Smart Grid to Smart Building Interface

The Texas Allergy, Indoor Environment,and Energy (TxAIRE) Institute

Significant progress is being made by electricity providers to introduction “smart grid” technologies into the U.S. power grid system. Through increased monitoring and analyses, power companies will be far better equipment to manage the ever-increasing demand for electricity. Today’s “smart grid” designs include the ability of power companies to reduce power service to individual buildings during times of emergency (power “brown-outs” or “black-outs”. Such actions may not allow for gradual reductions within each building, the need to maintain certain critical functions, or the ability of facility managers or the home owner to intervene and select where and how power consumption reductions should be achieved.

The opportunity exists however to link the “smart home” that is the internal intelligent controls of a building, to the “smart grid”. The TxAIRE Homes will include projects that demonstrate how such linkage and interactions could be achieved to optimize reductions of total power demands while retaining minimum critical functions within a home or office building. Working with local utility companies, the TxAIRE staff will develop, demonstrate the potential for such an interface. The TxAIRE Homes will also serve as a testbed for evaluating new devices and control logic developed by outside vendors interested in selling their products into the utilities marketplace.