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NREL’s R&D 100 Award-Winning Tools Help Develop End-Use Load Profiles to Inform Stakeholders

January 06, 2020

Challenge

End-use building load profiles are critically important to understanding the time-sensitive value of energy efficiency, demand response, and other distributed energy resources. Various stakeholders—including electric utilities, grid operators, manufacturers, government entities and research organizations—require a foundational dataset to reference when making critical decisions about prioritizing research and development, utility resource and distribution system planning, and state and local energy planning and regulation.

Achievement

To provide this dataset, a team comprising NREL researchers and partnering labs is using a hybrid approach that combines the best-available ground-truth data—from submetering studies, statistical disaggregation of whole-building interval meter data, and other emerging data sources—with the reach, cost-effectiveness, and granularity of data-driven and physics-based building stock modeling. The project uses capabilities developed by NREL for the U.S. Department of Energy: ComStock and ResStock. The latter received an R&D 100 Award for its innovative ability to inform stakeholders about which home improvements save the most energy and money.

HPC resources are essential to the success of this project, as a typical analysis at the national scale includes the simulation of 350,000 building energy models. Each of the models on average takes about 5 minutes to simulate. Running a single national-scale simulation in serial on a laptop would take approximately 3.3 years.

Impact

By scaling up building stock simulations of the entire nation, this project provides a solid basis to help stakeholders make critical R&D and planning decisions.

Read more about end-use load profiles for the U.S. building stock.