North Penn School District

Fast Facts

Industry: Education
Location: Montgomery County, PA
Program: PJM Emergency Load Response Program
DR Strategy: Curtailment
Primary Curtailment Strategy: Temporary temperature and lighting adjustments
Annual Payments: Approximately $75,046
Electricity Consumption & Capacity Savings: $795,000

Getting Started with Demand Response

In 2011 the North Penn School District issued a competitive Request for Proposal for a professional Curtailment Services Provider (CSP) to enroll North Penn in PJM’s emergency demand response (DR) program. After receipt and review of five proposals, North Penn selected EnerNOC in large part because the value EnerNOC was offering went far beyond demand response. EnerNOC's energy intelligence software (EIS), which is bundled into NPSD's demand response deployment, gave the District the visibility it needed to better prioritize energy efficiency projects and the transparency it needed to engage its active, passionate community in its broader energy management goals. 

The Importance of Energy Intelligence

North Penn School District is served by three different utility companies, all of which have different reporting and consumption data retrieval capabilities. These capabilities range from a monthly paper bill with monthly consumption and demand, to 15-minute interval data for meters 500 kW and above, to 15-minute interval data for each meter. The utilities that offer interval meter data only provide the data with a two- to three-day delay. As any facilities or energy manager knows, you cannot reduce what you cannot monitor. With EnerNOC's software, facility staff can see exactly what each facility is using, where and when new peaks are set, and where energy is wasted. For example, every Sunday afternoon in the summer North Penn High School experienced an 80kW increase in energy use, which continued through the night. Upon investigation, facility staff found that the chiller tower and pumps were turned on in preparation for the following morning chiller start-up. The installation of simple on/off controls and including a schedule on the Building Automation System (BAS) solved that problem so that the increase in energy use on Sundays no longer occurs.

Getting Engaged

Partnering with EnerNOC for demand response was part of North Penn’s larger energy efficiency efforts, which also included engaging with the Alliance to Save Energy to run a PowerSave Schools (PSS) program in 8 of its 18 buildings. Just as EnerNOC's software empowers facilities staff with data and information, the PowerSave Schools program focuses on engaging and educating students and staff in energy conservation and efficiency. Around Earth Day, the school participated in a “Power Down for Earth Day” contest. With EnerNOC's energy intelligence software, each school could see exactly how much electricity usage it was reducing. Activities like “Teach in the Dark Day,” “Cold Lunch Day,” and “Outdoor Classrooms” are used to reduce electricity consumption. At a year end celebration, awards are given to those schools that perform the best.

The Results

Beyond engaging the North Penn community in a lifestyle that is more energy efficient, the efforts have had a positive impact on North Penn’s budget.

Specifically, in fiscal year 2011/2012 North Penn School District’s programs yielded (as compared to 2010/2011):

  • DR Revenues of $75,046
  • Cost avoidance of electricity - both consumption and capacity - of $795,000 (30%)
  • Electricity reduction of 3,909,459 kWh (20%)
  • Up to a 38% reduction in peak demand

In addition to energy reduction strategies, EnerNOC's software gives North Penn the visibility to be more strategic about when energy is consumed and take control of peak demand charges. By implementing a specially designed peak load reduction curtailment strategy for likely peak load contribution (PLC) days – the few days a year that set an organization’s peak demand charges for the entire following year—the school was able to considerably cut expenses. For example, the high school’s 2012/2013 peak demand was 1,353 kW but after monitoring and actively performing demand side management the 2013/2014 peak demand was reduced to 849 kW, a 38% decrease that will reduce the district’s energy expenditure next year.