Demand Shifting with Thermal Mass in Light and Heavy Mass Commercial Buildings

Publication Type

Conference Paper



The potential for utilizing building thermal mass for load shifting and peak demand reduction has been demonstrated in a number of simulation, laboratory, and field studies. This project studied the potential of pre-cooling and demand limiting in a heavy mass and a light mass building in the Bay Area of California. The conclusion of the work to date is that pre-cooling has the potential to improve the demand responsiveness of commercial buildings while maintaining acceptable comfort conditions. Results indicate that pre-cooling increases the depth (kW) and duration (kWh) of the shed capacity of a given building, all other factors being equal. Due to the time necessary for pre-cooling, it is only applicable to day-ahead demand response programs. Pre-cooling can be very effective if the building mass is relatively heavy. The effectiveness of night pre-cooling under hot weather conditions has not been tested. Further work is required to quantify and demonstrate the effectiveness of pre-cooling in different climates. Research is also needed to develop screening tools that can be used to select suitable buildings and customers, identify the most appropriate pre-cooling strategies, and estimate the benefits to the customer and the utility.


2009 ASHRAE Annual Conference

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