Written by: Marta Schantz
Each year, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Technologies Office (BTO) holds its Peer Review, in which industry experts provide a review of the organization’s active programs. This sixth annual review encompassed many of BTO’s active projects, and independent experts assessed the progress and contributions of each project toward BTO’s mission and goals. These assessments will be used to enhance the management of existing efforts, gauge the effectiveness of projects, and design future programs.
Waypoint’s experience in supporting BTO programs since 2012 means we’ve been involved in Peer Review since the beginning, and we have seen the value it continuously provides to programs. How often do we all get stuck in our own swim lane, focused heads-down on delivery and execution without taking a breath for air? The Peer Review provides the perfect opportunity to bring many of BTO’s projects to the forefront for discussion, brainstorming, collaboration, and big-picture thinking on long-term impacts and benefits to the market. In years past, Waypoint has presented on Building Re-Tuning Training workforce development efforts, on the Advanced Rooftop Unit Campaign market transformation activities, and Plug and Process Loads (PPL) Technical Team initiatives.
This year, our National Renewable Energy Laboratory colleague Kim Trenbath presented on our PPL team’s landscape analysis of technologies for connecting energy management information systems (EMIS) with plug loads. This concept of interconnected devices in commercial buildings was a common thread among many presentations at Peer Review. Identifying opportunities for efficiency among the different building systems - whether it be lighting, plug loads, or HVAC – presents many new avenues for energy optimization and savings.
Another hot topic from this year’s Peer Review is that of “GEB” – grid-interactive efficient buildings. Working in the real estate and utilities world, Waypoint has been a longtime proponent for demand response and load-shifting savings opportunities. It is great to see the DOE looking at ways that buildings can interact with the utility grid to not only save money during times of peak pricing, but also save energy overall and provide relief to the grid during periods of stress. When buildings are able to interact with the grid, it allows opportunities to integrate renewable energy and storage as well. This intersection of energy efficiency and demand management presents a perspective that will bring more advancements and innovation to the market for years to come, with DOE leading the way.