10 The amount of fees in millions of dollars in which Western is projected to save since beginning to strategically target demand peaks days seven years ago.
22-24 The temperature range in degrees Celsius that buildings typically reach during demand management activities. Should temperatures exceed that range, building occupants are encouraged to contact Client Services (ext. 83304).
500 The amount of power (kW) that tried and true conservation efforts (such as turning off lights and lowering blinds) can save.
16 The average number of times each year the air conditioning is reduced as a result of demand management activities.
Each year, Western faces multi-million dollar demand fees on a multi-million dollar energy bill. In order to mitigate a portion of those fees, Western strategically targets days in which provincial demand is highest and reduces energy consumption on campus. The five hours of the year when Ontario’s demand is highest are used to determine the fees that each large energy user will pay for their portion of demand. The lower Western’s contribution to the total, the lower the fees.
Typically, demand targets are met by intermittent cycling of air handling units accompanied by tried and true energy-zapping measures, such as turning off lights and lowering blinds. By reducing cooling, Facilities Management can shave off roughly four megawatts of power. That’s the equivalent amount of energy to run 250 average-sized homes.
The remainder of the target is achieved with the active efforts of the campus community. Without building occupants chipping in and lowering consumption, the program would be less successful and may require deeper energy cuts to the cooling services. Building occupant actions, as simple as turning out lights and lowering blinds, can account for a 500kW reduction in energy consumption on campus. A reduction of that scale equates to savings of tens of thousands of dollars during peak days.
Top five things the campus community should know about Demand Management
- Last year, Western avoided $2.5 million in demand fees through strategic reduction efforts. Since beginning the targeted conservation measures in 2012, the University has shed more than $10 million in energy costs. The total is expected to jump again with an anticipated savings of $2+ million by the end of this year.
- The savings bolster the central budget, funding anything from operations to capital projects to research initiatives. The savings can be viewed from the perspective of money not wasted on paying for energy is available to support the projects that extend the mission of the University.
- Demand Management typically occurs twelve days of each year and most often during the summer afternoons. This past summer reported an abnormal number of heat waves and very little precipitation, leading to upwards of 20 days of demand load shedding.
- In some cases, project and maintenance work unrelated to demand management can result in warmer than usual building temperatures. This was evident in some buildings on campus this summer. Repairs and renovations in a number of locations required air handling units to be shut down, compounding the effects of energy reduction efforts. Service interruptions can be found online: https://www.uwo.ca/fm/uwosi.html
- Investments have been made to install better building controls, making building temperatures more comfortable for occupants during conservation measures. For example, new automated controls will improve Western’s response to and recovery from cooling reductions.
Engaged, high-demand partners make a difference
During the academic year, targeted reductions to air conditioning are more difficult as buildings are heavily occupied. FM’s large energy consuming partners, such as those managing buildings and research in Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel, Social Science, West Valley, Biotron, and SharcNet support Demand Management activities. With enough lead time, these units reschedule the use of high consumption equipment to off-peak hours. The Wind Tunnel, for example, can draw as much as one megawatt from the grid when operating at full capacity, equating to nearly 5% of Western’s total consumption.
The Demand Management team continues to develop strategies for reducing the institution’s piece of the demand fee pie. Being recognized as a leader since the introduction of Global Adjustment charges, Western has improved its building automation system by leaps and bounds. As more buildings are commissioned and higher intensity equipment is installed to support Western’s research commitment, the team needs to stay ahead and work with the campus community just to break even.
More information is available on FMs dedicated Demand Management web page; http://uwo.ca/fm/initiatives/demand_management.html