The Carbon Emissions Impact of Demand Flexibility

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Traditionally, a building acts as a relatively unsophisticated consumer of power from the electrical grid, paying a particular price for the electricity it uses (kWh) and a charge for its peak power (kW). A building consumes energy whenever needed, without regard to potential generation costs or emissions.

Emerging demand flexibility strategies enable buildings to manage their electric demand to provide grid services. Grid services could include capacity reduction (similar to demand response efforts), avoiding renewable curtailment, avoiding high-cost generation resources, or reducing emissions.

Laws setting building performance targets exist across the country, but Local Law 97 (LL97) in New York City is notable because it defines performance expectations based on carbon emissions.

This report provides context for the potential impact of using time-of-use emission factors to reduce emissions associated with electricity use in buildings. It evaluates the technical potential of optimally deployed demand flexibility in an office building and a multi-family building. The results of our analysis isolate the potential emissions savings provided by demand flexibility.

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