What is this Term…Demand Response?
In the realm of energy efficiency the term demand response
is being brought up more every day. Many business owners and/or homeowners do not know what the term means. Well let me dive in and break down what demand response is and how you can benefit.
What is demand response?
Demand response, in lamens term, is when a customer gets paid for not using energy. These utility programs work to actively engage consumers in how they modify consumption, all while reducing peak demand and avoiding system breakdowns.
Customers are able to receive incentives or discounts for participating in demand response programs through their utility supplier.
So how does demand response work? For those not in the utility industry here is the cliff notes version of how demand response works. A utility offers credits to a consumer to install an automated device on an outside air conditioning unit. The utility is then able to turn the unit off at intervals of peak demand. Some individuals do not care for the automated program controlling their energy usage so utilities do offer other programs that fall under demand response. Other systems can detect when energy is at a high usage point, and then reduces voltage without cutting power altogether. [i]
Why is demand response important? Demand response is the country’s current answer to increasing energy demand. By participating in demand response you are actively helping our utility grid work more efficiently. Predictions are that demand response can cut up to 15% of energy demand in the U.S. all while helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Oh and the savings of about 50% by only decreasing power use by 5% does not hurt either.
What’s the future of demand response?
The idea of demand response seems to be spreading faster than wildfire, pardon the phrase Californians. Automakers are now working on the idea for electric vehicles. Several utilities have run tests to see if cloud computing would be compatible in transporting a message directly to electric vehicles. The message is designed to ask that the car’s owner briefly suspend charging to boost grid stability. If the car owner agrees to participate, they are compensated for their energy reduction.[ii]
Whether you are a fan of the idea or not, demand response will be something to keep your eye on in the future. With the developments in only the past couple of years I am sure that there will be a lot more to come down the road.
Posted on November 12, 2014 | 5:00 pm
Do You Need a Energy Tune Up?
Currently I live in a house with 3 housemates. The house was built in the early 90s and is about 1,800+ square feet. One of the housemates owns the house and has the responsibility of bills, bills, bills and taxes (yuck). What came into discussion late this summer was the wretched PG&E bills, which some might say is as hard a pill to swallow as taxes. It is safe to say that in the city of Fresno, residents are most dependent on their air conditioners around the June through August summer months. Our bill was no exception as we experienced an average of $278
a month with August reaching as high as $320
. I sat with the homeowner in awe as to wonder what on earth we were doing that the bill was so high. After all, the house is empty 5 days a week between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm and we felt that was a significant amount of time to not be using any electricity that the bill shouldn't put us into traumatic shock.
After asking the homeowners several questions about the house: water heater, air conditioning, fridge, dishwasher, washer and dryer, windows, insulation and anything I could think of, I finally contacted my local Central Valley Energy Tune up (www.cvetu.com
). This FREE
service provides education to homeowners about energy savings opportunities in their homes through a variety of free energy efficiency service offerings.
I requested that we have the comprehensive “Whole-House Home Energy Survey” option which would include their inspection of the entire house including air conditioning system and attic. While the homeowners have not received their detailed reports, the “energy inspectors” did have input that provided some insight into how they could save on their energy bill.
First, the house faces south-southwest, so that means the 2 bedrooms that face the front of the house have direct experience with the Fresno summer sun from about 3:00 pm – to 6:00 pm where the average temperature this summer is in triple degrees side of the thermometer. So we have two rooms that have “sauna-like” temperatures that the house has to work harder to cool down. The proposed solutions: a) keep the door open so hot air doesn't stick; b) get low emissivity windows.
The second opportunity was definitely a shock and considering that I personally am not a homeowner, I find it interesting to discover that there lazy contractors did half of the job with the insulation. (See photo below)
Just randomly, the in the front part of the house, where the sun faces, the thermal imager registers that there’s no insulation. Hmm. Homeowners had no idea.While I am all for energy efficiency and insulation is one method to get there, I am baffled at the randomness and sloppiness of the contractors/installers themselves. Why would they all of a sudden just not finish insulating the house? We’ll never know.
So here’s the lessons learned. First, Central Valley Home Energy Tune Up is FREE. You really can’t lose having an inspector review your home and receive a detailed report providing you with what’s going on with your home. Second, contractors suck.
“Home Energy Tune-Up”, accessed October 13, 2014, http://www.cvetu.com/home-energy-tune-up
Posted on October 27, 2014 | 5:03 pm