Show Me the Money: The Business Opportunity for Grid-Interactive Buildings
Grid-Integrated Energy Efficient Buildings (GEBs)
The vision of a smart, two-way grid interacting with smart, responsive buildings can deliver new opportunities to save costs for building owners, operators, utilities and operators. RMI’s work focuses on the value proposition for building owners to integrate their properties with the grid, while coordinating with the vast body of work on the grid side and addressing technological challenges.
The traditionally centralized, one-way electrical grid does not provide the optimal environment for managing many of the new and emerging energy challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Currently, buildings and utilities separately pursue energy innovations; however, these efforts are insufficiently integrated. Building owners need clarity around what to do and around the value proposition in order to inspire action. Utilities, operators, and others in the electricity space need to properly value the services that buildings can provide to the grid and align their pricing models with grid health and carbon intensity.
What is a Grid-Integrated, Energy Efficient Building?
Grid Integrated Buildings have a holistically optimized blend of energy efficiency, energy storage, distributed energy generation, and load flexible technologies/smart controls. This results in a lower, “flatter,” more flexible energy load profile, which in turn delivers a more resilient and productive building, optimizes capital investments, reduces operating costs and provides access to new revenue. At the campus or community scale, additional strategies such as microgrids and district energy systems may also be advantageous.
Why They Matter
Energy efficiency, solar photovoltaics, and load flexibility can have huge effects on a typical building’s load profile over the course of the day. Each of these elements adds benefits and challenges to a building’s load profile but, in combination, they can drive financial returns, improve a building’s performance, and deliver benefits to the grid.
What We’re Doing
RMI is working with industry leaders to develop a value proposition for building owners to upgrade their buildings to interact with the grid, engage with utilities, and drive greater monetary value, energy and carbon savings, energy security, and resilience together.
US General Services Administration
Department of Energy