Future Lab: Energy Research

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Zero energy buildings, known as ZEB and also known as zero net energy buildings, promise to have a huge impact on energy consumption globally, especially since office and commercial buildings use nearly 40% of fossil based energy in the U.S. and Europe. Milan Milenkovic, who heads up the zero net energy project for Intel Labs, is a visionary. His vision is positive net energy buildings. In his imagination he sees your computer going to sleep when you walk away from your desk. It senses you and knows the difference between you and other people. It illustrates how energy systems will soon operate beyond today’s concept of supply and demand. For example, your electric car’s energy needs will exist in conjunction with the other electric cars in your neighborhood, asserts Intel Labs’ researcher Annabelle Pratt, who has been studying intelligent cars and the energy grid. “If real‑time [energy] pricing becomes dynamic,” she says, “and we get rate structures set in place where we could have localized pricing to address localized conditions, you could locally change the electricity cost profile to promote charging at a different time, changing the profile on the vehicles.”

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