Field Testing and Modeling of Supermarket Refrigeration Systems as a Demand Response Resource

Michael Deru, Adam Hirsch, Jordan Clark, Jamie Anthony

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Supermarkets offer a substantial demand response (DR) resource because of their high energy intensity and use patterns; however, refrigeration as the largest load has been challenging to access. Previous work has analyzed supermarket DR using heating, ventilating, and air conditioning; lighting; and anti-sweat heaters. This project evaluated and quantified the DR potential inherent in supermarket refrigeration systems in the Bonneville Power Administration service territory. DR events were carried out and results measured in an operational 45,590-ft2 supermarket located in Hillsboro, Oregon. Key results from the project include the rate of temperature increase in freezer reach-in cases and walk-ins when refrigeration is suspended, the load shed amount for DR tests, and the development of calibrated models to quantify available DR resources. Simulations showed that demand savings of 15 to 20 kilowatts (kW) are available for 1.5 hours for a typical store without precooling and for about 2.5 hours with precooling using only the low-temperature, non-ice cream cases. This represents an aggregated potential of 20 megawatts within BPA's service territory. Inability to shed loads for medium-temperature (MT) products because of the tighter temperature requirements is a significant barrier to realizing larger DR for supermarkets. Store owners are reluctant to allow MT case set point changes, and laboratory tests of MT case DR strategies are needed so that owners become comfortable testing, and implementing, MT case DR. The next-largest barrier is the lack of proper controls in most supermarket displays over ancillary equipment, such as anti-sweat heaters, lights, and fans.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2016
Event2016 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 21 Aug 201626 Aug 2016


Conference2016 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

Bibliographical note

Available from ACEEE: see

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-67075


  • demand response
  • refrigeration
  • supermarkets


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