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Buildings-to-Grid Technical Opportunities: Introduction and Vision

In this report, and in the associated papers examining building-to-grid opportunities from the three perspectives of buildings, the power grid and enabling information and communications technology, the Building Technologies Office (BTO) within the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy outlines the technical opportunities for building assets seamlessly to integrate and transact with grid operations.  It defines the characteristics inherent in transaction-based controls that are necessary to control those building assets and operations using a “transactive” energy approach that incorporates decisions based on a value, such as cost, comfort, asset valuation, or “green-ness” of the power.

This report envisions a transactive energy ecosystem capable of meeting all clean energy demands and capacity requirements—from generation to buildings end-use. This vision would allow the millions of sensors, meters, smart appliances, loads, and distributed generation to seamlessly communicate and coordinate. Ultimately, buildings would act as distributed energy assets, functioning as “shock absorbers” for the grid, opening new value streams for building owners and operators, and playing an essential role in enabling a more efficient, green, and secure energy system.