Buildings account for more than 70% of U.S. electricity use and one-third of economy-wide CO2 emissions. Andrew Satchwell at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory presents the U.S. Department of Energy’s comprehensive plan, “A National Roadmap for Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings”, that could deliver up to $200bn in savings to the U.S. power system and cut CO2 emissions by 80m tons per year by 2030 (6% of total power sector emissions). The report explains that technical and market barriers are impeding these benefits from being realised. And the rise of variable renewables, new storage solutions and distributed energy resources makes the integration of buildings a matter of urgency. The roadmap contains 14 recommendations for addressing the top barriers. It concludes that action can begin immediately and completion of the most significant activities is feasible within the next two years. Priorities include technology improvements; developing tools that coordinate energy, non-energy, and financial benefits; training workers on the innovative technologies; federal, state, and local government “leading by example”; communicating the value proposition to all stakeholders.
We are pleased to announce the publication of A National Roadmap for Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings, a comprehensive plan describing the value that grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs) can add to the power system, their technology attributes, and recommendations for addressing the top barriers to GEB adoption and deployment.
The way electricity is generated and consumed in the US is quickly changing, including in terms of the rapid growth in variable power generation resources and the need for large-scale investments to replace aging infrastructure and modernise the grid. Buildings that coordinate electricity use with grid conditions are a flexible and cost-effective resource to address the evolving power system challenges.
GEBS offer broad benefits for the US electric power system
Outfitted with smart technologies, GEBs are energy-efficient buildings with smart technologies characterised by the active use of distributed energy resources to optimise energy use for grid services, occupant needs and preferences, and cost reductions in a continuous and integrated way. In doing so, GEBs can play a key role in promoting greater affordability, resilience, environmental performance, and reliability.
The Roadmap – which was developed by a team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and The Brattle Group in collaboration with the US Department of Energy (DOE) Building Technologies Office – identifies the most important barriers and outlines the key opportunities for full implementation of GEBs and associated demand flexibility.
The report finds that, over the next two decades, GEBs could deliver between $100 and $200 billion in savings to the US power system and cut CO2 emissions by 80 million tons per year by 2030, or 6% of total power sector CO2 emissions.
GEBs could save more than the annual emissions of 50 medium-sized coal plants, or 17 million cars.
The Roadmap provides 14 recommendations for addressing the top barriers to GEB adoption and deployment. Action can begin immediately on each recommendation, with completion of the most significant implementation activities being feasible within the next two years.
Highlighted priority actions from the Roadmap include:
- Improving technology interoperability and integration, along with specific hardware improvements, through research, development, and deployment.
- Enhancing and communicating the value proposition of GEBs to consumers, utilities, aggregators, grid operators, and regulators.
- Developing tools that co-optimise energy, non-energy, and financial benefits, as well as training workers on these innovative technologies.
- Using federal, state, and local government actions to “lead by example” with government buildings, expanding funding and financing, setting codes and standards, and establishing targets.
“A National Roadmap for Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings” was prepared for the DOE Building Technologies Office by researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, The Brattle Group, Energy Solutions, and the Wedgemere Group, under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 with the US DOE.
Andrew Satchwell is a Research Scientist and Deputy Leader in the Electricity Markets and Policy Department at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
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