Newsletter Article

Demand Response in Action: Bank of America Plaza

For LADWP and dozens of its commercial and industrial (C&I) customers around Los Angeles, June brings not only the transition from spring to summer, but also the start of the demand response season. Running from June 15 to October 15, the season spans the hottest months in L.A. and marks the period when participants in our Demand Response (DR) program earn financial incentives for reducing their energy use during DR events, called on days with anticipated high demand.

The program supports our grid’s energy reliability, even during the hottest days when energy demand skyrockets. By taking predetermined steps to limit their electrical load during these periods, C&I customers are conserving energy to help guarantee ample supply for all Angelenos. In 2023, DR participants saved a total of over 444 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy—or approximately the amount of energy used by 116 homes annually. A total of $1.3 million in financial incentives were distributed to customers for their participation in these efforts.

Curtailment measures may include reduced lighting, increased building temperatures, or any number of other actions the Demand Response team can help a customer identify for their facility. The process of implementing these measures ranges from manually flipping switches to turn off equipment, to using a sophisticated Building Energy Management System that can enact measures with the click of a mouse. Regardless of where a customer’s facility falls on this continuum, the outcome is the same: energy saved and incentives earned.

From office buildings to educational institutions, manufacturing to cold storage, the 75 participants in our Demand Response program represent a range of industries as diverse as the city itself and include some of the most recognizable places in L.A., such as Anheuser-Busch, L.A. Live and Paramount Pictures. Downtown LA’s skyline is further accounting of many of our DR program’s highest-profile—quite literally—participants, among them the Bank of America Plaza.

Demand Response in Action: Bank of America Plaza

Owned by Brookfield Properties, the Bank of America Plaza is just one of the real estate company’s four facilities that participated in our DR program in 2023. Standing at 57 stories with 2.1 million square feet of space, the 1974 building’s polished exterior holds mechanical innards that have been updated to prime efficiency. Last year, the building singlehandedly saved 8,784 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy, or the equivalent of what two homes use annually, over the span of just three DR events.

Bank of America Plaza
The Bank of America building, located in downtown Los Angeles, is one of 75 participants in our Demand Response program.

The Bunker Hill skyscraper’s grounds boast shady gardens and fountains flowing into waterfalls that cascade into a subterranean pool. Not only does this plaza exist as an oasis amid the concrete, glass, and steel of downtown Los Angeles, but the water features also serve as part of the foundation of the building’s tiered DR response strategy.

Turning off the pumps to those water features—along with disabling water heaters and the garage’s supply and exhaust fans—marks the first phase of the building’s response. This Yellow Stage introduces curtailment measures that have little impact on the comfort of the building’s clients, and according to the building’s chief engineer, Shane Eaton, is generally initiated a few hours before the planned DR event begins.

The three stages of Bank of America Plaza’s Demand Response strategy can be implemented from the skyscraper’s Command Center on the 44th floor.
The three stages of Bank of America Plaza’s Demand Response strategy can be implemented from the skyscraper’s Command Center on the 44th floor.

As the day progresses, the Orange Stage brings additional measures that can affect client comfort as building thermostat set points rise. Among these measures are adjusting supply fans’ variable frequency drives (VFDs) and the rate of water flow through the two chillers.

Peak curtailment comes in the Red Stage—and with it, the greatest impacts to the buildings’ clients. Adding to the measures from the Yellow and Orange Stages, the Red Stage further increases building temperatures, limiting chiller and supply fan VFD settings to just 50% of normal. Yet even as Eaton’s team escalates their response to the Red Stage, there are rarely complaints from building clients; open and timely communication about the building’s participation in DR events keeps building clients up to date on what will be happening and why, with the reminder that these steps help ensure energy reliability for the community.

Bank of America Plaza’s Orange and Red Stages for Demand Response
Bank of America Plaza’s Orange and Red Stages include making adjustments to the building’s chiller settings.

Bank of America Plaza’s tiered response helped the building curtail an average of 680 kilowatts (kW) per event during the 2023 DR season. In total, Brookfield Properties’ four facilities saved more than 22,000 kWh of energy during last year’s season, earning the company more than $57,000 in incentives and a third-place Leadership Award for Demand Response at our 2024 Sustainability Awards.

Interested in joining our DR program? Learn more at our Demand Response webinar for Key Account customers on May 16, from 9 -10:30 a.m.; register by emailing [email protected] with your name, title, company, and phone number. To participate in the program, contact your account advisor or the Demand Response team to begin the application process.

Connections Newsletter for May 2024

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