Goodbye Passive House, Hello Energy Flexible Building?

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    The volume uptake of highly energy-efficient buildings is challenged by transformations in the energy system and the introduction of demand response strategies. In the near future buildings will be able to manage their demand and generation according to local climate conditions, user needs and variable energy prices. As buildings become prosumers of electricity and heat in intelligent networks, questions arise about the future and the need of highly energy-efficient building concepts, such as passive houses.
    Do suppliers in the passive house sector experience a need to adopt such energy flexible buildings? To understand this need, a supply side research was done using the members of a Belgian passive house network as a feedback group. The research used three distinct approaches for exploring barriers, opportunities and knowledge needs that companies perceive. A questionnaire explored the experience that Belgian supply side actors have with energy flexible buildings. This was followed by a focus group discussion with passive house and smart grid professionals and a business model development exercise with passive house suppliers.
    The research unravels a positive attitude in the passive house sector towards energy flexible buildings. Innovators are keen to adopt the concept of energy flexible buildings. The research shows that the market development towards energy flexible buildings cannot be ignored by suppliers in the construction sector if they want to stay active as frontrunners in energy efficiency. A shift in knowledge needs is observed from passive houses and energy positive buildings towards designing and using buildings as active component within smart grids. A need to develop a local knowledge network for energy flexible buildings was specified.
    Further research and particularly exemplary projects are needed to understand how highly energy-efficient buildings such as passive houses can be an active storage component in smart cities. An international research programme in the framework of the International Energy Agency will explore the definition of, and indicators for, energy flexible buildings. Meanwhile demonstration buildings and testing facilities will be installed in various European countries. The need for adapted business models and certification of energy flexible buildings will be explored. Knowledge will be disseminated in local platforms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPLEA 2016. Cities, Buildings, People: Towards Regenerative Environments,
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 32nd International Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture
    EditorsP. LaRoche, M. Schiler
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2016
    Event32nd International Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture: Cities, Buildings, People: Towards Regenerative Environments - Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, United States
    Duration: 11 Jul 201613 Jul 2016
    Conference number: 36


    Conference32nd International Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture
    Abbreviated titlePLEA 2016
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityLos Angeles
    Internet address

    Bibliographical note

    Accepted Author Manuscript.
    The contribution relates to the Dutch national participation in the working group of the IEA EBC Annex 67 Energy Flexible Buildings.


    • passive house
    • innovation adoption
    • business models
    • energy systems
    • smart grids


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