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Title: Dramatic Demand Reduction In The Desert Southwest

This report summarizes a project that was funded to the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), with subcontractors Pulte Homes and NV Energy. The project was motivated by the fact that locations in the Desert Southwest portion of the US demonstrate very high peak electrical demands, typically in the late afternoons in the summer. These high demands often require high priced power to supply the needs, and the large loads can cause grid supply problems. An approach was proposed through this contact that would reduce the peak electrical demands to an anticipated 65% of what code-built houses of the similar size would have. It was proposed to achieve energy reduction through four approaches applied to a development of 185 homes in northwest part of Las Vegas named Villa Trieste. First, the homes would all be highly energy efficient. Secondly, each house would have a PV array installed on it. Third, an advanced demand response technique would be developed to allow the resident to have some control over the energy used. Finally, some type of battery storage would be used in the project. Pulte Homes designed the houses. The company considered initial cost vs. long-term savings and chose options that hadmore » relatively short paybacks. HERS (Home Energy Rating Service) ratings for the homes are approximately 43 on this scale. On this scale, code-built homes rate at 100, zero energy homes rate a 0, and Energy Star homes are 85. In addition a 1.764 Wp (peak Watt) rated PV array was used on each house. This was made up of solar shakes that were in visual harmony with the roofing material used. A demand response tool was developed to control the amount of electricity used during times of peak demand. While demand response techniques have been used in the utility industry for some time, this particular approach is designed to allow the customer to decide the degree of participation in the response activity. The temperature change in the residence can be decided by the residents by adjusting settings. In a sense the customer can choose between greater comfort and greater money savings during demand response circumstances. Finally a battery application was to be considered. Initially it was thought that a large battery (probably a sodium-sulfur type) would be installed. However, after the contract was awarded, it was determined that a single, centrally-located battery system would not be appropriate for many reasons, including that with the build out plan there would not be any location to put it. The price had risen substantially since the budget for the project was put together. Also, that type of battery has to be kept hot all the time, but its use was only sought for summer operation. Hence, individual house batteries would be used, and these are discussed at the end of this report. Many aspects of the energy use for climate control in selected houses were monitored before residents moved in. This was done both to understand the magnitude of the energy flows but also to have data that could be compared to the computer simulations. The latter would be used to evaluate various aspects of our plan. It was found that good agreement existed between actual energy use and computed energy use. Hence, various studies were performed via simulations. Performance simulations showed the impact on peak energy usage between a code built house of same size and shape compared to the Villa Trieste homes with and without the PV arrays on the latter. Computations were also used to understand the effect of varying orientations of the houses in this typical housing development, including the effect of PV electrical generation. Energy conservation features of the Villa Trieste homes decreased the energy use during peak times (as well as all others), but the resulting decreased peak occurred at about the same time as the code-built houses. Consideration of the PV generation decreases the grid energy use further during daylight hours, but did not extend long enough many days to decrease the peak. Hence, a demand response approach, as planned, was needed. With participation of the residents in the demand response program developed does enable the houses to reduce the peak demand between 66% and 72%, depending on the built years. This was addressed fully in the latter part the study and is described in the latter part of this report.« less
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  1. Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States)
  2. NV Energy, Las Vegas, NV (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Board Of Regents Nevada System Of Higher Education
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States