May 21, 2020

Building Technologies for Dual Services (Energy Efficiency and Demand Response)

The continuous growth of renewable energy and the transition to a more de-centralised electricity generation adds significant complexity to balance power supply and demand in the grid. These imbalances are partially compensated by demand response programs, which represent a new business opportunity in the building sector, especially for ESCOs. Including demand response (DR) to their traditional energy efficiency (EE) based business model adds an additional revenue stream that could potentially shorten payback periods of energy renovation projects.

These dual services schemes involve changes in the planning and design process of retrofitting projects. Energy solutions to be implemented must be selected considering not only the EE potential, but also DR potential. This change in the renovation scope implies that ESCOs must transform their retrofitting catalogue to adapt to this new scenario. Main interventions typically implemented by ESCOs include energy efficient lighting and controls, building energy supply and management systems and controls. But which solutions of those typically implemented are more suitable for dual services?

The NOVICE project tried to identify the most suitable technologies for DR and EE in buildings. The outcome of this is a collection of different combination of technologies conforming technology kits for enhancing the exploitation of DR strategies while EE in buildings is improved.

The kits are supposed to guide building owners or investors in the decision of the implementation of technology solutions of DR/EE strategies in their buildings, knowing that this would reduce their energy bill. This is an opportunity for a new business model for ESCOs that not only offer energy savings to building owners during building operation, but also there is a second revenue stream due to interaction with the energy market.

These KIT-s offer Technology providers with useful information concerning how their products are compatible not only with EE but also with emerging DR strategies. These allows the technology providers to give advice to their clients, open new markets and orient their research and product development in the emerging DR business.

As the share of buildings applying DR strategies increases aggregators will see their business also increased. The KIT-s can path the way to accelerate the integration of DR strategies in buildings and thus DR business for aggregators.

Finally, policy makers can support new regulations and financing programs in order to promote the implementation of technologies that would allow the EE and the DR strategies in building.

In order to elaborate the Technology KITs, the most common centralized HVAC systems in commercial buildings have been identified, as well as the applicable combinations with electric generation and storage systems. Each kit has been completed with the required ICT and BEMS systems to be implemented.

Technology KITs structure scheme

The analysis concluded that HVAC technologies based on electricity as energy source are most suitable for DR, because these technologies allow to implement strategies based on electrical loads shifting and also strategies based on the use of electricity depending on the energy tariff.

Considering this, among the previous systems, the ones identified as the most suitable for demand-response, both implicit and explicit, and for energy efficiency improvement are the following:

Most suitable HVAC technologies for DR strategies and EE

As it is observed we can conclude that the most suitable HVAC generation for DR and EE are Heat Pumps and Chillers. Nevertheless, HVAC generation systems must be combined with other technologies to assure the highest performance of the systems in terms of energy efficiency and demand- response potential.

And regarding demand response potential, in order to allow to implement more effectively Demand Response strategies, HVAC generation systems should be combined with renewable electric generation sources and storage systems, in particular, with PV panels and batteries.

Finally, the ICT devices and BEMS are required for implementing implicit and explicit DR strategies. BEMS allow to manage the whole systems, enabling optimized DR strategies and the interaction with the grid. BEMS also permits to maximize the energy efficiency of the whole system. ICT devices allow the physical execution of DR strategies. The main ICT devices required are smart sensors, smart meters and remote actuators.

Therefore, in summary, to achieve the most optimum scenario to implement implicit and explicit DR strategies while improving the energy efficiency in a building, the combination of the following technologies is recommended:

Detailed information to apply the whole systems is included in NOVICE deliverable D2.1. Considering the conclusions obtained from the performed analysis, among all presented technology kits, the most suitable ones are the following:

  • Heat pump with all water system
  • Compression chiller with all water system
  • Reversible heat pumps with all water system
  • Heat pump with water-air system
  • Chiller with water-air system
  • Reversible heat pumps with water-air system
  • Air Units with integrated cold generation
  • Air Units with integrated heat and cold generation


Authors: Olga Macias and Ignacio Torrens




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