What is peak demand?
Most residential energy customers only see their montly usage in kilowatt hours (KwH) on their electricity bills. This is the measurement of kilowatts (KW) over time. Commercial customers also have what is called a demand charge. Demand (measured in KW) is the amount of power the campus is using at a given time. The more appliances, lighting, and other electrical devices that are being used at the same time, the more demand is being put on the electric grid.
Energy companies must be concerned not only with the total amount of electrical power they have available, but also with how much power they are able to provide at any given time. Demand can be especially high during warmer months because of the large amount of energy required by air conditioning systems.
Peak demand (also called 'peak load') is a term used by energy companies that signifies the highest demand a customer puts on the grid within a given time frame. The amount of time and the way the customer is billed varies, but in general, the higher of a peak demand you set the higher your energy bill will be. In some cases, establishing a higher peak demand can equate to much higher costs.
What can you do to help?
During the warmest part of the day, turn off and, where possible, unplug devices you aren't using - including computer monitors, printers, and lighting. Even if you aren't using an electronic device and it's in an 'off' mode, it will generally still use some power (called 'phantom load' or 'standby power') as long as it is plugged in. This is especially true for older equipment.
With combined efforts from the faculty, staff, and students of IUB, we can reduce the peak demand of our campus, save money, and prevent more carbon emissions. If you have questions about peak demand and energy costs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.