Welcome to Connected Communities
A New Era for Smart Buildings and Grid Solutions
It is my pleasure to share news about the newly-launched U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Connected Communities initiative. Our first cohort of nine competitively-awarded projects will advance the state of the art for grid-interactive efficient buildings (GEBs) and demonstrate effective ways to move forward on demand flexibility and incorporation of distributed energy resources (DERs), to provide grid services while decarbonizing our buildings and electric grid. This innovative program was jointly sponsored by the Building Technologies Office, Office of Electricity, Solar Energy Technologies Office, and the Vehicle Technologies Office. We are truly excited and inspired by these diverse, innovative projects and talented teams! Please visit the Connected Communities website to learn more and keep up to date on these projects as they develop, and gain access to valuable resources and events that support the transition to a clean energy future.

Ram Narayanamurthy
Program Manager, Emerging Technologies
U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office
Nine Inaugural Connected Communities Projects Launched
The DOE launched the inaugural cohort of its Connected Communities (CC) initiative at The Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus, Ohio on November 2, 2022. US DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Acting Assistant Secretary Alejandro Moreno joined leaders from the project teams, BTO, and national labs at the daylong event. The kickoff provided the first of many opportunities project teams will have to engage with each other and industry stakeholders as they work as a collaborative cohort over the five-year project timeline. The demonstration projects will employ coordinated controls and smart technologies (e.g., smart thermostats, smart water heaters, batteries) to interact with the electric grid and coordinate electric demand flexibility across connected sets of buildings. The projects span building and community types, from multifamily affordable housing and new single-family communities to large commercial buildings, municipal buildings, and college campuses. The project teams comprise a cross-section of building industry stakeholders including utilities, local and state governments, demand response aggregators, technology firms, renewable energy and storage providers, home-builders, end-users, educational and research organizations, and several national labs.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is the National Coordinator. In that role, Berkeley Lab will provide technical assistance to the project cohort, support evaluation of the projects, conduct cross-cutting analysis of the program, and lead industry engagement to facilitate information exchange with stakeholders nationwide. 

[Photo: commemorative ribbon-cutting at the OSU East Regional chilled water plant, November 2, 2022. L to R: Michael Hagenberger, OSU Associate Dean for Facilities and Capital Planning; Mark Conselyea, OSU VP for Facilities, Johney Green, Associate Lab Director, NREL; Stacy Rastauskas Bretherton, VP for Government Affairs, OSU; Alejandro Moreno, DOE EERE Acting Assistant Secretary; Ayanna Howard, Dean College of Engineering, OSU; David Ball, VP of Energy Delivery Operations, AEP; Kate Bartter, Executive Director of the Sustainability Institute, OSU; Serdar Tufecki, VP Head of Major Partnerships, ENGIE; Mary Ann Piette, Acting Associate Lab Director, Berkeley Lab; Ram Narayanamurthy, DOE-BTO Energy Technologies Program Manager. Photo by OSU.]
Project Highlight: Providing Grid Services Across Connected Mixed-Use Buildings
PacifiCorp is implementing its “Utility Managed Distributed Energy Resources Intelligent Community (“UDERMS iCommunity”) Connected Communities project across multiple buildings in Utah. The project will provide peak electric load management, frequency regulation, and contingency reserves to integrate intermittent renewable energy sources and enhance resiliency at the electric distribution level. The connected buildings include a large apartment complex, mixed-use retail and apartments, a mass transit center, a manufacturing facility, a university office and lab buildings, and single-family residences. The project will integrate flexible and connected load technologies such as heat pumps, tankless hot water heating, electric vehicles, solar photovoltaics, and adaptive building envelope and lighting upgrades. Key collaborators include Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Utah State University, the University of Utah, Open Systems International, the Giv Group, Wasatch Group, Sonnen Batteries, the State of Utah, Utah Transit Authority, the National Association of State Energy Officials and the Edison Electric institute.

[Image: Soleil Lofts Apartments, Utah. Image provided by PacifiCorp.]
GEB Storage and Connected Communities Featured at PLMA Conference November 14
Berkeley Lab will present in two interactive panel sessions at the Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA) 46th Annual Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 14, 2022.

Session 1, "Challenges and Opportunities for Integrating Energy Storage in Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings" takes place at 12 p.m. This session will introduce a new initiative to expand the DOE Building Technologies Office's (DOE-BTO) National Roadmap for Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings (GEBs) to more fully address barriers and opportunities for wider deployment of energy storage in buildings. This initiative will identify needs across the technology deployment spectrum, from R&D to field demonstrations to policies encouraging storage adoption. The effort is also developing several case studies that illustrate the potential for storage to provide benefits to building occupants, owners, service providers, and the grid. Moderator Cecilia Johnson, Ph.D., Science and Technology Policy Fellow supporting DOE-BTO, will be joined by panelists Rich Brown and Jason MacDonald (Berkeley Lab), Courtney Blodgett (Edo Energy), and Dave Ericson (New Hampshire Electric Cooperative). Join this interactive discussion on how the U.S. DOE can help enable and facilitate the adoption of energy storage in GEBs.

Session 2, "Connected Communities: Scaling Grid-Interactive, Decarbonized Buildings" takes place at 1 p.m. This highly interactive session will explore the Connected Communities projects’ diverse approaches to delivering demand flexibility and grid services through coordinated controls. Discussion topics will include goals, approaches, expected challenges, and how each project’s approach addresses grid issues for its region and regulatory/business environment. Moderator Cindy Regnier, Technical Leader for Commercial Building Systems at Berkeley Lab, will be joined by Connected Communities panelists James Campbell (PacifiCorp), Cecilia Johnson, Siva Sankaranarayanan (Electric Power Research Institute), and Timothy Treadwell (Portland General Electric).

[Image source: National Roadmap for Grid-interactive Efficient Building, U.S. DOE.]
Connected Communities Website - A GEB and DER Information Hub
The DOE and Berkeley Lab have launched the Connected Communities website as an information hub for the program and to share relevant resources on GEBs, demand flexibility and DERs. There you will find a large and growing library of resources including downloadable research reports, case studies, and tools, as well as updates on industry news and events.

The site features several topical resources sections, including: Technologies and Controls; Users, Providers and Operators; Policies; and Utility Programs. Downloadable reports address such topics as technology pilots and deployments, flexible demand equipment standards, DER standards, utility regulation, legislation and utility proceedings, electricity sector planning, executive orders, financing, utility and ratepayer-funded programs, and more.

Please contact the Berkeley Lab Connected Communities team ([email protected]) if you have resources, events or ideas you wish to share! 
To learn more about connected communities, GEBs, and grid services visit