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Zhao P.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Henze G.P.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Brandemuehl M.J.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Cushing V.J.,QCoefficient | Plamp S.,QCoefficient
Energy and Buildings | Year: 2015

Frequency regulation (FR) is the electric grid service responsible for maintaining the system frequency at its nominal value of 60 Hz in the United States - an indicator of energy balance on the grid. In cases of mismatch between power supply and demand, FR resources either on the generation or the demand side, responding rapidly to restore system frequency to its nominal value. Due to the limited responsiveness of generators, fast and accurate demand side resources (DSR) have recently been encouraged to participate in FR. However, the tested DSRs typically require high initial equipment investment (e.g., flywheels and batteries). Large commercial buildings can provide effective load shaping with little impact to occupants' comfort and have significant amount of available capacity for FR participation. In addition, commercial buildings are characterized by numerous interdependent HVAC subsystems and control systems. Therefore, a high-level supervisory control strategy is needed that directs the interdependent HVAC systems for FR with strengthened interactions and depressed counteractions. Simulation results suggest that large commercial buildings can provide significant FR capacity and high performance scores. Dynamic building-to-grid integration automatically and continuously provides solutions maintaining energy balance on the gird. The benefit to the power system reliability would be significant. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Zhao P.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Henze G.P.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Plamp S.,QCoefficient | Cushing V.J.,QCoefficient
Energy and Buildings | Year: 2013

The heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems of large commercial office buildings consume a significant amount of electric power. Instead of passively consuming energy, these systems can provide frequency regulation (FR) services to the electric grid by adjusting the power consumption in response to a signal sent by the electric grid operator. This paper has four primary goals: First, it provides the theoretical support and states the need for using HVAC systems to provide FR. Second, it proposes two methods of using HVAC systems for providing FR - a direct method and an indirect method; these two methods are developed as models and tested in simulation. Third, it addresses the challenges of using commercial building HVAC systems for FR; this motivates the development of a new supervisory control method to support the HVAC system for providing FR service. Fourth, it evaluates the simulated results based on the performance based regulation (PBR) rules proposed by the PJM regional transmission organization; thus, it provides the reference for the future field-testing. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Pavlak G.S.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Henze G.P.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Cushing V.J.,QCoefficient
Energy and Buildings | Year: 2014

Providing ancillary services through flexible load response has the potential to increase electric grid reliability and efficiency while offering loads a revenue generating opportunity. The large power draw of commercial buildings, along with thermal mass characteristics, has sparked interest in providing ancillary services through intelligent operation of building mechanical systems. As a precursor to participating in ancillary service markets, the quantity of service available must be estimated. This work presents a model-based approach for estimating commercial building frequency regulation capability. A model predictive control framework is proposed to determine optimal operating strategies in consideration of energy use, energy expense, peak demand, economic demand response revenue, and frequency regulation revenue. The methodology is demonstrated through simulation for medium office and large office building applications, highlighting its ability to merge revenue generating opportunities with traditional demand and cost reducing objectives. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Pavlak G.S.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Henze G.P.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Cushing V.J.,QCoefficient
Energy | Year: 2015

In order to achieve a sustainable energy future, advanced control paradigms will be critical at both building and grid levels to achieve harmonious integration of energy resources. This research explores the potential for synergistic effects that may exist through communal coordination of commercial building operations. A framework is presented for diurnal planning of multi-building thermal mass and HVAC system operational strategies in consideration of real-time energy prices, peak demand charges, and ancillary service revenues. Optimizing buildings as a portfolio achieved up to seven additional percentage points of cost savings over individually optimized cases, depending on the simulation case study. The magnitude and nature of synergistic effect was ultimately dependent upon the portfolio construction, grid market design, and the conditions faced by buildings when optimized individually. Enhanced energy and cost savings opportunities were observed by taking the novel perspective of optimizing building portfolios in multiple grid markets, motivating the pursuit of future smart grid advancements that take a holistic and communal vantage point. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


QCoefficient | Entity website

QCoefficient Carbon LeadershipQCo selected as a 2015 finalist by Ocean Exchange -- seeking innovative, proactive and globally scalable solutions that support sustainability and that can leap across industries, economies and cultures.The Green Proving Ground Program leverages GSA's real estate portfolio to evaluate innovative sustainable building technologies ...


QCoefficient | Entity website


QCoefficient | Entity website

QCos software as a service (SaaS) platform features an automated, scalable, energy-optimization system that exploits the thermal mass of commercial office buildings to make buildings more energy efficient. QCo essentially turns buildings into batteries capable of energy storage on a multi-MW scale ...


QCoefficient | Entity website

Case StudiesQCo's energy storage and optimization platform has achieved significant energy and expense savings for large, commercial buildings


News Article | July 7, 2011
Site: techcrunch.com

A Chicago startup Clean Urban Energy (CUE) raised $7 million in a series A round from Battery Ventures and Rho Ventures, the company announced today. CUE’s software-as-a-service “exploits the thermal mass of commercial office buildings to make [them] more efficient,” according to a company press statement. The software was developed at the University of Colorado, which struck an exclusive, research and development and licensing agreement with CUE in 2008. CUE claims it can lower buildings’ energy expenses by 15-30 percent through predictive modeling and optimization. The company can also aggregate energy demand across portfolios of buildings in cities, which means it has the potential to provide more macroscopic benefits. Utilities and grid operators in big cities could use CUE technology to understand how their biggest customers are using electricity, and to introduce price elasticity in cities, encouraging commercial customers to shift power use away from high- to low-price (and lower demand) periods. Power generated outside of high demand periods generally causes less pollution, today. It also relieves power companies from the need to develop new power generating facilities— like coal or nuclear plants that nobody seems to want in their back yard. With its new found capital, CUE aims to grow sales throughout cities in the U.S. including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston. Jason Matlof from Battery Ventures and Joshua Ruch from Rho Ventures are joining CUE’s board of directors with this round.

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