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Controls/Buildings to Grid

suburban housing development

Buildings consume approximately 73% of the electricity produced in the U.S, but through advanced automation and controls that can orchestrate the buildings to grid needs without interrupting comfort there is an opportunity to reduce that consumption by 20% - 30%.  There is significant mutual benefit to building occupants/owners and to the utilities – building occupants gain greater control of their energy use, while reduced power generation and cost benefit the grid.

ORNL’s buildings to grid R&D is focused on the development of low-cost wireless sensors and advanced transactive controls technologies to enable buildings to grid connectivity.  The cost of sensor technology has hindered widespread utilization of building automation systems, but ORNL’s low-cost sensor manufacturing approach has enabled significant cost reduction in wireless self-powered peel and stick sensors that are able to measure a multitude of parameters – temperature, relative humidity, and light level.

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ORNL is also developing transactive control solutions for next generation neighborhoods with community-scale microgrids.  ORNL’s research partner Southern Company is implementing these home and microgrid control strategies in actual neighborhoods and integrate with utility grid operations.  These transactive control strategies will allow grid-responsive control of the loads in the homes and maximize the utilization of residential-level resources (PV and battery storage system), reducing costs for home owners and providing community-level power resilience.