Optimizing high-value energy efficiency and renewable energy in multi-scale systems that include buildings provides energy savings, energy reliability, indoor health and power quality, among other benefits. These benefits are not easily accounted for in traditional energy budget analysis, and their monetization is not included in typical cost-benefit calculations. Popular belief is that higher use of energy efficiency reduces return on investment (ROI) and that inclusion of renewable energy further reduces ROI. In fact, optimization of higher degrees of energy efficiency with on-site renewable has significantly greater positive economics. This is due to several factors including the aging electric grid—statistically having more and longer electric outages—and extremely poor electric power quality (electric surges, sags and transients) that wreaks havoc on digital equipment. Additionally, weather patterns are becoming more intense, stressing the wired electric system and fuel pipelines. As costs for energy efficiency and renewable energy are reduced and as these systems become more standardized and modular, it is more practical to begin utilizing these advances to increase operational resilience and make energy costs more predictable over longer periods.
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Sklar, S. Perspective on multi-scale assets for clean energy technologies in buildings. Environ Syst Decis 34, 323–325 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10669-013-9475-0
- Zero energy buildings
- Distributed generation
- Renewable energy
- Energy efficiency
- Sustainable buildings
- Multi-scale systems