REDWOOD CITY, CA--(Marketwire - Jun 27, 2011) - EcoFactor, a leading residential energy management solution offered through service providers and utilities, announced today that a 2010 pilot deployment with Nevada utility NV Energy delivered a 36% increase in demand response (DR) yield as compared to conventional residential DR. The pilot included homes in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. With the success of the initial pilot, NV Energy has announced that the utility will expand its EcoFactor deployment this summer, increasing the number of participating homes in the Las Vegas area and adding Reno to the program as well.
Peak loads are a large and growing problem for many utilities, especially those in hot climates. In Reno and Las Vegas, NV Energy expects to call as many as 40 DR events, ranging from 2 to 3 ½ hours in duration, during the summer. In Las Vegas, residential air conditioning is roughly half of peak load, so finding ways to manage these loads -- without making people uncomfortable -- is vital.
Conventional residential DR raises thermostat setpoints by three to four degrees for several hours at a time on the hottest summer afternoons, sacrificing the comfort of residents. Additionally, this method actually limits grid-level benefits, because in most homes the inside temperature will hit the raised setpoint before the end of the DR event, which causes the air conditioner to begin running again, thereby reducing the total amount of load that is shed. Pre-cooling the home ahead of a DR event offers the potential to both increase load shed and reduce discomfort. However, the optimal pre-cooling strategy depends on and varies with the weather, air conditioner capacity, and the thermal storage capacity of each individual home. To pre-cool successfully, all these factors must be taken into account.
EcoFactor's patented analytics track weather conditions, and identify the unique thermal characteristics of each connected home and air conditioning system. This allows EcoFactor to determine the optimal pre-cooling strategy for each connected home on any given day. By intelligently pre-cooling homes in advance of DR events, NV Energy and EcoFactor were able to increase average load shed for connected homes by 36% relative to conventional DR.
At the same time, EcoFactor also preserves comfort for DR participants. While conventional residential demand response often means inside temperatures rise 3-4 degrees above the user's preferred temperature, which obviously causes discomfort for the occupants, the average inside temperatures during EcoFactor-optimized DR events were within 0.5 degrees of the occupants' preferred setpoints.
"Utilities shouldn't have to choose between protecting the grid and preserving consumer comfort, and neither should their customers. We can help them achieve both and do so automatically," said John Steinberg, CEO, EcoFactor. "The results of this pilot show that it is possible to deliver on this promise and we look forward to rolling this service out more broadly."
EcoFactor is a residential energy management service that enables home service providers to offer an energy management service to their customers that does not require them to compromise comfort or change behavior. The EcoFactor platform uses data from communicating thermostats to determine the unique thermal characteristics of each home and automatically optimize energy use to eliminate waste and save money. Based in Redwood City, Calif., EcoFactor was founded in 2006 to provide an automated alternative to behavior-based residential energy management solutions.