Dense urban environments are exposed to the combined effects of rising global temperatures and urban heat islands. This combination is resulting in increasing trends of energy consumption in cities, associated mostly with air conditioning to maintain indoor human comfort conditions. During periods of extreme summer weather, electrical usage usually reaches peak loads, stressing the electrical grid. The purpose of this study is to explore the use of available, high resolution weather data by effectively preparing a building for peak load management.
The subject of study is a 14 floor, 620,782 sq ft building located in uptown Manhattan, New York City (40.819257 N, −73.949288 W). To precisely quantify thermal loads of the buildings for the summer conditions; a single building energy model (SBEM), the US Department of Energy EnergyPlus™ was used. The SBEM was driven by a weather file built from weather data of the urbanized weather forecasting model (uWRF), a high resolution weather model coupled to a building energy model. The SBEM configuration and simulations were calibrated with winter actual gas and electricity data using 2010 as the benchmark year. In order to show the building peak load management, demand response techniques and technologies were implemented. The methods used to prepare the building included generator usage during high peak loads and use of a thermal storage system. An ensemble of cases was analyzed using current practice, use of high resolution weather data, and use of building preparation technologies. Results indicated an average summer peak savings of more than 30% with high resolution weather data.