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Energy flexible buildings: A methodology for rating the flexibility performance of buildings with electric heating and cooling systems

Arteconi, Alessia, Mugnini, Alice, Polonara, Fabio
Applied energy 2019 v.251 pp. 113387
buildings, climatic factors, cooling systems, energy, heat
In the present energy scenario, buildings are playing more and more as energy prosumers. They can use and produce energy and also actively manage their energy demand. The energy flexibility quantifies their potential to adjust the energy demand on the basis of external requests. The objective of this paper is to propose a method for buildings energy flexibility labelling at design conditions in the same fashion as the energy performance label. The flexibility quantification is based on the calculation of four flexibility parameters, which contribute to the definition of the Flexibility Performance Indicator. In order to assess the Flexibility Performance Indicator, buildings dynamic simulations are necessary and the boundary conditions (i.e. demand response event, representative day, comfort constraints) to be considered during the evaluation are provided as part of the proposed methodology. The method was applied to different Italian buildings, which differ for geographic location and design specifications and, in particular, the effects of building structure, heating/cooling systems and energy storage systems were compared. Results show that the climatic conditions affect the flexibility performance, while the building feature more relevant is the thermal mass of the building envelope, more than that provided by the distribution system. A sensitivity analysis to evaluate how the results are influenced by the proposed boundary conditions was also performed. Their choice confirms to have a relevant impact on flexibility quantification, then their unique definition has a paramount importance within this methodology.