols, preventing possible mistakes or underperformance.

Let’s Look At An Example

This graph shows how Parity can automate demand response curtailment.

2023 Parity DR Example

The above graph shows Parity lowering the overall energy demand measured in kWs. Here are 3 points about the graph worth mentioning:

Starting on Time:

Resident managers and their staff may not be available immediately at the start of the DR event. This is compounded by DR events occurring on the hottest days of the year when they are already swamped.

In the graph, the 2022 line shows the building started curtailment almost a third of the way through the event. With our automation, we begin curtailment slightly before the event to maximize revenue. We can also set up automated pre-cooling.

Depth of Curtailment:

It’s hard to know how far you can take the curtailment without impacting resident comfort. Since Parity gains a deep understanding of HVAC system operations at each building, we can develop customized curtailment programming. This can include pre-cooling, a process where cooling is run at nearly full capacity for around 2 hours before the event, which is another benefit of our automation. If we pre-cool, we can avoid tenant issues. This is particularly important for longer events (4+ hours).

Return To Baseline:

In 2022, it took far longer for the building staff to return the systems to their previous setpoints, which could potentially impact resident comfort without generating any DR revenue for the building.

With our automation, the system returns to its baseline within minutes of the end of the event. Also, you can see how post-event in 2023, with our automation, kW did not increase as much.

Summary & Next Steps

Demand response will reduce your building’s energy consumption, earn additional revenue, and help stabilize the grid. With Parity, building staff can kick back and relax while we automate demand response protocols to maximize revenue and ensure occupant comfort.

Are you ready to learn more? Email and tell us that you’re interested in automating demand response for your building.

Other Blog Posts

June 17, 2024

Closing the PropTech Gap: Advanced HVAC Solutions for Residential Buildings and Hotels

Advanced property technology (PropTech) solutions have historically been tailored towards commercial real estate like Class A office buildings. This is [...]
June 11, 2024

Parity Secures $19M Series B to Expand US Service Territory and Technology Offering

Funding will accelerate the adoption of Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings (GEBs) through HVAC optimization in the multifamily and hospitality sectors. USD $19m [...]
May 30, 2024

Getting Ahead of Boston's BERDO Fines

Boston’s Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) is a building performance law that focuses on decarbonizing existing large buildings [...]