Custom Building Products recently announced that the company’s manufacturing plant in Bell, Calif., has been named “Energy Project of the Year” by the Southern California Chapter of the Association for Energy Engineers. The award is the result of a new system, designed and installed in partnership with Honeywell, that provides Custom with precise control over how the facility uses energy, enabling it to automatically respond to changing peak electricity prices and trim utility bills.
The award recognizes Custom’s system for its high level of substantiated savings, which will allow the project to pay for itself within an estimated five-month timeframe. Custom offset the total project cost via rebates from Southern California Edison (SCE) and support from a Smart Grid Investment Grant that Honeywell received from the United States Department of Energy.
For the project, Custom enrolled its 142,000-square-foot facility in Honeywell’s automated demand response program (Auto DR), to control how facility equipment responds to SCE’s dynamic pricing structure. This pricing structure bases electrical rates for commercial and industrial customers on consumption levels and generation costs, meaning that prices rise significantly during periods of peak demand.
New smart grid software technology allows Custom’s existing automation system to receive and respond to price signals sent by SCE. When pre-programmed loadshedding measures are triggered, the system makes adjustments that may include safely shutting down all but two manufacturing lines during a peak pricing event in order to save energy and costs while maintaining adequate production levels.
“This project enabled us to optimize our production lines to react to dynamic pricing, and maximize our energy savings,” said Jim Bell, facilities and maintenance manager for Custom Building Products. “While helping implement our complex automation strategies, Honeywell also identified energy-efficient opportunities, which will lead to both short-term and permanent cost savings.”
As a result of this project, Custom Building Products said it can shed more than 330 kilowatts of the company’s typical 520-kilowatt load during peak pricing events and realize significant savings. The new system also centralized energy management at the facility, for better monitoring and management of automated load reductions, and is helping Custom meet Air Quality Management District (AQMD) standards in Southern California.