Honeywell, a diversified technology and services provider, has acquired California-based Akuacom, a provider of automated demand response technology and services for the smart grid.

Akuacom will be integrated into Honeywell Building Solutions, a global provider of energy and utility services, as well as building automation technology and support services, Honeywell said.

The acquisition complements Honeywell’s experience in managing all aspects of utility-sponsored demand response programs — from program design and load-control technology to marketing and customer support, according to the company.

Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions, said: “Akuacom deepens our involvement in making the electrical grid smarter, more secure and more reliable. We have decades of experience working with utilities to meet their peak-load reduction goals, and a presence in more than 10 million commercial buildings and thousands of industrial plants. Akuacom provides the bridge between both sets of customers.”

The Akuacom demand response automation server provides utilities and independent system operators (ISOs) two-way communication with energy management systems at commercial and industrial sites. This gives utilities and ISOs the ability to automate the delivery of price and reliability signals to these facilities, and more effectively trim peak demand, adding to Honeywell’s energy management and smart grid portfolio.

Utilities and ISOs use demand response to reduce consumption when electricity is expensive and demand outpaces supply — usually on hot days when air conditioners and cooling equipment are running in most facilities. By working with their customers to control energy use, utilities and ISOs save money by eliminating the need for additional peaking power plants, which typically run only when electricity use spikes. Customers reduce costs as well by shifting consumption to times when prices and rates are lower.

Demand response also helps utilities avoid disruptive brownouts and blackouts. And it enables large-scale renewable energy adoption by absorbing the variability that comes with solar, wind and other sustainable resources. However, letting commercial and industrial facilities know when demand and prices are expected to jump has been a manual or semi-automatic exercise — cumbersome for all parties. Akuacom is the first to automate this process, the company claimed.

Clay Collier, CEO of Akuacom, said: “Honeywell is the ideal partner to bring scale to Akuacom’s unique technology. We can give facilities across the globe quick, easy access to demand response programs, and greater control over how they use and pay for energy.”

The technology is based on the open automated demand response protocol, a communication standard developed by Lawrence Berkeley National laboratory, and selected by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and US Department of Energy for the smart grid.

This open, standards-based approach allows almost any facility to participate in demand response programs. Energy management systems from more than 30 vendors, including Honeywell, can currently connect to the demand response automation server with an internet connection.