Last week academia and industry descended upon the sleepy Portuguese university town of Coimbra to wrangle over the means for encouraging energy efficiency through changing user-behaviour.
Looking to move the discussion beyond age-old discussions about the end-user in isolation, Delta-ee attended Behave2016 to reflect upon the role of supply-side stakeholders in the push for improved energy efficiency behaviour.
NZEB = Nearly Zero Educated Businesses?
Presenting to an engaged audience, Delta-ee raised the issue of the boisterous, behavioural battleground represented by the EU building sector and its ravenous production of 36% of total greenhouse gas emissions. More specifically, we looked at the impact of Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) regulations on supply-side stakeholders in the new-build sector.
Designed as a tool for changing heat system design and installation behaviour in new buildings, NZEB aims to significantly reduce building energy use once implemented in the residential sector in 2021. However, with 28 individual EU countries responsible for defining their own NZEB policy, many of which are not fully-defined or difficult to interpret, this has created great uncertainty amongst heat system manufacturers. That is, what technologies will they be allowed to install under NZEB policy in new-build EU residential dwellings? Will they even be able to sell their products come 2021?
Striking many attendees as an unknown area of consideration, we looked to address this question by assessing how supply-side stakeholder behaviour is likely to be impacted under NZEB regulations. From a behavioural perspective, we looked at what the necessary changes manufacturers would need to take in their day-to-day operations in order to comply with NZEB and subsequently contribute to wider EU energy efficiency goals.
Results showed that despite differing approaches to NZEB between countries, under the right circumstances almost all heating technologies could be eligible. However, to successfully install their systems in a new-build dwelling built to minimum standards, heating market manufacturers will need to change their traditionally siloed behaviour and interact with other supply-side stakeholders.
They will need to look to install additional technology or fabric measures alongside their heating systems to meet regulations, and thus change the way they behave as businesses. This will have an impact on how these businesses develop over the coming years and their success (or not) will impact on the level to which the EU as able to meet its energy efficiency targets.
Connected to behaviour or simply a Domestic Response?
In addition to the attention paid to our work on NZEBs, it was interesting to discuss with fellow attendees the impact of Demand Response (DR) and connected home solutions on end-user behaviour and their response to the rise of these new energy technologies and services. Both utilities and DNOs were heavily engaged in presenting on the opportunities (and challenges) represented by engaging customers with these solutions, and their concerns reflected the work we’ve done on Demand Response and the connected home, and the value available for existing (and new) energy market players.
So what do you think of the changes heating manufacturers will need to make regarding their business operations and behaviour in the coming years? Who do you think will be the winners and losers of the NZEB revolution? What about the rising influence of DR and connected homes on the business approach of DNOs and other energy market players?