"Powershed" - Yet another way to save energy?


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Old 06-24-09, 05:09 PM
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"Powershed" - Yet another way to save energy?

I never heard of this term before. Learned of this from our buildings director, who has been in contact with other building owners over their energy useage, and what tricks they may be employing. One large refrigeration firm, with $18,000 monthly electric bills, said they use "powershed" through Xcel Energy (our Poco, out of the Twin Cities), so that at certain times of the day, voltage is cut back? So she said. I guess they dim the lights down some when you really do not need them full brightness.

I asked her if she heard right. This sounds sort of nutty if the whole buildings operations were put on such a plan. But if say only the lighting circuit was -maybe? But if they cut power to say refrigeration equipment as well?, I'd think that would not be good?

Tomorrow, I plan on looking into this further. That would take the cake if we could have been saving money on some plan nobody told us about!
 
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Old 06-24-09, 05:24 PM
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Well..it used to be that powershedding (maybe they call their plan powershed) was pretty common in my Navy days. If it was extremely hot say..or the provider had an issue while we were in port...they would ask ships to bring up onboard generators and switch over from shore power. Even on the ships if we went to one generator for some reason...they would shut down things not absolutely necessary.

I've heard of the same where non-essential loads..1/2 the lighting say, or the A/C gets shut down to lessen the load on the POCO in industrial/commercial applications.
 
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Old 06-25-09, 06:58 AM
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You are about right Gg. The electrician called me back this morning, after I left word on his answering machine last night, and he said they (Xcel) are not cutting voltage. They are cutting off the power the same way people can be on that plan where poco shuts off your water heater at certain times. The plan works well for certain places but not others. The refrigeration place can take advantage of such a plan, where a place like our building, that needs the a/h's running at all times and the lights on at all times, would not be a good candidate for this.

I told him that the way it is, we are doing what we can, manually, to conserve, like turning off the 56,000 watts of lighting, and monitoring the necessity of having the a/c or exhaust fans running when the building has low occupancy at certain hours.

What our building could really use are those new call-in thermostats where you can dial up on your cell phone to program. Even plain, manual programable thermostats are hard for us because schedules keep changing.

Our monthly bills are about $3 -5000 -a month! - based on if there are a/c demands or not.

I have posted about this before in the heating and possibly a/c forums: That I have even used fresh cool outside air to cool the building with, when that is possible. But that is not always possible, as the south side of the building, where the a/h's are, warms up at the back of the 30' high steel building and area rapidly, to where around the fresh air intakes vicinity it is too warm to capture any cool air, to do enough good. And to capture this naturely cool air that is say in the 50's and low 60's only occurs during some of the spring and fall. It is of no use, hardly ever, in the summer.

As soon as all those lights get turned on, the building warms up. Fortunately though, it sounds like they are going to be retrofitting with new Focus On Energy plan fluorescent lighting instead, that will keep the building cooler, and use less power!


I'd like to engineer some geo-thermal system back there, if I can ever get the time to clear the work cobwebs from my head, - may try to come up with something and make some phone calls. You know, like circulating water underground through radiators in front of the fresh air intakes or something like that. Two big a/h's are right next to each other and maybe we could experiment with these two (of four)units with something. I also thought it might be worth our while to run some sort of giant duct over to the sides of the building where it can be easily 10 degrees colder at the same time of day! But it is the expense of such plans, if you start hiring an engineer, excavators, pipes, radiator systems, control systems, motors, exhaust fans, new wiring to that end of the building, that is completely opposite end of building where all our power controls are, etc.

I always need more time to think.

.......................................................

All this gave me an idea. Instead of hiring such a project out to some local HVAC engineering firm (at $100/hour or whatever), we could try to get someone on the internet, who sits around all day, is maybe in their 50's, or 60's or 70's, and has no job, maybe disabled, is smart in HVAC/geothermal -water systems -maybe even a moonlighter - and would like to earn some extra cash, to devise a working plan! Everyone would be happy. We'd save money, and the old guy would have made some extra spending cash. **I'm** actually such a person (trouble is my mind is cluttered and busy with work and I get home and pop open some beers) - and I have met in my life, the kitchen table inventor types who just love being the one who masterminds something creative. There is nothing more satisfying than that, even when done for free.
 
 

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