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Costain backs demand response

Costain hqUK: Engineering and construction company Costain has installed demand response on the  hvac system at its hq in Maidenhead. 

The installation follows the launch of its COdemand venture, which will offer demand response solutions to its customers. Demand response allows the demand of energy to be shifted in order to help manage fluctuations in electricity supply and demand on the grid.

The first solution brought to market by COdemand is Dynamic Demand, a technology developed by Costain’s partner, London-based Open Energi. The system fine-tunes organisations’ power consumption and is said to provide more flexibility for managing the electricity network.

The Dynamic Demand system uses a combination of software and metering technology to attach to machinery such as pumps, chillers and air conditioning systems. Operating through a Tridium controller, it adjusts the power consumption of an asset in accordance with changes to grid frequency, effectively turning them into ‘smart assets’.

Power transported by the National Grid has to be balanced to within a statutory frequency limit of 49.5 to 50.5Hz. If grid frequency drops, additional power needs to be generated which costs money and produces more CO₂.

Working in partnership with Open Energi, Dynamic Demand in Costain House, the Costain HQ in Maidenhead, will be active every day of the year allowing corrective action to be taken in response to changes in grid frequency. One of the main perks is that it creates an additional revenue stream paid by National Grid for adjusting energy demand.  This can all be done while working within the set parameters of the building’s hvac system.

In addition to balancing energy, the technology collects second-by-second data to help assess electricity use which can help to identify energy efficiencies and in turn reduce energy costs.

COdemand has been installed at Costain’s HQ offices to operate with the HVAC system. Although compared with large pumps, fans, heaters or chillers this has a relatively low maximum load capacity of approximately 0.75MW, 0.24MW of that capacity can be made available for demand response. Multiplied by the hours in a year, this equates to 2,122MWh available per annum.

Costain’s sustainable solution manager, Claire Baker, said: “Whilst Costain works with billions of pounds worth of the nation’s assets, we wanted to demonstrate that even relatively small assets such as those in use at our offices are often highly viable for COdemand. Whether a company has a 1MW ASP fan or a 250kW HVAC system this solution could deliver value. We are very excited about our partnership with Open Energi and are really pleased to have got the system installed in our own building and be benefiting from it.”

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