With recent advances in smart technologies, more and more smart devices are penetrating the residential and commercial buildings market. The introduction of these smart devices is also helping IoT companies emerge with load aggregator roles in the sector. With more utility companies on the track of supporting OpenADR protocols, the aggregators could play a significant role in providing load flexibilities by automatically responding to demand response (DR) events and coordinating load flexibility measures between customers. This would benefit utility companies by reducing stress on the grid during critical peak demand hours as well as customers by allowing them to utilize utility rate structures advantageous to those able to reduce electric usage during high-demand hours.

This study evaluates cost and energy savings from adopting multiple load flexibility measures in multifamily buildings. Combinations of different load flexibility measures, including space temperature floating, light dimming, automatic window shading, and water heater temperature floating, are considered. The simulations are performed using OpenStudio®, an open-source U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) simulation platform. For the case study, we used a midrise apartment building with weather conditions from Denver, Colorado. To compare climate zone differences, simulations were also performed for Los Angeles, California, and Chicago, Illinois.

Initial results indicate that the application of automated load flexibility measures without careful consideration of dispatching strategies and DR program enrollments could significantly affect the savings. To get meaningful cost savings, aggregators need to encourage tenant awareness to curtail energy usage through occupant behavior in addition to dispatching automatic load flexibility measures. The outcomes from this study are believed to help load aggregators understand the risks and benefits of load flexibility opportunities.

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