Energy Statistics Prove Your Company Can Participate in Demand Response

It’s no secret that here at Your Energy Blog, we love to talk about demand response (DR). It’s one of the most efficient ways to stabilize the electric grid during times of high stress. Almost any organization can participate, and those that do, get paid big bucks to reduce their energy. In case you need a refresher on DR, it’s fairly simple. When demand for electricity reaches extreme levels, there is a strain on the electric grid. When this happens, utilities pay facilities to reduce their energy use. The payments are based on how many kilowatts (kW) a facility curtails. These reductions ensure the grid runs smoothly, avoiding blackouts and brownouts.

For many of us, it may not be clear how we would reduce our energy to participate in DR. It’s often misconstrued that only big corporations with huge machines can partake, but that’s not the case. Even a small business can reach minimum reduction requirements by shutting down or scaling back on some common pieces of equipment. To get a better idea on how much energy common machines use, I studied reduction plans for nearly 500 companies participating in DR with Energy Curtailment Specialists (ECS), and here is what I found.

Minimum Reduction Requirements:

New York City: 50 kW
California: 50 kW
New York State: 100 kW
PJM: 100 kW
Texas: 200 kW


Depending on the size of a compressor, it can use anywhere between 20 kW and 5,000 kW. To be more specific, a 100 HP compressor uses about 75 kW, a 250 HP compressor uses 500 kW, and a 5,000 HP compressor can require as much as 5,000 kW. During a demand response event, facilities are able to minimize compressor use when notified ahead of time.

Battery Chargers:

Many ECS customers cut back on forklift charging and battery charging stations in order to participate in demand response. Although small, a charger can use 5-10 kW, which can be combined with the shutdown of another machine to meet reduction requirements.


Similar to compressors, chillers come in many different sizes and use various amounts of energy. From what I learned, most chillers require between 25 and 200 kilowatts. A 180-ton chiller uses 90 kW, a 200 ton chiller uses 160 kW, and a 400 ton chiller uses 200 kW.


While many DR participants are manufacturers, facilities with elevators, like hotels, office buildings and hospitals, are successful participants as well. A single passenger elevator uses about 35 kW. In a building with many elevators, shutting down a few during demand response events could reduce enough kW to reach the requirements. One company I found was able to reduce 225 kW by shutting down 10 elevators!


There are numerous governments involved in DR, from small townships to entire counties. In most governmental demand response plans, wells are shut down to reduce energy. The amount required can range from 55 kW to 350 kW. In some cases, multiple wells were temporarily turned off to increase the reduction.


No matter what an organization does, it has to have lights! Turning off lights in unused rooms, and opening shades to rely on natural light is a reduction strategy even the smallest facility can implement.

As a common rule of thumb, the conversion for T8 lighting in an office is one watt per square foot. Therefore, 25,000 square feet can require about 25 kW of electricity. In warehouse spaces, metal halide lighting is popular, which is equivalent to 400 watts per fixture. That means 50 fixtures require 20 kW of electricity. In one extreme case, an arena shut off nearly 1,300 bulbs to reduce two megawatts of energy.


Cutting down on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning is one of the most common ways to meet reduction requirements in DR. Nearly every business reduced HVAC during this past event season, in addition to other machine shut-downs. In many cases, I saw that increasing the temperature by a few degrees, plus reducing the lighting, was able to cut about 50 kW.

There are numerous ways a business can reduce energy to participate in demand response, no matter the size of the facility. Some states require the company to have a meter to track kW usage, but installing one is a small price to pay for the amount of money that can be made from performing. It’s a simple process, and by reducing use on just one or two machines, you can be a full demand response participant. To learn more about how your organization can benefit from participating in demand response, click here.



Related Articles:

How Demand Response Will Shape the Future of Energy
10 Reduction Strategies to Earn Your Facility Money
Demand Response Will Double by 2020: Here’s Why

Print Friendly
↑ Back to top