Legislation and the future of demand response

Newly established green codes, standards, and rating systems are moving municipalities toward legislated DR implementation.


Thus far, demand response (DR) has been voluntary and companies are allowed to supplement power from the grid with power they generate on-site. However, newly established green codes, standards, and rating systems are moving municipalities toward legislated DR implementation. California’s newly adopted CalGreen, recently released codes including ASHRAE 189.1, the recently finalized International green Construction Code (IgCC), and USGBC’s imminent LEED 2012 update all have DR components (for example, see California’s Building Standards Commission). Furthermore, ASHRAE 189.1 and the DR credit for LEED 2012 do not allow “standby power generation” or “on-site electricity generation” to be used, signaling a definite move toward pure curtailment strategies.  

As DR becomes more universal, controllable systems for HVAC and lighting become more important. Today the industry is working toward automatic demand response, or ADR. Demand events will directly signal energy managers to curtail power through a facility control system. This trend will become more prevalent as the Smart Grid develops. Today's Smart Grid already has the technical capability, and the standards to move it forward are being defined, published, and adopted. Standards like ASHRAE/NEMA SPC 201P-Facility Smart Grid Information Model (FSGIM), Smart Energy Profile 2.0 (SEP), and OpenADR are either dedicated to DR or include DR as an important element, and these standards assume that companies have the control systems to comply.  

Light control may not be the biggest contributor in a demand event, but in combination with HVAC, the ability of lighting to be predictive, responsive, and linear when operated by intelligent light control systems makes DR simpler and more economically beneficial. Gradual, steady changes in light levels result in immediate reductions in power usage while being completely transparent to the occupants in the building, which makes lighting and lighting control systems a good choice for DR fine-tuning adjustment.

Scott Ziegenfus is a senior applications engineer with Lutron Electronics Co. Inc. Ziegenfus has an electrical engineering degree from Lafayette College. He is an educational programs chair and board member for the Delaware Valley Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and is a certified LEED Study Guide Facilitator. Ziegenfus also serves on ASHRAE standards committees SPC 201P–Facility Smart Grid Information Model and SSPC 135–BACnet.

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