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for Smart Energy Communities

What is a Smart Energy Community?

A Smart Energy Community seamlessly integrates local, renewable, and conventional energy sources to efficiently, cleanly, and affordably meet its energy needs. It is a coveted, highly livable place to live, work, learn, and play.


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Principles for Smart Energy Communities

The successful implementation of Smart Energy Communities on any scale requires astute decision making on both the policy side and the technical side. QUEST has developed the following policy and technical principles in order to guide the effective implementation of Smart Energy Communities.

Technical Principles

Improve efficiency – first, reduce the energy input required for a given level of service

Optimize exergy – avoid using high-quality energy in low-quality applications

Manage heat – capture all feasible thermal energy and use it, rather than exhaust it

Reduce waste – use all available resources, such as landfill gas and municipal, agricultural, industrial, and forestry wastes

Use renewable energy resources – tap into local opportunities for geoexchange systems, small scale hydro, biomass, biogas, solar, wind
energy, and opportunities for inter-seasonal storage

Use energy delivery systems strategically – optimize use of energy delivery systems and use them as a resource to ensure reliability and for energy storage to meet varying demands

Policy Principles

Match land use needs and mobility options – understand the energy implication of land use, infrastructure for water and wastewater, waste management, personal mobility, goods movement, and building design decisions

Match energy options to local context – local climate, building on land use choices, industrial structure, availability of local sources of waste and renewables

Send clear and accurate price signals – consumers should see and pay full real costs, including external costs

Manage risks and be flexible – maintain technological and fuel diversity; pursue cost-effective opportunities first and incorporate learning; assume the need to adapt quickly to market and technological surprises

Emphasize performance and outcomes in policy and regulations – avoid prescribing fuels and technologies

Pursue policy and program stability – maintain a consistent and predictable decision making environment to sustain investor confidence