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Helsinki City is using public buildings to increase stability of the electric grid

Press release   •   Jun 13, 2019 10:00 UTC

As a city committed to being at the forefront of sustainability and innovation, the City of Helsinki is constantly looking at ways to make the city and its buildings greener. One new and novel approach being implemented is demand response (DR). By adjusting energy consumption during peak times with the help of Nuuka software, buildings can help maintain balance in the grid which leads to lower CO2 emissions.

The electricity grid must always be in constant balance. The amount of electricity generated must, every second, be the same as consumed. If not, the entire system can crash.

DR is a way for the grid provider to better keep the grid in balance and thereby more stable. Allowing them to be able to respond to the fast variations in the demand of electricity by consumers and synchronise it with the different sources for supply of electricity.

For example, during a cold winter day in January at 5 o’clock in the afternoon people get home from work, start cooking dinner, looking at TV, turn on the washing machine and dishwasher and (in Finland) the sauna, the electricity demand is very high during a couple of hours. Here a real estate owner can contribute by agreeing to lower the consumption during these peak hours. As a result, peak electricity demand is decreased, and starting an extra power plant can be avoided.

Grid operators are willing to pay for getting extra “buffer capacity” to keep the grid in balance. And DR is therefore a way for the building owners to earn money by offering this “buffer capacity”.

However, DR is not just a matter of shutting everything in the building off during times of peak demand. In order to decrease consumption and maintain operability, a building’s processes must be closely monitored and optimized. For instance, a HVAC system can be tuned to operate at decreased capacity ahead of peak demand without compromising the indoor air conditions.

With a need for accurate process monitoring, the City of Helsinki has chosen Nuuka to pilot a DR solution in two different school buildings. Nuuka software will manage the demand response functions, whilst securing that indoor climate as well as other building processes are in order. The initial tests have been positive. In the next phase, controlling will be done in compliance with Finland’s national grid operator’s (Fingrid).

For more information on Helsinki’s approach to demand response in city buildings and cooperationwith Nuuka, check out this video from the Smart Otaniemi seminar at 2:54:06. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=BJTDgiHmvlY

Nuuka Solutions is a global software company for large property owners, cities and retail. We develop and deliver a Smart Building Management solution that delivers responsible energy efficiency, reduces costs, and the opportunity for exceptional user and user experience. Our hardware-independent platform collects, analyzes and controls all real-time data in real time and integrates with all traditional real estate and IoT systems or cloud solutions.

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