University of East Anglia helps to keep the lights on with Dynamic Demand


UEA has become the first university to install a unique energy management technology across its campus, helping to keep the lights on and boosting its credentials as one of the most sustainable universities in the country.

Working with Open Energi, UEA has equipped air handling units (AHUs) across its estate with Dynamic Demand, a unique solution which can adjust the AHUs energy consumption instantaneously to help National Grid balance electricity supply and demand on a second-by-second basis.

This is vital to maintain power supplies; if electricity supply is greater than demand, equipment could start to fail, if demand is greater than supply, the lights could go out. Historically, National Grid has always adjusted the supply of power to meet demand by increasing or decreasing output from power stations. Now, as our energy mix changes and the supply of power becomes less predictable and harder to manage it urgently needs greater demand-side flexibility.

By aggregating and managing the energy use of tens of thousands of power consuming devices from different customer sites across the country Open Energi can act as a demand-side power station, reducing demand when supply is low and increasing demand when supply is high.

UEA is the first university in the country to install Dynamic Demand. As part of a 10-year agreement, AHUs totalling up to 1 MW from across its Norwich campus have been equipped with the solution and it will be rolled out to large chillers and student accommodation blocks over time.

Installing Dynamic Demand was a straightforward process which involved integrating Open Energi’s solution with UEA’s Building Management System (BMS). Installation took place at the end of February 2014 and after testing the technology was fully operational by mid-March.

Critically for UEA, the AHUs are only used for a few minutes at a time and their performance is never disrupted, so students and staff feel no impact from the service.

Typical client profile for this project

University (Built Environment)

Challenges & Actions

UEA was the first university to install Dynamic Demand but good communication and project management have ensured the success of the project and seamless integration between Dynamic Demand and UEA’s Building Management Systems, resulting in no impact on the comfort of students and staff

Lessons & Results

  1. Universities (and buildings in general – shopping centres, leisure centres, hospitals, hotels, office blocks) can earn money by helping National Grid, the country, and the environment and get improved information on equipment
  2. It is important to identify which assets and processes are suitable for Dynamic Demand

The technology should earn UEA in excess of £60,000 over the next three years which will be invested in to future sustainability projects. In the process it will help to reduce National Grid’s reliance on power stations as a means of balancing electricity supply and demand, which will reduce UK CO2 emissions by over 2,000 tonnes per year.


“UEA has a top-rated School of Environmental Science and we are committed to replicating this success in the sustainability of our campus and its surrounding environment. Adopting more intelligent ways of managing our electricity demand supports this goal.

“Open Energi’s technology provides a cleaner and more efficient answer to balancing the grid than ramping a power station’s output up and down. We provide access to our loads within strictly controlled boundaries and in return we get paid.” Martyn Newton, Assistant Director of Estates, University of East Anglia

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