Aim to demonstrate the economic & environmental benefits of demand response in blocks of buildings
Utility companies have to generate enough energy to meet large peaks in demand, caused by lots of people using energy at the same time. Energy networks must also have the capacity to meet this demand. Energy systems are inefficient and expensive as most of the time, demand runs far below capacity.
As electric energy cannot be easily stored the problem is most acute in the electricity sector. Utilities have traditionally matched electricity demand and supply by controlling the rate of electricity generation. Therefore things are further complicated when we connect renewables to energy networks which produce energy when the sun shines or the wind blows, rather than when we need it.
The increasing popularity of electric cars may also increase peak demand as commuters plug them into electricity networks at the same time.
Blocks of buildings offer more flexibility in the timing of energy use, local energy generation and energy storage than single buildings. But a lack of suitable products and technologies make this problematic.