The EMerge Alliance – an open industry association leading the rapid adoption of safe direct-current (DC) power distribution standards for buildings – has launched a new residential DC power standards initiative to advance the use of DC power in homes and small businesses. The Alliance is the only application standards development group working on advancing the use of DC power in residential and commercial buildings.

The launch of this new initiative is an expansion of the Alliance’s long-term strategic plan of creating standards for the use of DC power throughout buildings. Since its inception in 2008, the Alliance has focused its work on developing DC power standards to increase the sustainability, flexibility and efficiency of commercial buildings. It also pioneered a data/telecom center standard designed to improve the efficiency and reliability of equipment, while decreasing the total operating costs of these centers.

According to EMerge Alliance Chairman Brian Patterson, the increasing percentage of home electronics running on DC power, combined with the rapid expansion of the residential solar market in the U.S., makes DC power distribution a clear opportunity for homes to achieve energy savings and grid independence.

“We have seen the sustainability, flexibility and reliability advantages that DC power provides to commercial building spaces, and it’s time to extend these benefits to homes and small businesses,” Patterson said.  “DC power distribution would not only maximize the efficiency and ROI of rooftop solar panels by enabling them to directly power consumer electronics, appliances, LEDs and electric vehicles (EVs) without conversion losses, it could also give homeowners a choice to either store excess DC power or continue selling it back to power companies.”

Like all EMerge Alliance standards, this new residential initiative will include the hybrid use of alternating-current (AC) and DC power by defining interfaces with existing AC power systems at various upstream and downstream levels, with the goal of providing plug-and-play convenience for homes and small businesses, including faster EV charging and direct support of the expanding use of USB, wireless charging and other low-voltage DC power distribution means that simplify the convenient and efficient use of personal electronics and home automation equipment.

As a next step, the Alliance will form a technical committee to identify needs and opportunities for residential DC power standards. EMerge Alliance members will collaborate with organizations like IEEE, the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology, and NextEnergy Center‘s NextHome, a DC-connected house demonstration project, to determine best practices for implementation.