The White House on May 17 announced a slate of new programs aimed at integrating US buildings into the clean energy economy. The initiatives include electrification programs for existing homes, workforce training for next-generation jobs in the buildings sector, and efforts to increase the adoption of efficient electric heat pumps and EV fast chargers.
Alongside the plans for job training and building electrification, the announcement also highlighted the Biden administration’s goals for grid-interactive efficient buildings — a less well-known approach that has significant potential to reduce carbon emissions.
In this blog post, we’ll explore what grid-interactive efficient buildings are and why they feature so prominently in plans for a clean energy future.
What Are Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings?
A grid-interactive efficient building (GEB) continuously optimizes energy use by combining efficiency measures such as LED lighting, efficient heat pumps, and high-performance windows with smart technologies such as solar, battery storage, and integrated building controls. Rather than simply consuming energy from the grid based on the building’s baseline energy use and occupant demands, a GEB interacts with the grid to continuously manage its demand in response to key signals from the electric utility.
To save money, reduce strain on the grid, or limit carbon emissions from electricity generation, a GEB might shed load (e.g., automatically dimming LED lights throughout the building) or shift its load from one time to another (e.g., drawing from on-site batteries rather than the grid) in a practice known as demand flexibility, or load flexibility.
What Is Demand Flexibility?
Demand flexibility is a building’s ability to shed or time-shift its energy demand in response to near-real-time signals about conditions on the grid. Demand flexibility signals can include the current price of electricity, the availability of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, and the carbon intensity of the current energy mix. For instance, a GEB might employ demand flexibility to shift its peak electricity demand to a time of day when solar energy is abundant and might otherwise be curtailed.
Demand flexibility offers significant promise for reducing the carbon emissions from building operations, especially as the grid integrates more distributed energy resources. But the benefits can extend beyond cost and carbon savings. As detailed in a new RMI insight brief, buildings that flex their demand can shift energy away from peak usage times, when utilities often rely on fossil-burning “peaker” plants to help meet surging demand. Demand flexibility can therefore reduce the need for these peaker plants, eliminating not only their carbon emissions but also their significant contributions to air pollution.
What Are the Potential Benefits of GEBs?
The potential energy, emissions, and cost savings from combining energy efficiency and demand flexibility in GEBs are substantial. Buildings account for more than 70 percent of US electricity consumption and at least one-third of US emissions, according to the US Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office (BTO). A new GEB roadmap from the BTO estimates that smarter, more efficient buildings can eliminate 80 million tons of CO2 emissions annually by 2030, reducing the emissions of the entire US power sector by 6 percent. The emissions savings from GEBs would be equivalent to retiring more than 50 midsize coal plants or taking 17 million cars off the road.
Widespread adoption of GEB technologies would reduce peak loads on the grid, which would in turn reduce the needed capacity of the grid to meet those demands. The cost savings of GEBs would therefore extend beyond the owners and tenants of the GEBs themselves. By 2040, the BTO calculates, GEBs could save the US power system more than $100 billion in cumulative electricity generation and transmission costs.
What Are the New US Goals for GEBs?
In the GEB roadmap, released May 17 in conjunction with the White House announcement, the US Department of Energy laid out a goal of tripling the energy efficiency and demand flexibility of buildings by 2030, relative to 2020 levels. To reach that goal, the roadmap articulates 14 recommendations, from enhancing R&D for smart-building technologies to policy options for encouraging integration of GEB practices.
Among the roadmap’s recommendations is that government agencies should “lead by example” — deploying GEB measures in government-owned buildings to demonstrate the benefits and provide valuable insights and best practices for more widespread deployment. Already, the vast majority of US states have adopted requirements for energy usage or efficiency in government buildings, and demand flexibility could become a valuable tool for meeting those requirements.
At the federal level, the savings from GEBs would be significant. The US General Services Administration (GSA) is the nation’s largest landlord, with nearly 10,000 buildings and more than 375 million square feet of real estate under its control. In a 2019 cost-benefit analysis, RMI found that the GSA could save $50 million annually (about 20 percent of its energy expenditures) by implementing GEB measures across its portfolio of buildings. In all six locations that RMI studied in the GSA analysis, the payback period for GEB improvements was less than four years (and in some cases less than a year), demonstrating the soundness of the investment for the government and for taxpayers.
Next Steps at the Federal Level
A new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) provides a blueprint for the GSA to select buildings that are ideal candidates for cost-effective GEB projects. The report also lays out strategies and best practices for integrating GEB measures into the various phases of contract development for energy-focused building retrofits.
The NREL report notes that the sheer number of buildings managed by the GSA would allow the agency to screen its real estate portfolio for the highest-value GEB candidates before applying the early lessons learned in implementing GEB measures in performance contracts. NREL also notes that the buildings with the greatest economic potential for grid-interactive efficiency tend to share features such as time-of-use energy rates, high demand charges for a building’s peak energy usage, or utility or state programs that incentivize utility customers to be responsive in their energy demand.
