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Anya Petersen

Senior Researcher
Portland, ME, USA
LinkedIn Profile
Areas of Expertise
Grid & Market Connectors
Device Layer: DERs

What kinds of projects are you working on?

So many! Most fit into a theme of making it easier to de-risk building controls.  I’m Principal Investigator/lead for Alfalfa (, an open-source web service for virtual buildings.  Alfalfa exists to simplify runtime/operational interaction with physics-based building energy models.  At NREL we use Alfalfa as part of our lab experimentation setup which requires us to mesh together simulation, hardware, controllers and/or OT protocols in unique combinations for each project.  In the context of NREL’s ARIES Platform( , I lead a team focused on streamlining the setup and execution of experiments at the single building and community scales.  

I’ve also had the privilege of many years of awesome experience as part of the Intelligent Campus team, which brings together Site Operations and Research staff to use NREL’s campuses as research instruments. (This is how I first met James.) Right now, I work on real-time visualizations of energy use on campus, probabilistic load forecasting (, and some systems integration design.

What are you excited about in the industry?

I’m excited about the potential for buildings to play a more active role in a cleaner and more resilient electric grid.  There are many parts of this problem evolving in parallel (electric rate design, grid orchestration, ...), but none of the potential can be realized if the technical underpinnings don’t work and I’m all in on streamlining development and de-risking of building control solutions and toolchains!

What do you think needs to change in the industry?

Vulnerable communication can be particularly hard for those of us focused on technical execution, but it is incredibly impactful for breaking down walls and getting sh*t done across silos.

What do you wish we all discussed more?

Resilience: how do buildings perform during power outages, extreme weather events, cyberattacks, etc, and how does <pick a solution> help?

What’s your hot take?  

🔥 No excuses: if you write code, you should be using version control. 🔥

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