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With approximately 120 million homes and more than 5 million commercial buildings, the majority of our nation's electricity is used to power the built environment. Continuing advances in efficient and "smart" technologies, as well as onsite renewable energy, is changing the way power is used in homes, offices, and industries across the country.

With deep roots in advanced controls, energy analysis, and smart grid research, our expertise covers a range of key disciplines, including:

  • Transactive control
  • Building control systems
  • Data analytics and modeling
  • Energy storage
  • Grid cybersecurity

We support a vision where sensors, control systems, and other technologies work together to manage energy use. Tools that we've developed can coordinate electricity generation and consumption onsite, or "behind the meter". This expands the definition of connected buildings while improving efficiency and reducing costs and the impact on our grid.

  • IEEE Power & Energy Magazine’s May/June cover

    Transactive Times: Three PNNL Researchers Featured in Special Issue

    The May/June 2016 issue of IEEE's Power & Energy Magazine focuses on a topic that the grid gurus at PNNL hold dear: transactive energy. Three of PNNL's own leaders in the transactive energy continuum are featured in the issue, which may help demystify transactive energy and put it on the map as a novel approach for energy management.

  • DOE’s Patricia Hoffman Keynotes Energy Storage Symposium at PNNL

    DOE's Patricia Hoffman Keynotes Energy Storage Symposium at PNNL

    In May, experts gathered at PNNL to discuss the latest developments in energy storage at the 2016 Beyond Lithium Ion Symposium. DOE's Patricia Hoffman gave a keynote address, highlighting challenges and opportunities within the modern electricity sector.

  • If the Grid Becomes a Value Exchange, How Do We Assign Value to it?

    If the Grid Becomes a Value Exchange, How Do We Assign Value to it?

    In Transactive Systems (TS), value is exchanged between parties through a technology-enabled platform. When applied to electricity, this approach has the potential to provide critical flexibility to the grid, as well as increased value to individuals, buildings, and society. Researchers from PNNL and Navigant Consulting analyze this approach and offer insights and recommendations in a new report, Valuation of Transactive Systems.

  • Small Business Vouchers Further Clean Energy Technology

    New Method Shows Promise for Turning Energy Peaks into Valleys

    Early results from an experiment at PNNL strongly suggest that a new method known as Intelligent Load Control, or ILC, rapidly reins in a building's energy demand—without harming the comfort of building occupants. The results could help advance transactive energy concepts nationwide.

  • Pursuing Grid Flexibility, Avoiding Grid Lock

    Pursuing Grid Flexibility, Avoiding Grid Lock

    Distributed energy resources (DERs), like renewable solar photovoltaic and energy storage systems, are part of the answer to a more diversified power supply. But, the interconnection application process for bringing these new resources online has proven inefficient for both utilities and the owners of these systems. A new software tool, called GridUnity™, helps utilities cut application review times from months to only one and a half hours.

  •  Developing a Community for Connected Buildings

    Developing a Community for Connected Buildings

    Smart devices are everywhere, from the phone in your hand to the heat pump in your house to the thermostat in your office. A recent report issued by PNNL on behalf of the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy aims to take advantage of this increased connectivity with crucial marketplace planning.

  • Perfect Score: New Tool Makes Energy Efficiency Easy

    Perfect Score: New Tool Makes Energy Efficiency Easy

    PNNL's Building Energy Asset Score takes the car sales fuel economy sticker approach and applies it to buying and leasing buildings. The new tool assigns buildings a score of 1 to 10 based on user inputs such as gross floor area, address, and year of construction.

  • Modern Grid, Massive Potential

    Modern Grid, Massive Potential

    To meet new demands and priorities for a modern electric grid, PNNL is partnering on 40 new projects, ranging from control theory to grid architecture. Announced by DOE in January, the projects are part of a national push to deliver a modern, clean, more reliable grid.

  • How to Make a Modern Grid

    Beg, Borrow, and Share—A Unique Solution to Balance the Power Grid

    A new PNNL project called Multi-scale Incentive-Based Control of Distributed Assets aims to develop an incentive-based control system for distributed energy resources to balance power demand and supply, increase grid reliability, and decrease carbon emissions. The project was recently selected for nearly $2.7 million in funding from DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program.

Buildings-Grid Integration

Research Areas