Homes, commercial and institutional buildings, and industrial facilities are about to get a lot smarter in terms of electrical use. Under a national smart grid effort, the American Society of Heating and Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) are jointly developing a standard to provide a common basis for electrical energy consumers to describe, manage and communicate about electrical energy consumption and forecasts.

ASHRAE/NEMA Standard 201P, Facility Smart Grid Information Model, will define an object-oriented information model to enable appliances and control systems in homes, buildings and industrial facilities to manage electrical loads and generation sources in response to communication with a smart electrical grid and to communicate information about those electrical loads to service providers.

“Smart grids lead to smart meters lead to smart systems,” said Lynn G. Bellenger, 2010–2011 ASHRAE president. “As the smart grid adjusts to suit load distribution and maintain power quality and reliability, one of the steps will be to communicate with building metering systems which, in turn, will communicate with building systems and equipment. This ties into demand-response control to reduce peak demand. One day in the future, we likely will have real-time pricing with dramatic differences in power costs dependent upon the time of day or grid load.”

“NEMA and the members of their smart grid and high--performance buildings councils see the creation of this standard as a strategic element in driving development of a nationwide smart electrical grid while increasing energy efficiency, occupant productivity and cost-effectiveness in safe, secure buildings,” said Jim Lewis, manager, High Performance Buildings, NEMA.

The proposed ASHRAE/NEMA standard will coordinate with work by the North American Energy Standards Board to develop a basic energy-usage data model standard and create a facilities data model that provides additional energy usage data for commercial and industrial buildings.