New technologies, such as air source heat pumps and smart thermostats, are changing the way we produce and use energy — making it cheaper and more efficient to electrify heat and hot water in buildings. As the power grid gets cleaner by adding more renewable energy, it will make home electricity use cleaner too. This reality presents an opportunity for buildings’ energy use to take advantage of the power grid’s flexibility. Home energy technologies can in effect turn a building into a thermal battery, precooling or preheating spaces and water supply, and can help shift electricity demand away from more expensive times to hours when prices are lower and renewable energy is most abundant.
Regulatory frameworks need to evolve to enable this transition to modern electrification. Many existing energy policies and regulatory structures, which may have served us well in the past, create unnecessary barriers now. Addressing these challenges will help realize the full potential of electrified, flexible, grid-integrated buildings. This guidebook — written with co-authors from Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. — outlines several ways in which regulation needs to be “renovated”.