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PEER Rating System – Generating and Transmitting Clean and Green Energy

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PEER stands for Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal. PEER is a ‘Green Business Certification Inc’ (GBCI) sustainability rating system for power grids. The certification is aimed to create a market differentiation and hence encourage the power grid industry to adopt sustainable power generation and transmission measures.

Most of the electricity transmission cost is lost through incompetent delivery methods – primarily due to heat and emissions and during conversion of fuel into electricity. This wastage needs to be curbed, but not through pressurizing businesses. Introducing PEER rating system that differentiates power grid business encourages them to control energy wastage. The rating system sets a baseline for the industry to take required measures to close the gap and build systems that stop this wastage.

A system that proposes market differentiation for power grid business, proposes lot of room for improvement, and it is absolutely important to change. PEER rating is particularly a great proposition for publicly owned utilities that transmit power.

PEER project was implemented in Naperville, Illinois, for a municipality owned utility. According to deputy director Olga Geynisman, it presented the energy and reliability saving measures as ideal for residents. In another PEER project – an electronic power board utility in Chattanooga, Tennessee purchases all its power from Gov-run Tennessee Valley Authority. 15% of this power comes from hydroelectric and renewable energy. Increased use of renewable energy to generate power makes buildings using this power sustainable as well. In addition to municipal utilities, PEER rating is also applicable for power grids that deliver energy to large industrial facilities and for campus projects.

As grid operation and power transmission becomes responsible, a green building gets powered by clean energy and hence becomes truly sustainable. As a result the demand for PEER rated power grids is going to increase, this will in-turn also increase profits, lower rates and improve performance for grid operators to support long term economic development. We thus move on to make better buildings, better cities and better place to live in.

Origin of PEER Rating System

PEER rating system evolved from the Galvin Electricity initiative, by Bob Galvin; CEO Motorola. The initiative was a nonprofit, founded in the wake of 2003, northeastern blackout, and was meant to make power supply more reliable, secure and efficient. Led by John Kelly, the project was taken over by Perfect Power Institute founded in 2011. In 2014 the institute partnered with GBCI. Later it was decided that USGBC will develop PEER and GBCI will certify projects.

PEER Rating Stands on Four Pillars Namely:

  • Reliability and resiliency: Here power quality is taken into consideration along with dependability, safety and resiliency measures.
  • Energy efficiency and environment: One of the prime focuses is reduction in the consumption of energy resources, and PEER proposes rewards for the same.
  • Operational effectiveness: It rates and rewards for the ancillary measures that are not directly associated with energy generation for transmission.
  • Customer contribution: Providing consumers with solutions like smart home metering systems so that they can use less power for the best utilization is one of important pillar of PEER rating.

Through a mix of performance based and perspective metrics, mandatory prerequisites and optional credits can be achieved in PEER. This means that PEER does not give points simply because solar panels are installed, instead it rates based on the amount of reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions due to solar panel installation.

Over the past decade, we have seen a skyrocketing rise in the number of green building designs across the map. However from where do these buildings gain power? How is this power generated? These are some questions about which, we cannot be careless. With PEER rating in place, now green buildings can cautiously and consciously choose to utilize the power that is better generated and transmitted.

Bhushan Avsatthi
About the Author: Bhushan Avsatthi is a BIM expert, a certified Sustainable Building advisor, and an associate director with more than 15 years of industry experience. He leads a team of architects, Structural & MEP engineers, LEED consultants and energy modelers. Bhushan strives to make his organization a cohesive resource for sustainable building design. He regularly participates in green initiatives like tree plantations, and promotes using bicycles for everyday commute.