When Do Efficiency and Demand Flexibility Go Hand-in-hand?
Utilities have been experimenting with integrated demand side management (IDSM) programs since the 2000s. The potential benefits of improved program cost-effectiveness and customer engagement from combining energy efficiency (EE), demand flexibility (DF), and other distributed energy resources into an integrated customer offering have been recognized although there are several known regulatory and program administrative challenges. In addition, as buildings adopt EE measures, the baseline load profile change generally reduces the potential load that can be shed or shifted. This has been a significant technical barrier for customers and program implementers. However, it is a myth that EE always reduces DF. Load change from EE can be time-varying. Therefore, whether EE improves or reduces DF should be evaluated on an individual measure basis accounting for weather dependencies and interactions. For IDSM program design purpose, it is useful to understand how common EE features influence DF and the underlying building physics.
In this paper, we use parametric simulations of a prototype medium office building to evaluate how various EE features influence DF, measured by a “demand decrease intensity” (W/ft2) metric. These EE features cover envelope characteristics, internal loads, and airside HVAC system. The parametric analysis shows that some efficient HVAC control measures will increase DF but not the traditional building envelope, lighting, and ventilation-related efficiency measures. These findings contribute to the technical basis for achieving enhanced energy benefits by packaging appropriate HVAC control measures in IDSM program design. Program developers should further validate these results in targeted pilot projects.