Power Down to SavingsMany of us were taught at a young age that when you leave a room, to turn the light off.  A recent study done by the University of Reading shows how that can translate into significantly lower power usage.

The research finds that electricity demand from some industry sites, such as telecommunication centers, could be reduced by more than 75% during times of peak load on the power grid.  This was mostly due to businesses switching from metered electricity to stand-by diesel generators.  However, some sites, particularly in the hotel sector, achieved an actual reduction of 25% by turning down air conditioning and lighting without any discomfort or impact to business.

The study was conducted with KiWi Power, who supplied the half-hourly meter readings from 176 commercial and industrial sites such as warehouses, offices and hotels.  The data was taken from businesses that were already using KiWi Power’s demand response services to investigate the potential for reducing electricity usage and shifting demand to off peak times.

The results also revealed that if businesses were given advanced warning of four hours or more to reduce their electricity use, the reductions could be doubled in some cases.  For example, electricity demand for warehouses could be shifted where they are given enough warning.  Warehouses could pre-load their refrigerators and build up cooling before peak times, which would allow them to be safely turned down and reduce electricity demand when the grid needs it the most.

The broader effect of the study shows that “encouraging business to lower their electricity usage at times of peak demand on the national grid would reduce the need for new power stations” according to Jacopo Torriti, lead researcher of the project.  As lawmakers in the United Kingdom are considering making additional investments into power generation, rewarding businesses to reduce their demand during peak times could be an alternative policy option that will make a significant contribution to the electricity capacity market.  It would also further cut carbon emissions as fewer power plants would need to be constructed.

Overall, the “research from the University of Reading shows the clear potential to reduce energy demand by encouraging businesses to turn down non-essential power for short periods of time and that’s a far more environmentally friendly option than building more power stations, and will reduce peaking power issues as the grid becomes increasingly congested” as stated by Yoav Zingher, director and co-founder of KiWi Power.

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