Steven T. Bushby of the NIST says the government is "ready to inspire a drive for building energy efficiency in America." He states in a commentary in The Energy Times that buildings are biggest users of electricity and that 84% of the life-cycle energy use is associated with building operation rather than the materials and energy used for construction.
Bushby, leader of the Mechanical Systems and Controls Group within its Engineering Laboratory, maintains that consumers will need more energy consumption information as the smart grid progresses and intermittent renewable energy sources are used. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has a program that provides the measurement science and capabilities needed to achieve energy-efficient building operation through integrated, intelligent, building systems.
Bushby lists the key measurement and standards needs including communication protocol standards that enable practical use of integrated HVAC, lighting, security, energy-management, and other systems to achieve increased comfort, safety, and energy efficiency.
He contends that embedded intelligence in buildings can significantly reduce energy consumption. For example, "HVAC energy use — the largest category building energy consumption — can be pared by at least 20%. At the same time, it will facilitate home and building-system integration with the smart grid."
He also mentions the Building Integration with the Smart Grid project, which is providing consumers access to energy-usage information through the Green Button initiative.