About

This website is a resource for building owners and developers, utility and program managers, distributed energy resource (DER) and other technology providers, utility commission and state energy office staff, and service providers and researchers, among others. The site highlights the goals of the Connected Communities program and presents resources to support deployment across the U.S., including challenges and solutions that may be important to consider.

Background

Domestic renewable energy production has been increasing, influencing utility electricity supply operations and creating technical challenges to efficient, cost effective, and reliable grid performance. This, and other reasons including deferred infrastructure investment, have led to a number of federal, regional, and local efforts to modernize the electric grid. This modernization includes advancing building technologies and DERs by utilizing “smart controls” and enabling these resources to become “smarter” by being responsive to both occupant and grid needs.

 

Efficient, connected, smart and flexible buildings are key to modernizing U.S. infrastructure, lowering energy use and improving the nation’s electricity grid. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Connected Communities program works to demonstrate how groups of buildings combined with DERs, such as electric vehicle (EV) charging, batteries, and photovoltaic (PV) generation can reliably and cost‐effectively serve as grid assets by strategically deploying efficiency and demand flexibility while reducing carbon.

 

Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings (GEB)

Grid-Interactive Efficient Commercial Buildings
Grid-Interactive Efficient Commercial Buildings

A critical component to the Connected Communities program is the GEB Initiative which works to help make buildings cleaner and smarter about the amount and timing of energy use. The initiative is sponsored by DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO). It's goal is to combine energy efficiency and demand flexibility with smart technologies and communications to inexpensively deliver greater affordability, comfort, productivity, and performance to homes and buildings across the U.S.

 

DOE Funding

As part of the Connected Communities program, DOE issued a large Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) in 2021 and selected projects that will demonstrate how groups of buildings can work together to reliably and cost-effectively serve as assets to the grid. This FOA is supported by a number of DOE offices, including the BTO, the Office of Electricity, the Solar Energy Technologies Office, and the Vehicle Technologies Office. DOE is dedicated to supporting a strong and prosperous U.S. economy powered by clean, affordable, and secure energy.

 

Efficient residential and commercial buildings equipped with smart technologies and flexible load capability such as smart thermostats, smart lighting, and smart water heaters, among others. Distributed energy re- sources (DERs) include but are not limited to solar pho- tovoltaic generation, electric vehicle charging, energy storage, wind turbines, combined heat and power (CHP), and microgrids. Integration of coordinated controls such as smart sensors and automated controls are used for energy efficiency and load flexibility to provide coordinated management both within individual buildings and across multiple buildings and/or DERs. Supporting the grid with the ability to provide a quantifiable grid service while collectively reducing carbon emissions. Energy Efficient, Smart Buildings Integration of DERs Coordinated Controls Supporting the Grid and Lowering Carbon A group of grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs) with diverse, flexible end use equipment and other distributed energy resources (DERs) that collectively work to maximize building, community, and grid efficiency while meeting occupants’ comfort and needs. Characteristics of a Connected Community