Smart buildings and their related equipment are being connected with a smart grid as a result of a mix of technology advancements, market factors, electric utility system needs, and governmental or other sorts of regulations. The introduction of technology and protocols that allow for efficient and smooth communication of a building automation system (BAS) with equipment and systems in the building, as well as data exchange (DDSs) between the utility or system operator and the building and its associated equipment, has been the primary advancement.
Smart meters and BEMS
Smart metres are one method of communication, but they are not the only one. Implementing standard protocols that allow equipment from many suppliers to interact with the smart grid is one important step in this direction; for instance, the OpenADR specification, a key component of the US smart grid interoperability standards. Data must be able to be transmitted to or from the building automation and control systems; communication between a building and the grid is merely the first stage. Building energy management systems have improved over the last 10-20 years to offer greater control of energy use within a building by Building Energy management systems (BEMSs).
A well-designed and well-managed BAS is the foundation for connecting a smart building to the smart grid. Another alternative for how a building's assembly of "Internet of energy things" will interact with a smart grid is the development of web-enabled hardware and controllers. In smaller structures, such as a private home, the hardware (e.g., a smart thermostat) may interact directly with the grid via wireless or smart metering. However, in larger facilities, a BEMS may be required to manage overall control in order to maximise equipment operation. The requirement for BEMS evolution, according to Lee, is to account for growing trends such as a building becoming a prosumer (a producer and consumer of electrical energy), the installation of electric vehicle charging, and so on.
Facility Smart Grid Information Model
Building management and control systems are evolving at a rapid pace, allowing them to connect with the smart grid. However, their development lags behind what is available on the utility side of the metre. The introduction of ASHRAE Standard 201-2016 (Facility Smart Grid Information Model), which provides a common platform for facilities to define, monitor, and communicate electrical energy use and forecasts, is one recent event that will help here. This can be used to steer the evolution of current energy management strategies in facilities. Other non-technical changes are causing buildings to interact with a smart grid.
In the 1980s, for example, several utilities began to offer customers financial incentives to allow the company to control a portion of their load for demand response. Programs like the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification system and the International Green Construction Code encourage high-performance or "green" buildings to include interaction with the smart grid. The technology that powers a building and its equipment is still being developed in order to improve connectivity and interoperability with the energy supplier.
Communication protocols like OpenADR, for example, were once thought to be only viable for huge systems and facilities on larger computer platforms. However, given today's technology, academics are working on ways to integrate even small, low-cost computational devices into the smart grid, including a single thermostat (residential or commercial).
Do you agree that these are the Ultimate technologies to integrate smart buildings into a smart grid efficiently? Share why (or why not!) in the comments!