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  • Writer's pictureBen Haley

DOE Building Technology Study

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

Evolved Energy Research partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Policy to explore the cost and energy savings impacts of paring different distributed energy resource (DER) solutions -- namely energy efficiency and flexible load. The study explored the interactions of the two DER resources at a state level to create supply curves of value per unit of energy saved (energy efficiency) or load shifted (flexible load).

New replacement technologies (energy efficiency, flexible load or both) were applied to 24 end uses and considered in 48 states plus DC, producing results for ~1200 results of a given measure in a given state. In 96% of cases, at least one technology scenario (energy efficiency, flexible load or both) resulted in system cost savings, compared to 33% when energy efficiency is considered alone, or 90% when flexible load was considered alone. In every state, the energy efficiency measure with the largest cost savings was a heat pump replacement of resistance heating.

A summary of high level findings include:

  • Results indicate that combining energy efficiency with flexible load can increase the number of cost-effective energy efficiency measures available to lower system costs, compared to implementing either by itself

  • Heat-pumps present a particular opportunity for flexible load with greater efficiency

  • Synergistic benefits because the heat-pump also provides air conditioning, allowing it to provide multi-season flexibility

  • Adding flexibility could mitigate local impacts for winter peaking or high distribution cost areas

  • Assumptions on distribution deferral value have a large impact on cost effectiveness

  • Results demonstrate on a high level the ability for energy efficiency and flexible load to reduce distribution system costs, but are not granular enough to provide estimates for specific distribution system areas

  • Half of the flexible load measures that are not cost effective become so in a high distribution avoided cost case.

  • To achieve savings customer incentives and/or utility control signals would need adequate spatial granularity to unlock deferral value

  • Despite large potential cost savings, potential barriers to adoption are not addressed in this analysis

  • Consumer adoption of analyzed technologies would be sensitive to incentives and other decision factors – these factors may differ by end use type, customer class, and technology (energy efficiency vs. flexible load)

  • How do utilities send the right price signal or incentives to customers to incent flexible load behavior?

  • For flexible load 89% of benefits came from avoiding new capital costs (transmission, distribution, or system) vs. 32% for energy efficiency.

This work was presented at the 2017 ACEEE National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource conference and at the AESP 2018 National Conference.


  1. Presentation with study results

  2. Detailed results workbooks for each distribution price sensitivity.

  • Dropbox: mid, high, and low distribution price sensitivities.

  • Google Drive: mid, high, and low distribution price sensitivities.

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