Centre of Applied Research Technology

Energy matching: exploring the value of demand flexibility in educational office buildings


This research presents a case study exploring the potential for demand side flexibility at a cluster of university buildings. The study investigates the potential of a collection of various electrical devices, excluding heating and cooling systems.

With increasing penetration of renewable electricity sources and the phasing out of dispatchable fossil sources, matching grid generation with grid demand will become difficult using traditional grid management methods alone. Additionally, grid congestion is a pressing problem. Demand side management in buildings may contribute to a solution to these problems. Currently demand response is, however, not yet exploited at scale. In part, this is because it is unclear how this flexibility can be translated into successful business models, or whether this is possible under the current market regime. This research gives insight into the potential value of energy demand flexibility in reducing energy costs and increasing the match between electricity demand and purchased renewable electricity. An inventory is made of on-site electrical devices that offer load flexibility and the magnitude and duration of load shifting is estimated for each group of devices. A demand response simulation model is then developed that represents the complete collection of flexible devices. This model, addresses demand response as a ‘distribute candy’ problem and finds the optimal time-of-use for shiftable electricity demand whilst respecting the flexibility constraints of the electrical devices. The value of demand flexibility at the building cluster is then assessed using this simulation model, measured electricity consumption, and data regarding the availability of purchased renewables and day-ahead spot prices. This research concludes that coordinated demand response of large variety of devices at the building cluster level can improve energy matching by 0.6-1.5% and reduce spot market energy cost by 0.4-3.2%.

Reference de Vries, S. B., Elsayed, H., Quaak, P., & Heller, R. (2022). Energy matching: exploring the value of demand flexibility in educational office buildings. Paper presented at SBE Conference: Innovations for the Urban Energy Transition, Delft, Netherlands.
Published by  Centre for Applied Research Technology 11 October 2022

Publication date

Oct 2022


H Elsayed
P Quaak


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