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Today's tip is about a new way to do demand-response that can result in big energy savings.
You're probably already familiar with demand-response. It's a simple way to shave a few bucks here and there off of your monthly utility bill by undertaking temporary and voluntary reductions in energy use – lowering lighting, increasing the set point on the HVAC system slightly, or turning off a couple of elevators.
But until recently, if you got notification from the utility of a demand-response event, which usually coincided with the afternoon peak hours when electricity demand is very high and expensive to produce, it came via text message, e-mail or phone call. Then you'd implement your demand-response plan and notify your occupants that you would be in a demand-response event for the next several hours or so.
These days, a new strategy called automated demand-response is becoming increasingly popular, especially as facility managers prepare their facilities and operating procedures to benefit from smart grid when it finally appears.
Automated demand-response allows the utility to send a notification to a facility's building automation system, at which time, the BAS automatically initiates a pre-designed demand-response plan. So, with automated demand-response, the process of responding to an event is much easier, indeed it's automatic. Not only that, but when smart grid arrives, facility managers will have more options about how to take advantage of real-time pricing and how to run facility equipment based on the specific cost of a kilowatt hour at a particular time.