Buildings-Integrated Electric Vehicle Charging

NREL explores multiple solutions for the site-level integration of electric vehicle (EV) charging for workplaces, multi-unit dwellings, and commercial fleets.

Three researchers looking at computer screens.
Public and private charging for locations with a concentration of vehicles can be a boon to EV drivers and building owners and operators. Adding electric vehicle charging requires an integrated, holistic approach that considers building and other infrastructure loads to avoid impacting peak power loads, the need for extensive upgrades, and/or increasing electricity costs. Smart-charge management strategies can offer solutions.

Managed Workplace Electric Vehicle Charging and Building Energy Optimization

NREL investigates the cost-savings potential of managing workplace charging in accordance with optimizing real-time building loads. Tapping into operational data from NREL’s charging station installations, researchers developed and validated two innovative systems for peak-load power curtailment: a workplace demand-charge-management system and a charge management performance control system.

For more information, see Workplace Charge Management with Aggregated Building Loads, IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo (2018).

Workplace Demand-Charge-Management System

A workplace demand-charge-management system controls EV charging stations based on aggregated building loads.

Charge Management Performance Control System

A control system can improve charge-management performance using driver-provided information about energy needs and battery state-of-charge, in conjunction with a control algorithm to rectify inaccurate driver inputs when necessary.

Managed Charging With Site Load and Grid Considerations

NREL investigates charging scenarios to forecast the amount of energy required to charge EVs at large-scale commercial buildings, such as offices and shopping centers, and develops charge-control strategies to optimize EV charging at these facilities.

NREL has unique research capabilities to fast-track scalable managed charging solutions using the Electric Vehicle Research Infrastructure and Commercial Buildings Research Infrastructure platforms. The electrical infrastructure at these facilities, which connects to several campus resources, enables small-scale experiments and prototypes to validate and refine managed charging strategies in a controlled environment before scaling up to real-world implementation.

Behind-the-Meter Energy Storage

NREL explores behind-the-meter storage technologies to help manage the demand-side aspects of EV grid integration. Such technologies could support the integration of EV high-power chargers, photovoltaic generation, stationary energy storage, building systems, and the electric grid. NREL’s state-of-the-art facilities evaluate how these technologies can integrate across transportation and building systems. Further, NREL’s world-class Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems research platform allows researchers to perform crucial at-scale experiments, including necessary hardware, software, and controls validation, to de-risk and optimize electric vehicle charging infrastructure buildouts prior to an actual investment being made.  

Vehicle-to-Home Charging and Resilience

Using a bidirectional charger, EVs can be used to power homes or businesses. At a full charge, an EV could support an average home for several days as an emergency power source.

As a means of increasing resilience, NREL investigates vehicle-to-home charging strategies at the Energy System Integration Facility. NREL’s vehicle-to-home charging research spans:

  • Integrating emulated and real solar photovoltaic systems
  • Conducting power measurements for various residential appliances
  • Evaluating new power meters, sensors, and controls that can reduce the cost of submetering many circuits in a building
  • Investigating the performance of home energy management systems, the impact of demand response programs on individual appliances, and the integration of renewable generation and energy storage with residential buildings.


Andrew Meintz

Chief Engineer for Electric Vehicle Charging and Grid Integration