ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 26

ROUNDTABLE
grid that's dominated by solar, your most carbon-intensive
hours are from midnight to 6:00 a.m. So the way the
batteries are operated today, your peak time of use goes
away. Your off-peak starts at midnight, and the batteries
start charging at that time. This is a pure demand shift;
it doesn't necessarily save carbon.
Storage has the potential to save carbon as long as
you are able to operate the energy storage systems at
low carbon hours on the grid, where you are charging
using renewable generation, and discharge
the energy storage systems during the high carbon
hours, usually dominated by fossil fuel generation.
But I understand that's not normally how we operate
storage systems. The way we have designed energy
storage and operation of energy storage today is not
designed for carbon optimization; it's a cost optimization
exercise.
Lowe: I think Ram is exactly right, and [he's] done the
analysis to prove it. I think the answer to the question
of how does storage help us decarbonize your buildings
is, as Ram has alluded to, a very local question and
really has to do with the delta or the change between
your nighttime base load resources and daytime.
In certain places like California, taking fossil generation
and substituting that for solar during the day
doesn't work. In a place like New York City, however, it
does work if you think about some of the more localized,
very dirty fuel oil power plants and your ability to offset
those with natural gas-that's overnight. I think it's a very
good question, but it demands a very local answer relative
to the emissions characteristics of the local grid in
which it operates.
MacCracken: Two excellent points, and it's really
interesting to see how things have evolved over the
years and how renewables and cleaner power during
the day is changing strategies. What storage does
is make renewables dispatchable. It's about being able
to dispatch. The logic behind how buildings used to do
storage, using off-peak power and saving money to cool
the building during the day. All that's going to change
now, as society moves toward focusing on carbon. It's
fascinating because it used to be that buildings looked at
electricity as being magic, and then used as much power
as needed whenever it was needed, and there was no
concern about what was happening on the other side of
the meter. And that drove energy-efficiency numbers for
buildings to always be optimized to the lowest amount,
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ASHRAE JOURNAL ashrae.org J U LY 2021
no matter when you took the power or where that power
came from.
Electric rates that vary day to night sort of changed
that. Building operators can optimize for that, but now
they will need to look even deeper into the grid for the
emissions. It's getting more challenging, but I think the
number one thing is that without energy storage in a
building, there's no flexibility. You have a system that
must take power when you need it, and there are no
choices. Whereas, if there's energy storage at the building,
you can modify load and patterns of use to match
what the supply is, whether optimized for carbon,
energy cost or the amount of energy.
Mueller: Traditionally, hot water is made on demand
or rapid recovery. This system is not very workable for
carbon reduction. Storage allows for smaller, more
efficient electric heat pumps to produce the hot water
required over a much longer cycle, lowering the demand
and increasing the efficiency.
Torcellini: Mark, would you say that storage at the
building level kind of helps future-proof your building
from a dynamic, changing grid that we don't really know
exactly what it's going look like?
MacCracken: Absolutely. My company's first installations
of commercial thermal storage were back in the
late 1970s, early '80s. And we have buildings still operating
using the storage. Back then the rates were way lower
at night and higher during the day, and then demand
response came in. That changed how storage was used
and the exact same thing is happening now. Let's say the
source of power is wind at night, so they can take wind
and charge the storage carbon-free. Flexibility-that's
the critical point.
Narayanamurthy: And, Mark, to add your point,
I want to recognize the value of building mass storage.
That's going to become more important when
we talk about demand response. Let's say we are talking
about adjusting thermostat setpoints. What really
makes energy shift happen is that you have some level
of thermal storage in your building envelope that helps
maintain the comfort. So even though it is considered
demand response, there's still a storage component to
demand response using thermostats.
Deru: One thing we keep talking around and haven't
mentioned yet is that storage makes buildings more
resilient. I think that's very important, thinking about
the future and how we make our buildings future-proof.
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ASHRAE Journal - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASHRAE Journal - July 2021

Contents
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Intro
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Cover1
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Cover2
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 1
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Contents
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 3
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 4
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 5
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 6
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 7
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 8
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ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Cover3
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Cover4
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