Spotlight Report

Changing Building Design for a Changing Electrical Grid

The way we get our electricity is evolving, and buildings need to be ready to respond.

Renewable electricity generation has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. Ninety percent of that increase came from wind and solar generation. This capacity includes wind and solar generation and electric storage assets owned by utilities and those that are not owned or managed by utilities (including net-zero-energy buildings).

Generally, solar electricity is most productive during the day, especially in the summer, and wind generation at night, especially in the spring. Of course, both solar and wind are dependent on daily, even hourly, local weather as well. The existing electricity infrastructure was not designed for these variations, nor were most buildings.

Designers can rethink some priorities to support building-to-grid harmonization and play a critical role in de-carbonizing the electric grid through design and operation of “grid-friendly” buildings.

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