Major new metropolitan centers experience challenges during management of peak electrical loads, typically occurring during extreme summer events. These peak loads expose the reliability of the electrical grid on the production and transmission side, while customers may incur considerable charges from increased metered peak demand, failing to meet demand response program obligations, or both. These challenges create a need for analytical tools that can inform building managers and utilities about near future conditions so they are better able to avoid peak demand charges and reduce building operational costs. In this article, we report on a tool and methodology to forecast peak loads at the city scale using New York City (NYC) as a test case. The city of New York experiences peak electric demand loads that reach up to 11 GW during the summertime, and are projected to increase to over 12 GW by 2025, as reported by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO). The energy forecast is based on the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model version 3.5, coupled with a multilayer building energy model (BEM). Urban morphology parameters are assimilated from the New York Primary Land Use Tax-Lot Output (PLUTO), while the weather component of the model is initialized daily from the North American Mesoscale (NAM) model. A city-scale analysis is centered in the summer months of June–July 2015 which included an extreme heat event (i.e., heat wave). The 24-h city-scale weather and energy forecasts show good agreement with the archived data from both weather stations records and energy records by NYISO. This work also presents an exploration of space cooling savings from the use of white roofs as an application of the city-scale energy demand model.

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