One of the challenges identified by the new reports from BTO and NREL is the maturity and availability of some technologies that would optimize GEB implementation. Systems for coordinated, whole-building automation in response to signals from the grid are among the emerging technologies that will be needed to maximize GEBs’ benefits. The GSA’s Proving Ground program is evaluating some of these building control systems in demonstration projects, and the learnings from those evaluations should help to further shape best practices for implementing GEB projects nationwide.
The Path to 2030 and Beyond
By integrating energy efficiency, distributed energy generation technologies, and demand flexibility into its buildings, the GSA can help to advance the state of the art in grid-interactive efficient buildings. The proof points from GEB projects in the federal government’s building portfolio will not only help advance the DOE goal of tripling demand flexibility and efficiency measures by 2030. They should also make for a cleaner, more resilient grid powering smarter, more efficient buildings—all while saving taxpayers money.
Tesla Semi Delivery Event news hub: Livestream and updates
Tesla is holding its “Tesla Semi Delivery Event” today at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET) to deliver the first electric truck to customers. The company is also expected to have a presentation about the production version of the truck.
Here’s our news hub for the event, where you can watch the livestream and get updates.
Three years late, but it is now here. Tesla is going to deliver the first production version of the Tesla Semi electric truck to customers – to PepsiCo, to be more specific.
The Tesla Semi was first unveiled in 2017, and it was supposed to enter production in 2020, but it was delayed several times.
Now the automaker is finally ready to make the first deliveries after having started low-volume production at a facility outside of Gigafactory Nevada in October.
Today, Tesla is expected to deliver the first few units to Pepsi. After the launch of Tesla Semi in 2017, PepsiCo placed one of the biggest orders for Tesla Semi – 100 electric trucks to add to its fleet. The company planned to use 15 of those trucks for a project to turn its Frito-Lay Modesto, California, site into a zero-emission facility. Last year, PepsiCo said that it expected to take deliveries of those 15 Tesla Semi trucks by the end of the year before it was delayed again.
On top of the first deliveries, Tesla is expected to give an update on the specs and pricing of the electric truck, which are expected to be updated from the original 2017 unveiling.
Those are the base expectations for the event, but there could also be a few surprises since Tesla used the original Tesla Semi unveiling for a surprise unveiling of the Tesla Roaster.
We never know.
Tesla Semi Delivery Event livestream
Here we are going to share posts based on the most important news coming out of the Tesla Semi Delivery Event:
Refresh the page to get the latest information.
Segway’s 40-mile range Ninebot MAX G30P electric scooter falls $150 to $600 in New Green Deals
Are you tired of using gas and oil for your daily commute? Well, Segway’s Ninebot MAX G30P electric scooter is a great way to get back and forth from work to home without using a single drop of fossil fuels. It’s on sale for $600 today, which is down $150 from its normal going rate and also marks a return to its all-time low that we’ve only seen once before. We also have a wide selection of Tesla and e-bike discounts in today’s New Green Deals, so you won’t want to miss that either.
Head below for other New Green Deals that we’ve found today and of course Electrek’s best EV buying and leasing deals. Also, check out the new Electrek Tesla Shop for the best deals on Tesla accessories.
Cruise around on a Segway electric scooter
Through next week, Woot is offering a wide selection of Segway electric scooters and more on sale. Our top pick is the Ninebot MAX G30P Electric Kick Scooter for $599.99 Prime shipped, with non-Prime members being charged a $6 delivery fee. Normally $750 at Amazon or Best Buy, today’s deal matches the all-time low that we’ve tracked at Amazon. This electric scooter packs a 350W motor which allows it to reach speeds of 18.6 MPH. While that might not seem super fast, it’ll feel quick quick once you’re riding. The built-in rechargeable battery features a range of up to 40 miles as well, which should be more than enough to get to and from work or the store on a single charge. Once you arrive at a destination, the G30P has a one-step folding mechanism to make it easy to carry as well. There’s also a LED display, Bluetooth phone pairing, cruise control, and multiple riding modes to choose from. Oh, and the onboard display lets you know how much charge is left and what your current speed is. Of course, not a single drop of gas or oil is required for this to function either, making it a green alternative to your normal commute.
Save $650 on Segway’s Ninebot electric GoKart PRO at its second-best price of $1,650
Amazon is now offering the Segway Ninebot Electric GoKart PRO for $1,650 shipped. Normally fetching $2,300, you’re looking at the second-best price to date following a $650 discount. This is $50 under our previous mention and delivering a notable chance to save for unwrapping some electric kart action come Christmas. Geared for riders weighing up to 220 pounds, the Ninebot GoKart PRO can handle zipping you or the kids around the block at up to 23 MPH top speeds with a 15-mile range. Its durable design can also be folded down for transportation, and pairs with other features like an electric brake, integrated headlights, and taillights. You can also detach the included Ninebot S MAX which powers the experience for a self-balancing scooter ride alongside the go kart fun.
