HVACR Business

DEC 2017

Help hvacr contractors master the critical components of business management.

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energ y costs if utilities can reduce or avoid building inefficient and expensive peaking plants to meet short-term peak demand. Utilities have historically offered de- mand response programs to large commer- cial and industrial facilities, but many util- ities have successfully achieved reductions in residential peak demand using automat- ed demand response technologies. Many residential demand response programs work by offering customers Wi-Fi- connected devices or smart ther- mostats, like NEST or Ecobee, that allow the utility to adjust the air conditioner settings during the summer to reduce de- mand and high energ y use. Customers can override the demand re- sponse event at any time by turning down the temperature. But if they do, they for- feit the incentive for successfully complet- ing the event. Con Edison's Bring Your Own ermostat program, for example, offers customers a rebate to purchase a Con Edison¬-approved thermostat that allows the utility to make up to ten adjustments to the homeowner's central air condition- er each summer over two years. Each event lasts for no more than four hours. e customer always has the option of overriding the temperature adjustment by changing the settings on the thermostat. In other demand response programs, for example, San Diego Gas & Electric Company's Reduce You Use program, the utility sends a signal and an announcement of an event to the technolog y company, in this case, Alarm.com, instead of directly to the customer. Alarm.com then sends out the alerts through its cellular wireless net- work to the customer's connected devices. When a utility or company determines that a home's temperature is rising too quickly to keep the occupants comfortable during an event, it may pull the customer out of the event instead of having the cus- tomer opt out. While this may keep pro- gram participants comfortable, it misses a crucial opportunity to improve the home's energ y efficiency. e average home can maintain a com- fortable temperature over the course of a demand response event if it is air sealed and well insulated because a sealed home slows heat transfer and loss of conditioned air. When a utility pulls a customer out of an event, or when a customer opts out be- cause the temperature is rising too quickly, a virtual audit has essentially been done on that home, and the homeowner should be contacted and made aware that the home may benefit from efficiency improvements. In this scenario, a savvy utility seeking baseload efficiency savings could send home performance contractors to these homes armed with program rebates. e utility would get the biggest bang for its buck by providing larger rebates to the leakiest homes, and homeowners would benefit the most, both financially and from a comfort standpoint, from energ y efficiency improvements. New Initiatives Several new approaches are being pi- loted that use connected thermostats and data analytics to remotely and automati- cally identify household-specific retrofit opportunities. ese include opportuni- ties to reduce heating energ y consump- tion, to quantify expected retrofit energ y savings, and to validate post retrofit ener- g y performance. Fraunhofer USA, Incorporated is working with Eversource, National Grid, and Holyoke Gas & Electric over the next two years as part of a Building America- funded project to develop models that use communicating thermostat data and interval electricity and gas data to remote- ly identify homes with significant energ y savings opportunities. e proposed remote performance as- sessment tool will identify the top 20 per- cent of homes with the greatest potential for energ y savings from insulation, air seal- ing, and/or heating-system upgrades. ICF is also working with utilities on pilots that will use data from thermo- stat-based demand response programs to increase a home's energ y savings. Let's Evolve e time has come for home perfor- mance to evolve past dumb efficiency to intelligent efficiency as new technologies squeeze more energ y savings from homes and make both home performance pro- grams and demand response programs more effective. is can only be done when the silos between home performance and smart grid disappear. en programs that pro- mote intelligent, whole-house efficiency will evolve. u Kara Saul Rinaldi is president/CEO at AnnDyl Policy Group, LLC and serves as the vice president of government affairs and Policy at the Home Performance Coalition. Julie Caracino is Director of Research and Standards at the Home Performance Coalition. For additional information, visit homeenergy.org. Many residential demand response programs work by offering customers Wi-Fi- connected devices or smart thermostats. 14 HVACR BUSINESS DECEMBER 2017 www. hvacrbusiness .com NEW!! 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