Ten Questions Concerning Integrating Smart Buildings into the Smart Grid

Shanti Pless, Thomas Lawrence, Marie-Claude Boudreau, Lieve Helsen, Gregor Henze, Javad Mohammadpour, Doug Noonan, Dieter Patteeuw, Richard Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus Citations


Recent advances in information and communications technology (ICT) have initiated development of a smart electrical grid and smart buildings. Buildings consume a large portion of the total electricity production worldwide, and to fully develop a smart grid they must be integrated with that grid. Buildings can now be ‘prosumers’ on the grid (both producers and consumers), and the continued growth of distributed renewable energy generation is raising new challenges in terms of grid stability over various time scales. Buildings can contribute to grid stability by managing their overall electrical demand in response to current conditions. Facility managers must balance demand response requests by grid operators with energy needed to maintain smooth building operations. For example, maintaining thermal comfort within an occupied building requires energy and, thus an optimized solution balancing energy use with indoor environmental quality (adequate thermal comfort, lighting, etc.) is needed. Successful integration of buildings and their systems with the grid also requires interoperable data exchange. However, the adoption and integration of newer control and communication technologies into buildings can be problematic with older legacy HVAC and building control systems. Public policy and economic structures have not kept up with the technical developments that have given rise to the budding smart grid, and further developments are needed in both technical and non-technical areas.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)273-283
Number of pages11
JournalBuilding and Environment
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-67387


  • Building control systems
  • Demand response
  • Energy policy
  • Smart buildings
  • Smart grid
  • Thermal comfort


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