As buildings become smarter, their relationship to the grid is undergoing a rapid transformation. More specifically, the two are becoming increasingly synthesized.
According to “Building-to-Grid,” a December 2022 report from market research firm Guidehouse Insights, several market conditions are driving an increase in what it calls “building-to-grid (B2G) integration.”
The report forecasts market trends for grid-interactive buildings engaged in various energy-efficiency and clean energy practices. It examines those trends for the period extending from 2022 to 2031.
Foremost among trends driving integration is the global push for decarbonization. Buildings have become a key player in reaching that goal. Technological advances, and in particular the increasing sophistication of digital innovation applied to building energy management, have also made building-to-grid integration more accessible and cost-effective. Prime examples of this innovation include smart thermostats and grid-connected water heaters.
The tremendous growth of renewable power has also played a role, along with more favorable government policies.
Another contributing factor to the increase in building-to-grid integration has been the rise of so-called “prosumers.” This novel term refers to consumers, or more specifically, building owners and operators, who are now sending energy back to the grid with the aid of technological advances and incentives from government and utilities.
All these trends will combine to create tremendous growth in the market for grid-interactive buildings globally. Guidehouse forecasts the number of these buildings to increase from 67.9 million in 2022 to 202.5 million in 2031, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.9%.
This growth will not be achieved uniformly around the world. According to Guidehouse, the Asia-Pacific region will experience the most rapid growth, while growth will be the slowest in North America.
On the other hand, growth will vary by technology. The report examines three categories according to the type of technology buildings have adopted: solar, demand response and battery energy storage.
By far, the category with the greatest projected growth will be the grid-interactive buildings that have adopted solar technology. According to Guidehouse, these buildings will grow globally from just under 40 million in 2021 to more than 120 million in 2031, at a CAGR also of about 12.9%.