DOE Invests US$61 Million for Smart Buildings that Accelerate Renewable Energy Adoption, Grid Resilience
Ten “connected communities” will equip more than 7000 buildings with smart controls, sensors, and analytics to reduce energy use, costs, and emissions.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced US$61 million for 10 pilot projects that will deploy new technology to transform thousands of homes and workplaces into state-of-the-art, energy-efficient buildings. These Connected Communities can interact with the electrical grid to optimize their energy consumption, which will substantially decrease their carbon emissions and cut energy costs. This project will help achieve the Biden Administration’s goal of reaching a net-zero carbon economy by providing a model for reducing the building sector’s contribution to the climate crisis.
“From our homes to workplaces, this groundbreaking, grid-connected building technology will help reduce our impact while cutting energy bills, maximizing convenience, and propelling our efforts to reach a carbon-neutral, clean energy economy by 2050,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “These projects will help universalize technology that can maximize the efficiency and sustainability of America’s nearly 130 million buildings and make significant headway in the fight against climate change.”
Connected communities of grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs) use smart controls, sensors, and analytics to communicate with the electrical grid, reducing the amount of energy they require during periods of peak demand. This capability is used to optimize buildings and distributed energy resources to maintain the comfort of the building occupants, lowers utility bills, and reduces grid system costs.
A recent DOE study estimated that by 2030, GEBs could save up to US$18 billion per year in power system costs and cut 80 million tons of carbon emissions each year. That is more than the annual emissions of 50 medium-sized coal plants or 17 million cars. DOE’s first two connected communities in Alabama and Georgia have already demonstrated this potential by using approximately 42-44% less energy than today’s average all-electric home.
“Lowering energy bills through energy efficiency and energy efficient systems is the best way to lower our carbon emissions and lower costs for businesses, renters, and homeowners,” said U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-18). “Developing new technologies to create connected communities that more efficiently move energy around is the type of innovation needed to build an affordable and cleaner energy system for the future, and I am pleased to see an organization from Pittsburgh leading a project at the forefront of this innovation.”