The commercial building sector is showing a growing interest in energy efficiency, demand response and technologies that can help manage utility bills and reduce carbon emissions, according to a survey published in February by GridPoint.
A new generation of grid-interactive buildings are “able to drive energy efficiency, go after system peaks or their own building peaks and provide relief to the grid,” Rachel Marcus, demand response program manager at GridPoint, said in an interview. The company specializes in helping commercial building owners decarbonize and manage their energy use.
GridPoint’s survey queried more than 800 managers involved in their organization’s energy and sustainability decisions. Almost 80% of respondents reported energy cost increases in the last 12-24 months and 99% said they were concerned about the issue.
“Their budgets are not getting any bigger, but the prices are all going up,” Marcus said. “They’re all looking for ways to cost save, and they're looking to technologies like energy management systems and making their buildings more efficient. We're absolutely seeing a lot of expanded programs and opportunities on both the efficiency and demand response side.”
GridPoint’s survey identified the most common strategies commercial building owners plan to implement: 40% indicated an interest in expanded carbon accounting; 39% in demand response and demand management programs; 39% in expanding participation in utility efficiency programs and 39% in electric vehicle charging, either for customers or their own fleet.
“We were really surprised by the awareness of demand response,” said Katie O’Shea, GridPoint director of marketing, brand and communications.
Some 96% of survey respondents were aware of demand response programs, she said. “With this specific market, historically, it's been something we've needed to educate customers on and say, ‘here's how you can monetize your assets,’” O’Shea said.
EV charging represents one of the largest opportunities in the space, GridPoint’s survey revealed, with less than a third of respondents saying they have already installed related infrastructure,
“However, this increased demand will put more unpredictable strain on the grid and it needs to be thoughtfully managed,” O’Shea said in an email. “Having visibility into the usage and efficiency of EV chargers, including peak demand patterns and monthly energy spend, is essential for long-term success.”