Chicago Smart Grid Moves Ahead

May 1, 2013
Pilot program to start later this year.

The BOMA/Chicago chapter has been calling for the creation of a downtown smart grid. The group recently took a step forward by implementing a pilot program that would provide real-time energy usage data. Advanced meters will be installed in up to 40 participating buildings to record electricity usage in one-second intervals.

“This is the first program of its kind anywhere,” says Michael Cornicelli, BOMA/Chicago executive vice president. “We will be learning and evaluating the program as participating buildings come online, and we have high hopes for its potential.”

The goal is to give buildings granular, real-time energy usage data that will better enable them to implement efficiency measures and reduce energy and operational costs.

Local servers will feed each building’s usage data to a central server that compiles and aggregates energy data through a network operating center, enabling participation in demand response programs that offer compensation for curtailing electricity usage when demand on the grid is high.

The pilot program is due to start later this year and is the result of partnership with affiliate member Automated Logic Corporation.

The long-term goal of the program is to expand its size and scope to include BOMA/Chicago’s 260-plus member buildings. These buildings represent more than 80% of the square footage and an estimated 1,000 mW of peak demand in Chicago’s central business district.

BOMA/Chicago estimates that 20% of that peak demand, or 200 mW, could be curtailed through effective participation in its smart grid program, which is roughly equal to the output of a mid-sized, coal-powered generating facility.

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