Ten Questions Concerning Energy Flexibility in Buildings: Article No. 109461

Rongling Li, Andrew Satchwell, Donal Finn, Toke Christensen, Michael Kummert, Jerome Le Dreau, Rui Lopes, Henrik Madsen, Jaume Salom, Gregor Henze, Kim Wittchen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus Citations


Demand side energy flexibility is increasingly being viewed as an essential enabler for the swift transition to a low-carbon energy system that displaces conventional fossil fuels with renewable energy sources while maintaining, if not improving, the operation of the energy system. Building energy flexibility may address several challenges facing energy systems and electricity consumers as society transitions to a low-carbon energy system characterized by distributed and intermittent energy resources. For example, by changing the timing and amount of building energy consumption through advanced building technologies, electricity demand and supply balance can be improved to enable greater integration of variable renewable energy. Although the benefits of utilizing energy flexibility from the built environment are generally recognized, solutions that reflect diversity in building stocks, customer behavior, and market rules and regulations need to be developed for successful implementation. In this paper, we pose and answer ten questions covering technological, social, commercial, and regulatory aspects to enable the utilization of energy flexibility of buildings in practice. In particular, we provide a critical overview of techniques and methods for quantifying and harnessing energy flexibility. We discuss the concepts of resilience and multi-carrier energy systems and their relation to energy flexibility. We argue the importance of balancing stakeholder engagement and technology deployment. Finally, we highlight the crucial roles of standardization, regulation, and policy in advancing the deployment of energy flexible buildings.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
JournalBuilding and Environment
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-84060


  • business models
  • energy flexibility
  • energy flexible buildings
  • energy policy
  • energy stakeholders
  • energy system resilience


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