What is Demand Response?
Demand response is an incentive strategy that utilities use to entice their customers to lower demand for electric power generation during severe (peak) times when demand may outstrip capacity. Customers are paid for reducing their electricity consumption for a short period during a critical "peak load" time. Demand response works for consumers and business owners alike (demand side) because commercial and residential property owners can be paid for their energy curtailment, as well as for utilities (supply side) because a successful demand response program may obviate the need to build a new power plant, or expand the capacity of an existing one.
LEED & Demand Response
Indeed, this past September, with soaring temperatures in the northeast, utilities were required to temporarily cut back demand by 150 MW to avoid the risk of cascading blackouts. The quick, cheap, and easy solution that the northeast utilities implemented was demand response. The rollout saved 5,949 MW in one day, comparable to five nuclear power plants.
Demand response has proven to successfully prevent blackouts as well as balance electricity supply and demand. The technique benefits consumers, utilities, and the environment. Demand response is a natural green building concept. Indeed, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is incorporating demand response programs into LEED v4, the newest version of LEED, which will be released at Greenbuild next week. New Construction and Existing Buildings projects now have two options for fulfilling this credit to earn points toward LEED certification.