FAQ

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What are some of the issues electricity systems are facing today?
Only half of what you’re paying for electricity goes to pay for the electricity powering your home, office, or electronics. The rest is lost converting fuel to electricity, delivering electricity to where it’s needed, and producing heat waste and emissions. In addition, poor electricity system reliability and power quality is costing consumers and businesses over $200 billion annually or 4 cents/kWh. The August Blackout of 2003 left over 50 million people without power across the Northeast United States and Canada within a matter of minutes. The National Labs estimate Hurricane Sandy power outage-related losses exceeded $30 billion, and seven of the ten costliest storms in US history have occurred since 2004 Source.
History of PEER
  • 1950 through the 1980’s: Bob Galvin and Paul O’Neill gained reputations for developing and refining innovative methods to continuously drive waste out of the companies they ran, Motorola and Alcoa, respectively.
  • 2004: Bob Galvin founds the Galvin Electricity Initiative to drive innovation and transform the electric power system.
  • 2009: The Perfect Power Institute is formed to build a sustainable design and rating system for energy delivery.
  • 2010: PPI joins forces with Underwriters Laboratory to begin development of PEER through a multi-stakeholder, consensus-based review process
  • 2013: PEER Version 1 is launched
  • 2014: Perfect Power Institute joins forces with USGBC and GBCI to administer and continue developing the PEER rating system.
What is PEER?
PEER assesses electricity system performance and verifies that significant and measurable outcomes have been achieved. Modeled after LEED, PEER is a dynamic, adaptive rating process designed to measure and improve sustainable power system performance
How does the idea of valuation gap apply to PEER?
PEER is built, in part, on the idea of constantly assessing value and minimizing the gap between current performance and some upper limit of performance. Bob Galvin called this upper limit perfection while Paul O’Neill referred to this as the theoretical limit. With this method, the gap becomes the motivation and justification for actions and investment and drives continuous improvement.
How is PEER scored?

PEER includes four performance categories of criteria that define sustainable electricity system design and performance:

  • Reliability and resilience
  • Energy efficiency and environment
  • Operational effectiveness
  • Customer contribution

PEER places the most weight or emphasis on measurable performance outcomes such as reduced interruptions and emissions, but also assesses capabilities, design considerations, and processes.

Why is PEER necessary? / Why should I care?
PEER helps utilities and facility owners ensure resiliency, reliability and power quality, improve energy efficiency, reduce environmental impacts, generate profits for grid services, increase competitiveness, and empower customers. PEER is poised to provide electricity leaders, professionals, and operators with the tools and strategies they need to meet these challenges and transform the power industry.
What is PEER’s vision for the future of the electricity system?

Redundancy and auto restoration
Power distribution will provide for redundancy and feature smart technology. Using tools for identifying and isolating faults, customers and businesses no longer have to accept power outages as a way of life. Furthermore, local distribution will move underground and network with intelligent software to enable resiliency and two-way power flow.

Customer/tenant engagement
Customers will receive information and pricing in real time, allowing them to make informed decisions about electricity use and spending. Consumers will also be able to actively participate in the marketplace by selling power back to the grid, choosing their supplier, buying power in real-time electricity markets, and gaining access to payments for grid services such as automated load conservation and demand reduction.

Local generation and islanding (resiliency)
Customers will have access to locally-generated clean power: more efficient, lower cost renewables and high efficiency gas resources. Other advantages will include distributed generation, smart in-home devices and meters for automated load response, storage, self-sustaining infrastructure with smart switches, combined heat and power and other technologies that ensure reliability and efficiency while reducing peak demand and carbon emissions. Enabling islanding capability minimizes risks, lowers operating costs, and generates revenue through grid service. New services will emerge based on establishing long-term partnerships with cities to build 100-year visions of an integrated, resilient power system.

Innovative utility business models
Both utility and private investment will shift from system expansion to system modernization as peak demand falls and the need for additional capacity is eliminated. Regulatory structures will enable entrepreneurial innovation and private investment by providing consumers choice in a free market where utilities become a key part of this ecosystem as facilitators and integrators.

Why is USGBC interested in PEER?
We at USGBC realize that buildings don't exist in a vacuum. Technology is blurring the lines between demand and supply in the building and power industries, driving the need for a more integrated understanding of the essential interplay between buildings and energy generation, transmission, and distribution systems. PEER seeks to enhance this interconnectedness and transform the power industry by forging cross-sector, outcome-driven collaboration.
How does PEER apply to building owners?

Roughly 50% of the cost being paid for electricity goes to waste. Outages cause lost productivity and put building owners at risk. Poor power quality, which costs US facilities over $200 billion a year, can damage sensitive electronics, lights, and motors and raise maintenance requirements.

PEER can be leveraged to address issues with reliability and power quality, lower electricity costs, minimize risks, and pursue revenue from ancillary services to the grid. Building owners can also use PEER to improve their electricity procurement specifications and building designs, and begin to integrate distributed energy and load response into their buildings.

Who is using PEER?
  • Building industry professionals working to lower costs, generate revenue, minimize risks, improve electricity procurement specifications, and make buildings more responsive to emerging distributed generation, microgrid, demand response and islanding technologies.
  • Power system designers in search of competitive advantage through enhanced performance and demonstrated, meaningful outcomes.
  • Power industry professionals and utilities seeking to define processes and programs that meet best-in-class standards and increase the capability of buildings to address peak load, reliability, efficiency, and safety challenges.

PEER is being leveraged to achieve gains in power system performance not thought possible. Early adopters of PEER include UT Austin, ZF Development Company, and municipal utilities such as Naperville and Chattanooga.

How do I get started?
Join us as a Pioneer of PEER as we strive to achieve our vision of a more environmentally sustainable, economically efficient and socially just energy generation and delivery system for our built environment.

There are several ways to get started:

  • Learn more about PEER by taking a course.
  • Become a PEER participant or subscriber to gain access to workbooks, tools, and guides.
  • Apply the PEER framework as a continuous improvement plan.
  • Register a project to begin the certification process and gain formal recognition.