On the more affordable front of putting some gokart action underneath the Christmas tree, Amazon is also marking down the Segway Ninebot S GoKart kit to $1,239.97. This package is down to one of the best prices ever from its usual $1,550 price tag and arrives with $310 in savings attached. It isn’t going to be quite as capable of a cruising machine as the Pro version above, but can handle hitting 10 MPH top speeds with a 13.7-mile range. This Ninebot S model is geared towards riders up to 220 pounds, and can also convert between the four- and two-wheeled configurations.
SWFT VOLT e-bike packs 32 miles of riding for $600
Best Buy is offering the SWFT VOLT E-Bike for $599.99 shipped. Down from a $900 list price, we’ve seen it fall to as low as $500 in the past, but that was way back in January. This is among the best pricing that we’ve seen since. Ready to let you get to and from work without using a single drop of gas or oil. It can travel at up to 19.8 MPH and the built-in battery can last for as long as 32 miles before it’s time to plug back in. The pedal assist mode on SWFT’s VOLT will let you balance between your legs and the built-in motor making the e-bike go forward without having to exert as much effort. This pedal assist function also means that when the terrain gets hilly, the bike can take the hard part out of biking, making it so you don’t have to change how hard you’re pedaling.
New Tesla deals
After checking out the Segway electric scooter on sale above, if you keep read, you’ll find a selection of new green deals that will make your Tesla experience better in multiple areas. From storage to keep recordings on to phone mounts, car chargers, and anything else we can find, it’ll be listed below. Each day we’ll do our best to find new and exciting deals and ways for you to save on fun accessories for your Tesla, making each trip unique. For more gift ideas and deals, check out the best Tesla shop. Keep reading on for e-bike, Greenworks, and other great deals.
New e-bike deals + electric scooter discounts
You can use an e-bike or electric scooter for fun, exercise, or even transportation to and from work or the coffee shop. We have several people here that will regularly commute to coffee shops or offices on their e-bike, as it cuts down on fossil fuel usage as well as allows them to enjoy some time outdoors on nice sunny days. Below, you’ll find a wide selection of new e-bike deals and electric scooter deal in all price ranges, so give it a look if that’s something you’d be interested in picking up. As always, the newest e-bike deal and electric scooter discounts and sales will be at the top, so shop quick as the discounts are bound to go away soon.
Additional New Green Deals
After shopping the Segway electric scooter on sale above, be sure to check out the other discounts we found today. These new green deals are wide-ranging from outdoor lawn equipment to anything else we find that could save you money in various ways, be that cutting gas and oil out of your life or just enjoying other amenities that energy-saving gear can bring. As always, the newest deals will be at the top, so shop quick as the discounts are bound to go away soon.
Tesla (TSLA) gives $3,750 discount for Model 3/Y in the US this month
Tesla (TSLA) is giving a $3,750 discount, which it is calling a “price adjustment”, for every Model 3 and Model Y vehicle delivered in the US in December.
The move appears to be to encourage people to take delivery right now rather than wait for the tax credit to take effect in 2023.
Yesterday, we reported that Tesla is seeing some level of cancellation in the US right now for two main reasons:
- Long wait times are leading to some customers’ situations changing between the time they place their order and the actual delivery – resulting in cancellation. That’s quite frequent.
- In a more special situation, Tesla is also dealing with some customers looking to push their deliveries into next year to take advantage of the upcoming new EV tax credit. As we previously reported, Tesla is not as accommodating as other automakers when it comes to the new EV tax credit, and it is holding its customers to their order contracts – again resulting in cancellations.
We also noted that while there are signs of demand issues leading to Tesla not matching vehicles to buyers at the end of the quarter, it shouldn’t be a massive problem unless we see Tesla reduce the price of its vehicles.
Today, Electrek learned from sources familiar with the matter that it is offering “a $3,750 credit” for every customer taking delivery of a Model 3 or Model Y vehicle in the US in December.
Tesla communicated to its sales staff that the offer is temporary only for customers taking delivery this month.
This amount happens to be half of the $7,500 tax credit that is going to go into effect next month. Some automakers anticipate their electric vehicles to only be eligible for half the tax credit due to battery material and assembly origin requirements.
Tesla appears to be encouraging people to take delivery this month rather than wait for the tax credit in order not to be sitting on a lot of unsold inventory at the end of the quarter.
This is an unusual move for Tesla. CEO Elon Musk has often stated that Tesla “doesn’t offer discounts” and that its policy is to have consistent and transparent pricing across all markets.
Well, I said not to worry about demand until Tesla starts to offer discounts. Here it is.
But again, I wouldn’t worry too much about it since it’s clearly due to special circumstances with the tax credit coming into effect.
Everything points to demand coming back in a big way next month when the tax credit comes into effect.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
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