Unlocking the Smart Grid through Building Codes and Communication Standards: Code Opportunities to Increase DR Transactions

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Date Published




The smart grid and the technologies embodied within it will be a key investment in bringing our electricity system into the 21st century. With these technologies, we can unlock a diversity of demand-side management (DSM) mechanisms, including demand response (DR) transactions, behavior based programs, semi and/or permanent load shifting, deeper energy efficiency savings, and greater renewables firming capacity. However, a challenging chicken and egg market failure stands in the way of realizing the full benefits. Broader participation in smart grid markets will not occur until there is a significant investment in infrastructure that will allow seamless transactions. On the other hand, infrastructure investments will not occur until there is wider participation in DR transactions and customers’ responses to DR signals are classified with more certainty. Building codes and communication standards (C&S) can be an effective solution for overcoming this market barrier. C&S can facilitate participation in smart grid markets by increasing prevalence of enabled and/or connected loads and making the smart grid system more coherent and reliable thereby making DR transactions easier for all market actors. This paper delves into four sections related to C&S deployment of the smart grid: (1) key triggers for successful code adoption of smart grid measures, (2) evaluation of market pathways with and without communication standards, (3) opportunities within building codes, and (4) the state of the union of appliance standards. We conclude with a call to action to industry, regulators, manufacturers, and utilities to play a role in expanding C&S efforts to accelerate the smart grid deployments and realize its benefits.


ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Year of Publication



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