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A commitment to energy conservation is paying big dividends for Eastern Kentucky University.

Through its participation in the Large Commercial Demand Conservation Program offered by Kentucky Utilities Company, the University earned a KU incentive check of $12,500. EKU became the best-performing higher education facility in the program in 2016.

KU and its sister utility, Louisville Gas and Electric Company, offer the demand response program, at no additional cost, to large commercial customers such as EKU who can support automated load management reductions. The program helps reduce overall demand on the electric system for brief periods of time, particularly on hot summer days. Customers who voluntarily participate in the program must commit to curtailing at least 50 kilowatts per dispatch event and can earn up to $25 per kilowatt-year based on their energy reductions. Events may be scheduled in the months of June, July, August and September.

"During periods of high demand, the EKU campus electrical system must be managed to ensure reliability and to meet the needs of our students, faculty and staff," said Ron Mink, associate director of facilities services. "Participation in the KU program offers us multiple benefits because we can reduce demand and energy, while critical campus systems remain uninterrupted. This allows us to create efficiencies and save money.”                

Eddy Cress, supervisor over the related area at EKU, used the University’s Building Automation System (BAS) Metasys to change the levels of comfort to higher temperatures for the typical four hours of demand reduction requested by KU. “This required money and manpower on our behalf, but it was worth it in the end,” Mink said.

Bill Cooper, manager for the LG&E and KU Commercial Demand Conservation Program, said EKU “deserves recognition” for its efforts, adding the University “went well beyond expectations” with its custom programming and resource assignments.

“Customers like Eastern Kentucky University play a critical role in helping us manage times during the summer months when customers’ energy needs are greatest,” said Cooper. “In addition to monetary incentives, this program includes a customized platform to help participants better manage energy use throughout the year.”

The LG&E and KU program is available through a partnership with EnerNOC, a leading provider of energy intelligence software and demand response solutions. On days when there are high demands for energy, participating customers are notified in advance and asked to implement their customized energy reduction plans that help reduce the overall demand on the electric system for brief periods of time.