Factors that influence energy demand

Equally important is the estimation of relevant parameters that may have an influence on the energy demand: climatic parameters, technical parameters of the buildings/installations and social parameters (behavioural determinants).

One of the main tasks in load modelling is to investigate the correlation between climatic parameters and the hourly energy consumption. The most common climatic parameters considered in load estimations are: outdoor temperature (daily mean temperature, temperature variations throughout the day), hours of sunlight, wind speed and direction.

Physical determinants (e.g. building envelope) and control regimes (the operation of the space heating, the ventilation and the lighting system) are some of the technical parameters that have an influence on load and energy demand in buildings. Construction year, rehabilitation and insulation standards have also been found to be important input parameters in relation to load modelling of buildings, especially for heat purposes. Therefore future developments in building code regulations and the introduction of new technologies regarding energy distribution and conversion (use) will influence the heat and electricity load profiles for new and rehabilitated buildings.

Central control and monitoring systems are becoming more widespread in buildings and this has a direct influence on load profiles. For example, control regimes for the ventilation systems are strongly related to the building’s usage time, as well as the indoor air quality control categories that have been applied to ventilation systems.

In the end however, the amount of energy used is very dependent upon the attitude and the awareness of energy customers. Consumer’s influence varies, depending on what kind of building they spend their time in. The consumption patterns in different building types, especially in households are unique. In public buildings with automatic control, on the other hand, consumer’s influence can be lower. The awareness and consumer’s attitudes towards energy consumption have also an influence on energy use, especially in households. Theoretically, the price sensitivity of electricity consumers regarding time differentiated tariffs and the customer’s response to strongly increased tariffs should also be taken into consideration in load estimations. However, some late studies showed that residential electricity consumers are not very price responsive.

Published August 3, 2012

Contact: Gerd Kjølle, SINTEF Energy Research