May 12, 2022
Sylvie Binder and Piper Fialkoff
What if there was a way we could equip individuals with the tools needed to combat energy inequity? What if small energy users were armed with the ability to shift the power away from utilities through simple, collective actions? That’s where GridRewards™ comes in.
It’s only been two years since the revolutionary technology was rolled out, yet communities participating in GridRewards events have prevented more than 200 tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere. This reduction of carbon is equivalent to taking more than 11,000 homes completely off the grid during high electric load events, 15,000 cars off the road for one day, or offsetting more than 500,000 miles driven. But how were these incredible results obtained? And what does that mean for the future of energy use?
We believe that when all energy users, small and large, take action during times of peak energy use on the grid, they have the power to become champions of climate action and energy equity. And they get paid to do it.
First, you should know what demand response is because it’s not a word you hear every day. When electricity users across a community utilize most or all of the power generated for use, their utility is forced to fire up dirty, polluting power plants called “Peaker Plants” to meet the demand. This leads to an excessive increase in carbon emissions and a hike in electricity prices. That’s where demand response events come in. When there is a strain of energy on the electrical grid — think hot summer days where everyone is blasting their air conditioning — utilities would rather pay their users cash to use less energy and, in turn, avoid firing up their inefficient, costly Peaker Plants.
At Logical Buildings, we help users participate in demand response events through our first-of-its-kind app, GridRewards. At times when we know utility-wide usage is high and when AC units are blasting, we send push notifications to our users to tell them to reduce the amount of energy they are using. Our users collectively reduce their need for electricity and save incredible amounts of money and energy — thus, we band together to create a clean, “virtual” powerplant instead of firing up a fuel-intensive Peaker Plant. The utility will pay users the cost they avoided by not firing up the extra dirty Peaker Plants that would have otherwise been put to work.
GridRewards users are urged to take simple energy-saving actions to reduce their load during peak times, such as:
Turning down their cooling system or turning off their fans.
Reducing their plug load, being conscious of devices that are plugged in that are not currently in use and unplugging them.
Switching off some of their lights.
Avoiding running the laundry machine, dryer, and dishwasher.
Demand response and the GridRewards app are powerful tools to create new routines and change consumer behavior around energy use. We encourage people to be more mindful of their power consumption, learn how their energy is produced, and take note of how our daily actions add up. Together with our neighbors, our small change adds up to real change, real carbon impact, and real money. Your utility could actually pay you for a change! Now, more than ever, it is important to understand how you can make a tangible impact on your community, promote energy equity, and face rising energy costs head-on.
Our work is not done until all energy users, big or small, join this major power shift. Each great movement starts with a single action, repeated until it becomes a habit. Second-nature. A no-brainer. Like turning off the AC and heading to a park on a beautiful summer day. We’ll wonder why we weren’t doing this before.
Sign up for GridRewards in New York & Westchester.
Sign up for GridRewards in California.