Office of Energy & Sustainability

Summertime Demand-Response Program

Infrastructure equipment, services, and business hours required to maintain operations make Weill Cornell Medicine a significant energy user. For the past six years, Weill Cornell Medicine has participated in summertime Demand Response (DR) programs, which play an important role in maintaining the operation and resiliency of the New York City electric grid. DR programs are collective actions involving suppliers and customers that can help reduce the likelihood of grid outages, defer the construction of new power plants, and avoid turning on the least-efficient power generators during peak periods (dirty ‘peaker’ plants).  Electric utility suppliers encourage their utility customers to reduce non-essential electricity usage during periods of grid strain.   

 While enrolled in a DR program, WCM implements an energy curtailment plan to ensure there is enough electricity to power the needs of our community.  Belfer Research Building enrolled in a DR program during the summer of 2023, and Weill Greenberg Center and 1300 York Avenue have participated in DR events in prior years. DR events occur during weekdays for 2 to 6 hours and are initiated by either Con Edison or the New York Independent System Operator (the organization responsible for managing New York State’s electric grid). When notified, the Facilities Management & Campus Operations team will curtail electric load through actions such as turning on the emergency power generator, dimming non-essential lights in spaces such as corridors or machine rooms, pre-cooling spaces in advance to reduce cooling needs during the event, and turning off non-essential loads such as the BRB terrace fountain. Any proceeds from Demand Response enrollment are invested back in energy efficiency upgrades to further the campus’s sustainability goals and reduce future electric load.

During summer 2022, there were 10 DR events, and WCM reduced load by 410 kW, roughly equivalent to offsetting the electric load of five hundred 10,000-BTU ENERGY STAR-certified room air conditioners!

If you are interested in participating in an at-home DR program and are a Con Edison customer, you may enroll in Smart Usage Rewards. This program discounts the purchase of smart thermostats and can reward households for reducing electric use temporarily.

Did you know

Earth Day was founded in 1970. U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin called for a nationwide demonstration in the spring of 1970 aimed to raise awareness of environmental issues. It worked. The first national Earth Day was April 22, 1970.

Office of Energy & Sustainability 1300 York Avenue, LC006, Box 14, New York, NY 10065