Building-To-Grid Integration Demonstration in Northern Ohio Begins

The Northern Ohio Building-to-Grid Integration Demonstration, a partnership between Case Western Reserve University, NASA Glenn Research Center and the University of Toledo, will begin this month in Northern Ohio.

“By using a ‘living laboratory,’ we can experiment with and demonstrate the real impact these distributed energy resources have and better position us to manage the grid of the future so that we save energy, maintain reliability, reduce costs and preserve customer quality of service,” said Alexis Abramson, director of the Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case Western Reserve and the Milton and Tamar Maltz Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

It will investigate incorporating smart building technologies on the three campuses with traditional, solar and wind power sources; batteries used for backup power, meeting peak demand and for non-peak storage; electric vehicle charging stations and more. The project is a continuation of the ongoing transactive control research being conducted at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The goal of transactive control is a two-way communication system that will tell users when power is cheapest, so energy usage can be better planned to reduce costs and demand overloads. The signals communicate the cost of delivering energy to a specific device in a specific location and, with the control of the owner, allows that device – such as a water heater or electric furnace – to make its own decision on when to use electricity.

“Such control of distributed resources on campus will optimize energy consumption across all conditions: when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing and when they’re not; when buildings are occupied or vacant; maintaining comfort and reliable operation of the laboratories, classrooms and offices as supply and use varies,” Abramson said.