The federal government and many states are eagerly adopting sustainability-enhancing policies. Many researchers and lawmakers in the U.S. and throughout the world are looking to develop and distribute emission-free building practices and technologies that will decrease atmospheric degradation.

People and businesses are adopting renewable energy systems to minimize their energy costs and shrink their carbon footprints. Installing distributed energy resources (DERs) throughout buildings can effectively help us achieve carbon-neutrality goals. The systems range from rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panels to hydrogen fuel cell storage units, improving an individual’s sustainability levels.

What Are Distributed Energy Resources?

DERs are modular electricity production and storage systems. They can provide reliable energy backup for businesses or a complete power supply.

Distributed sources generally produce 10 megawatts (MWs) of emission-free electricity or less. Individuals use wind turbines, PV panels, fuel cell storage systems, microturbines and more to access clean energy. The primary function of DERs is reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Nearly 80% of America’s power supply derives from fossil fuels. During combustion, the energy sources release emissions into the atmosphere, changing its composition. Greenhouse gases limit the planet’s ability to produce and regulate life-sufficient surface temperatures.

Greenhouse gases interfere with the system by increasing the atmosphere’s sunlight-to-heat exchange rate. They also hold extra energy in the environment, filtering it through the heat production process again. Over time, emissions increase the global temperature and fuel ecological degradation.

DERs prevent additional power-related emissions, preserving the atmosphere and the global ecosystem. Individuals’ access to clean energy systems increases as technology advances. 

New solar panels use interdigitated back contact (IBC) cells to boost their efficiency levels. This increased solar production rates by over 22%, expanding the power supply size. Improved storage technology also enhanced the abundance and reliability of renewable energy. Environmental engineers and scientists have developed long-term storage systems for emission-free power sources.

Hydrogen fuel cell technologies improve individuals’ access to renewables, minimizing ecological impacts. The recent DER trends help residents and business owners adopt clean energy sources. People can access three major sustainability benefits when they transition away from fossil fuel reliance.  

1. Easier Adoption of Renewable Energy

DERs allow business owners to support an entire power system or a backup supply of emission-free electricity. Seamlessly transitioning away from a fossil-fuel-derived energy source also improves a company’s profitability. The demand for eco-friendly goods and services rose by 71% this year.

Companies can gain a leg up on competitors by shrinking their carbon footprints and accommodating modern consumer demands. DERs also improve businesses’ financial efficiency by reducing utility costs. Facility managers can utilize their savings to invest in new systems and better working conditions.

2. Energy Storage for Continuing Operations

Another benefit of DERs derives from clean energy storage advancements. The new technology improves a building owner’s access to emission-free electricity. Low solar-radiation rates and wind patterns decrease the ability to produce clean power onsite in many regions.

Construction professionals can additionally connect buildings to a local grid supplied by external solar and wind farm power. Building owners can sell excess renewable electricity to the grid in high-energy production regions, helping others access sustainable electricity. Gaining a form of passive income using green infrastructure also increases a building’s cost-efficiency.

3. Future Policies for Distributed Energy Generation

Various U.S. states have adopted emission-reduction policies in recent years. California recently established ambitious clean energy objectives and plans on producing 60% of grid electricity from renewables by 2030. Government officials will achieve the goal by ensuring all new buildings make some level of clean power.

Each business must use DERs to contribute to the clean electric grid. The policies also regulate buildings’ efficiency levels and emissions, minimizing their stress on emission-free power systems. Researchers expect federal policies to reflect similar ambitions shortly and improve the national sustainability rate.

Another plan involves connecting power-producing buildings through a localized grid system that will meet commercial and residential energy demands during outages. Blackouts cost the U.S. economy nearly $150 billion annually. Construction professionals can decrease electricity interferences by connecting companies through independent production systems.

Abiding by Clean Energy Policies and Reducing Buildings’ Emissions

Property managers and construction workers can abide by clean electricity policies by installing DERs. They can additionally support the systems using efficiency-enhancing devices, like smart thermostats and energy monitors. Over time, individuals can access the benefits of using emission-free electricity when adopting green technologies.