UW Health: Savings Through Real-Time Data and Incentives


UW Health enrolled in Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy On Demand Savings pilot program which offered Madison Gas and Electric commercial customers tools to reduce electric load through their Building Automation Systems (BAS) during peak load summer months. Customers who participate in the program benefit from free energy dashboards programmed to operate with their EMS and provide real time energy use data. For each kilowatt of electric demand avoided during peak summer months, participants receive $10 in financial incentives on top of energy bill savings. The program spanned 18 months and customers with a monthly electric demand of 20 kW or greater and a functioning energy management system were eligible to enroll. As a result, the medical center has significantly saved money by managing its peak demand. By using the previous year’s data, UW Health predicted peak load hours and proactively adjusted temperature settings to reduce energy consumption. By better managing the building demand while still maintaining patient and employee comfort, UW Health has saved more than $9,000 on utility bills from June to September 2016. The facilities earned another $22,000 in incentives from the On Demand Savings Program based on their actual demand reduction.

UW Health piloted the On Demand Savings Program in two clinics and one medical office building during the summer of 2016 when outside temperatures were the highest. Each building programmed a demand threshold alarm into the building automation system (BAS) to be used during high demand periods. Now when the building demand exceeds the threshold, the system automatically turns off the garage ventilation (until activated by high CO2 levels) allowing the space temperature to float up by two degrees Fahrenheit in non-patient spaces in the buildings. These settings ultimately reduce the demand levels by 12 percent compared to recent years, without disrupting employee or patient comfort.

The breakdown of cost savings per building are as follows:

  • Digestive Health Center Clinic: $1,200 per month
  • 1 S Park Clinic: $600 per month
  • Administrative Office Building: $1,100 per month

Total financial return for the three buildings over the four-month period, including utility savings and incentives, was more than $32,000. 

In addition to the BAS optimization, UW Health implemented additional no-cost measures, such as asking employees to shut the blinds to reduce solar heat gain during the day.

For more information on the On Demand Savings Program, visit: https://focusonenergy.com/sites/default/files/2015_ODS_Overview_Sheet.pdf

To find out if your utility provides an on demand savings program, or other opportunities for energy efficiency incentives, visit: http://www.dsireusa.org/