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Help Commercial Customers Slash Electricity Bills

You’ve spent years and quite a few resources educating and encouraging your commercial and industrial (C&I) customers to adopt energy efficiency initiatives. Now, the next frontier is to motivate and guide them to reduce their power consumption during peak on-demand times.

The On Demand Savings (ODS) program is designed to do just that. This 18-month pilot program provided targeted C&I customers with a real-time energy dashboard, demand-limiting strategies and financial incentives to help control summertime on-peak demand. In addition to demand reduction, these initiatives can also save customers a substantial amount of kilowatt hours, resulting in notably lower electricity bills.

Overall findings from the 35 actively participating customers show the ODS program’s success. These customers reduced their summertime on-peak demand by an average of 10 percent over the four summertime months, primarily through programming changes to their heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems. Customers also saw an average kWh reduction of three percent, for coincidental consumption savings.

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The most variable electric load for a building in the summertime is usually the HVAC system. A company’s EMS programmer or a trade ally like a refrigeration contractor or building management company can incorporate the following demand-limiting strategies into the EMS programming:

  • Pre-cool spaces or chilled water before the start of on-peak hours.
  • Raise space or chilled-water setpoints during high-demand hours.
  • Rotate cooling zones and cycle compressors to reduce the instantaneous load.
  • Optimize chiller plant efficiency by adjusting individual chiller loading and lead/lag operation.
  • Create a building schedule based on expected occupancy or occupancy sensors to reduce cooling and ventilation to unoccupied spaces.
  • Review individual room ventilation requirements and reduce air flow to lowest  required level.


  • Create lighting schedules based on expected occupancy or occupancy sensors.
  • Use daylighting sensors.
  • Decrease redundant lighting through dimmers or bi-level lighting.

Manual strategies

  • Turn off unused kitchen equipment, idling exhaust hoods, decorative water fountains and redundant elevators during peak hours.
  • Avoid using nonessential equipment like dishwashers, washers, dryers, sterilizers, trash compactors and forklift chargers during peak times.
  • Reschedule processes such as work on manufacturing equipment, large R&D tests and equipment testing to non-peak hours.
  • Reduce pool pump cycles, lower refrigerator or freezer set points and use the energy-saving mode for major diagnostic equipment.

ODS programs that incorporate these demand-limiting strategies can be a valuable supplement to utilities’ traditional energy efficiency initiatives for C&I customers. To learn more about these unique programs, download our free On Demand Savings whitepaper below.

Download The Whitepaper

Leah Maggio
Written by Leah Maggio

Leah Maggio, Energy Engineer II - Team Lead
Leah Maggio is detail-oriented, knowledgeable and experienced in several realms of energy efficiency solutions. She guides a team of advisors to better serve the commercial market while providing energy advice and coordination services to commercial and industrial customers. Leah is also responsible for providing her team with technical support and recommendations for specific modifications to clients’ existing building systems. Highly adept in electrical engineering, her particular expertise lies in powers systems. Leah holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.


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