Buildings have the highest peak load contribution and in California, the peak load has been growing faster than the base load. Building controls systems have been used to reduce electrical peak demands since the 1980s. Previous studies of peak load management in commercial buildings focused on demand control strategies such as demand limiting, thermal storage and daylighting.

The DRRC's buildings research focuses on both building technologies and control strategies to change load shapes. Initially concentrating on peak load reduction in commercial buildings on hot summer afternoons, the DRRC grew this research towards new applications in new customer segments for flexible loads with varying response times and durations that can be dynamically controlled any time and any day.