OCHRE: The Object-oriented, Controllable, High-resolution Residential Energy Model for Dynamic Integration Studies

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15 Scopus Citations


Electrification and the growth of distributed energy resources (DERs), including flexible loads, are changing the energy landscape of electric distribution systems and creating new challenges and opportunities for electric utilities. Changes in demand profiles require improvements in distribution system load models, which have not historically accounted for device controllability or impacts on customer comfort. Although building modeling research has focused on these features, there is a need to incorporate them into distribution load models that include DERs and can be used to study grid-interactive buildings. In this paper, we present the Object-oriented, Controllable, High-resolution Residential Energy (OCHRE) model. OCHRE is a controllable thermal-electric residential energy model that captures building thermal dynamics, integrates grid-dependent electrical behavior, contains models for common DERs and end-use loads, and simulates at a time resolution down to 1 minute. It includes models for space heaters, air conditioners, water heaters, electric vehicles, photovoltaics, and batteries that are externally controllable and integrated in a co-simulation framework. Using a proposed zero energy ready community in Colorado, we co-simulate a distribution grid and 498 all-electric homes with a diverse set of efficiency levels and equipment properties. We show that controllable devices can reduce peak demand within a neighborhood by up to 73% during a critical peak period without sacrificing occupant comfort. We also demonstrate the importance of modeling load diversity at a high time resolution when quantifying power and voltage fluctuations across a distribution system.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number116732
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-77596


  • Building-to-grid co-simulation
  • Distributed energy resources
  • Distribution load models
  • Residential energy modeling


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