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Stored Energy from a Nissan Leaf Powers Historic Denver Building

(The Alliance Center Building in Downtown Denver; Credit: The Alliance Center)

The 40,000 square foot Alliance Center in Denver is installing a bidirectional electric vehicle charger and advanced software technology in the parking lot that serves the building; the system will use energy stored in a Nissan Leaf battery to charge the building during peak demand times. The system will lead to energy cost savings and a reduction in the building’s carbon footprint, The Alliance Center says.

The Alliance Center is working in conjunction with Fermata Energy on the project. Fermata’s V2B (vehicle to building) system “enables electric vehicle owners to make money while their cars are parked,” the company says.

The bidirectional EV charger transfers energy from an EV battery to a commercial building in order to support the building’s electric loads, thus reducing the energy costs of the building. This could add thousands of dollars to the value of an EV over its useful life while enabling building owners to save on energy costs, according to David Slutzky, founder and CEO of Fermata Energy.

The Alliance Center is a nonprofit organization with an event and collaborative working space in its building. It was built and constructed in 1908, but through upgrades it is now held to 21st century sustainability standards, according to the Center. It was recently named the most energy efficient building in Lower Downtown Denver.

Energy Savings at a Manufacturing Facility

In June of 2019, Fermata Energy deployed its prototype bidirectional charger along with a 2018 Nissan Leaf at a manufacturing facility in Virginia. In the demonstration, Fermata Energy’s bidirectional charging system discharged the batteries at the maximum possible power for approximately 15 minutes during the building’s peak electric load for a month. Reviewing a year of utility bills found that the Fermata Energy system, using energy from a single vehicle, saved the building $793.28 in utility bills over eight months.

Bigelow Tea is another organization using Fermata’s V2B technology, installing a bidirectional charger and demand-charge predictive software at its Louisville, Kentucky, facility. After seeing that the system can reduce building costs and improve its environmental footprint, the company is hoping to bring the technology to its other facilities, which would result in further cost reductions.

For companies with fleets of electric vehicles, owners and operators can leverage the fleet in this way to save more money, manage climate-related risk, and improve facility energy resilience and efficiency, Fermata Energy says.

Demand charges are a feature of commercial electric bills, which charge customers for their highest period of electricity consumption. Once installed, Fermata Energy’s system uses data points from a building, car, and charger to evaluate and predict when a building will experience its peak power use, and optimizes the dispatch of stored energy from the vehicle into the building, reducing costs. The interface is also an energy management tool that gives organizations real-time visibility into their energy consumption and system operation, the company says.

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