NREL develops model to expand rollout of grid-interactive buildings

The US Department of Energy through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed and published a new model to simplify and accelerate the deployment of grid-interactive buildings.

NREL developed the model through its Integrated Energy Solutions and Commercial Buildings Research division specifically for projects leveraging federal energy performance contracts to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings and their role in the stability of the main grid.

Funding for the development of the standard was secured from the US General Services Administration (GSA).

A grid-interactive efficient building is an energy-efficient building that interacts with the electric grid, using smart technologies to reduce, shed, shift, modulate, or generate electricity load as needed, according to NREL.

The model is expected to help increase the number of grid-interactive buildings to be deployed under the National Deep Energy Retrofit Programme which is managed by GSA.

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Sheila Hayter, NREL laboratory programme manager for DOE’s Federal Energy Management Programme, said: “Grid-interactive efficient building technologies will serve as an integral part of the ever-evolving energy landscape over the next few decades.” The buildings are expected to play a key role in the energy transition and stability of grid networks by providing demand flexibility, grid services, and occupants’ cost and carbon reductions.

The new model simplifies the four stages associated with the screening and selection of buildings for energy efficiency retrofits, including acquisition planning, utility/energy services company selection and preliminary assessment, pre-award project development, project implementation, and post-acceptance performance

The blueprint also provides the best financing models that can be used to accelerate the market for grid-interactive buildings, without impacting occupant comfort or productivity. The financing models include energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs), ESPC ENABLE (a streamlined federal procurement process for smaller projects), and utility energy service contracts (UESCs) and are useful for government customers who do not benefit from the energy efficiency and renewable energy tax incentives that private-sector customers may access.

Find out more about the model.