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Alamo Colleges' Library Information

St. Philip's College
• MLK Campus Library
• Southwest Campus Library

Demand Response

Saving money and protecting the environment



  • Demand Response is a CPS Energy strategy to reduce 771 megawatts of energy use by 2020
  • Alamo Colleges has participated in demand response since summer 2013
  • Alamo Colleges earned $103,000 in 2013, $118,389 in 2014, and $178,756 in 2015 by participating
  • Alamo Colleges avoids CO2 emissions by participating; in 2013, this was more than 19,000 lbs!

  John and DR Check

Why Demand Response?

Hot summers are CPS Energy's highest electricity demand times, or "peak periods". When we power on our A/Cs, more power plants are powered up, too. This is expensive, raising electricity prices for everyone. 

If the demand is too high, even expensive energy won't produce enough electricity, leading to brownouts and blackouts. Plus, the natural gas and diesel plants used at this time are high polluters.

Instead of firing up more power plants, CPS contracts Alamo Colleges to reduce electricity use during these periods, and Alamo Colleges is paid what would have gone to peak power plants, via rebates.

Other participants include Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio Water System, Matheson-Trigas, and Supa Doors. Together, we reduce our electricity demand by 1300KW during peak times--the equivalent of taking 650 houses off the grid at once!   

What is Demand Response?

CPS Energy's Demand Response season spans from June 1st to September 30th. CPS Energy can call on Alamo Colleges a maximum of 25 times, totaling a maximum of 75 hours, to substantially reduce our energy use for any number of hours between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Alamo Colleges is given a minimum 2-hour advanced notice for a demand response event. 

Alamo Colleges begins to reduce the amount of energy it is using by an agreed-upon amount. Our HVAC (air conditioning) systems are throttled down to lower settings (NEVER turned off) to reduce it's energy use. 

Starting in 2015, we switch from real-time cooling at our chiller plant, to drawing from our thermal storage tanks which were pre-cooled the night before (for more information on thermal storage, click here).


See the CPS Energy website for more information on demand response in San Antonio.


How Can I Help?

If you notice the room warming, turn off unnecessary appliances (lab computers, unattended lights, overhead projectors, idling copiers/printers), and close the blinds on sunny windows. Keep the outside doors closed to minimize outdoor air infiltration. 

All appliances produce heat which can make a difference when our HVAC system is throttled down during an event. Additionally, employees are welcome to use desk fans and to take advantage of our summer casual dress to keep cool.

Note: Buildings should never become unreasonably hot or stuffy. If this happens in your study or work area, please notify facilities as soon as possible.