GridOptimal® Buildings Initiative

Buildings across the country are becoming more energy efficient and adding renewable energy systems in the form of solar panels, wind turbines, battery storage and other energy technologies in efforts to tackle impacts of climate change. These renewable power resources are revolutionary, but present a risk to the nation’s power grid. For more than a century, energy from the grid has flowed only one way, from the large centralized (and likely fossil-fueled) power plant to the customer.

electrical tower, wind turbines, and solar panels representing the GridOptimal Buildings Initiative

Why is this change happening?

With the proliferation of large-scale renewable energy across the country, as well as other distributed energy resources such as electric vehicles and energy storage, new  challenges are present for electricity grid operation. Potential impacts of these challenges include increased  costs, missed emissions targets, and even blackouts.

NBI’s GridOptimal® Buildings Initiative has created new metrics by which building features and operating characteristics that support more effective building-to-grid operation can be measured and quantified. The initiative provides standards, tools, and guidance to improve building-grid interactions in the built environment by empowering owners, architects, and engineers with dedicated metrics, strategies, and pilot projects. By adopting GridOptimal building features, communities and electric utilities will have a new touchstone to support grid operation.

GridOptimal is a joint effort of NBI and the U.S. Green Building Council. The initiative is currently supported by: Southern California Edison; Austin Energy; Pacific Gas & Electric Company; Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Efficiency Vermont, and Energy Trust of Oregon.

NBI offers utilities and businesses the opportunity to guide the GridOptimal initiative in its early stages. Participants can receive benefits including:

  • Optional GridOptimal pilot building site for your customers or organization to use the metric
  • Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) membership
  • Regular project updates and access to results of research
  • Potential co-branded guidance and tools

GridOptimal Design Guidance

These easy-to-understand fact sheets provide key context and recommend selected high-impact building design and operations strategies for a variety of building types and U.S. regions.

Optimizing Building Grid Integration in Building Types Optimizing Building Grid Integration in U.S. Regions
Office Buildings Southwest United States
Education Buildings Northwest United States
Multifamily Buildings Texas and the Southern Great Plains 
Single Family Homes Northern Great Plains
Retail Buildings Midwest and Mid-Atlantic
Warehouses Northeast United States
Southeast United States

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