Energy flexible buildings: an evaluation of definitions and quantification methodologies applied to thermal storage

Glenn Reynders, Rui Amaral Lopes, Anna Marszal-Pomianowska, Daniel Aelenei, João Martins, Dirk Saelens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


As demand response and energy flexibility are often suggested as key principles to facilitate high levels of renewable energy sources into energy markets, different studies evaluated the potential impact of energy flexibility in buildings. Nonetheless, due to differences in definition and quantification methodologies for energy flexibility, comparing results between such studies is difficult. With a review and applied evaluation of existing definitions and quantification methodologies this paper aims at assessing the applicability, benefits and drawbacks of each quantification methodology. The conducted review shows that energy flexibility definitions found in the literature have their particularities despite sharing the same principle that energy flexibility is the ability to adapt the energy profile without jeopardizing technical and comfort constraints. The survey of quantification methodologies reveals two main approaches to quantify energy flexibility. A first approach quantifies energy flexibility indirectly using past data and assuming a specific energy system and/or energy market context. The second approach directly predicts the energy flexibility that a building can offer to the energy system in a bottom-up manner. While applications for both approaches were identified, this paper focuses on the latter. By applying methodologies that follow this second approach to a common case study, three common properties of energy flexibility were observed: i) the temporal flexibility; ii) the amplitude of power modulation; iii) and the associated cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-390
Number of pages19
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • Demand response
  • Demand side management
  • Energy flexible buildings
  • Load control
  • Smart grid


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