Grid-interactive efficient buildings are the future, and utilities can help lead the way

Published by Alternative Energy HQ: More utilities across the United States are adopting programs to promote grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs), which will be critical to the grid of the future. Some programs focus on energy savings and others on demand flexibility, but none of those surveyed reap the benefits of fully integrating both, according to ACEEE research released today.These buildings, also called “smart buildings,” are increasingly important. They can help utilities adapt to rapid changes in the grid, including the adoption of technologies like electric vehicles and heat pumps, as well as new policy directions like beneficial electrification.

Although utility programs do not currently promote grid services and energy efficiency equally, there are reasons to be optimistic. California has developed policies to help promote grid-interactive efficient buildings. New York University is currently researching interoperability for energy management and information systems. New Buildings Institute (NBI) is collaborating with utilities to develop a framework to value grid services. Utilities, including Southern Company and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), are conducting pilots (mostly residential, for now) that aggregate different demand energy resources to help improve demand flexibility.

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