Demand Side Flexibility and Responsiveness: Moving Demand in Time Through Technology

  • Mitchell Curtis
  • Jacopo Torriti
  • Stefan Thor Smith


Demand Side Response (DSR) consists of a set of programmes, policies and technologies that enable shifting energy demand in time with varying degrees of end user’s engagement. It is increasingly seen as the main tool for achieving flexible and responsive energy demand. The objective of this chapter is to move beyond existing approaches to better incorporate the material technological arrangements of appliances, infrastructures, and the social rhythms of everyday coordination into analysis of DSR in practice. In so doing we propose clearer definitions of both how flexibility and responsiveness should be understood. Taking the example of hotels as a site of energy demand, we detail which energy loads have potential for demand responsiveness and focus on questions of automation at different stages of the DSR process.



This work was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [grant number EP/K011723/1 and EP/G037787/1] as part of the RCUK Energy Programme and by EDF as part of the R&D ECLEER Programme.


  1. Alberini, A., and M. Filippini. 2011. Response of residential electricity demand to price: The effect of measurement error. Energy Economics 33: 889–895.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bandura, A. 1969. Principles of behavior modification. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  3. Barton, J., S. Huang, D. Infield, et al. 2013. The evolution of electricity demand and the role for demand side participation, in buildings and transport. Energy Policy 52: 85–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blázquez, L., N. Boogen, and M. Filippini. 2013. Residential electricity demand in Spain: New empirical evidence using aggregate data. Energy Economics 36: 648–657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bradley, P., M. Leach, and J. Torriti. 2013. A review of the costs and benefits of demand response for electricity in the UK. Energy Policy 52: 312–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Broberg, T., R. Brännlund, A. Kazukauskas, et al. 2015. An electricity market in transition – Demand flexibility and preference heterogeneity. Eskilstuna: Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics, Umeå School of Business and Economics, Umeå University. Available at:
  7. Buryk, S., D. Mead, S. Mourato, et al. 2015. Investigating preferences for dynamic electricity tariffs: The effect of environmental and system benefit disclosure. Energy Policy 80: 190–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Butcher, K.J. 2012. CIBSE guide F – Energy efficiency in buildings. London: CIBSE.Google Scholar
  9. Carrier. 2014. Carrier energy demand system provides automated energy management. Carrier. Available at: Accessed 2 Feb 2016.
  10. CIBSE. 2015. CIBSE guide A – Environmental design 2015, Lavenham: CIBSEGoogle Scholar
  11. Competition and Markets Authority. 2016. Energy market investigation: Provisional decision on remedies. London: Competition and Markets Authority. Available at:
  12. Darby, S.J., and E. McKenna. 2012. Social implications of residential demand response in cool temperate climates. Energy Policy 49: 759–769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. DECC. 2014. Developing DECC’s evidence base. London: Department of Energy & Climate Change. Available at:
  14. Dolman, M., I. Walker, A. Wright, et al. 2012. Demand side response in the non-domestic sector. Cambridge: De Montfort University. Available at:
  15. Espey, J.A., and M. Espey. 2004. Turning on the lights: A meta-analysis of residential electricity demand elasticities. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 36: 65–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fasiuddin, M., I. Budaiwi, and A. Abdou. 2010. Zero-investment HVAC system operation strategies for energy conservation and thermal comfort in commercial buildings in hot-humid climate. International Journal of Energy Research 34: 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grein, A., and M. Pehnt. 2011. Load management for refrigeration systems: Potentials and barriers. Energy Policy 39: 5598–5608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grünewald, P., and J. Torriti. 2013. Demand response from the non-domestic sector: Early UK experiences and future opportunities. Energy Policy 61: 423–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hong, J., C. Johnstone, J. Torriti, et al. 2012. Discrete demand side control performance under dynamic building simulation: A heat pump application. Renewable Energy 39: 85–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Karlin, B., R. Ford, and C. Squiers. 2014. Energy feedback technology: A review and taxonomy of products and platforms. Energy Efficiency 7: 377–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Krishnamurthy, C.K., and B. Kriström. 2013. Energy demand and income elasticity: A cross-country analysis. CERE Working Paper 5: 30.Google Scholar
  22. Lutzenhiser, L. 1993. Social and behavioral aspects of energy use. Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 18: 247–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Macalister, T. 2015. Marriott hotels using energy demand reduction to cut carbon footprint. The Guardian. Available at: Accessed 2 Mar 2017.
  24. Mattioli, G., and J. Anable. 2017. Gross polluters for food shopping travel: An activity-based typology. Travel Behaviour and Society 6: 19–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mudie, S., E.A. Essah, A. Grandison, et al. 2016. Electricity use in the commercial kitchen. International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies 11: 66–74.Google Scholar
  26. National Grid. 2017a. Balancing services. Available at:
  27. ———. 2017b. Frequency response services. Available at:
  28. Nicholls, L., and Y. Strengers. 2015. Peak demand and the ‘family peak’ period in Australia: Understanding practice (in) flexibility in households with children. Energy Research & Social Science 9: 116–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Poudineh, R., and T. Jamasb. 2014. Distributed generation, storage, demand response and energy efficiency as alternatives to grid capacity enhancement. Energy Policy 67: 222–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Proffitt, E. 2016. Profiting from demand side response. Major Energy Users Council & National Grid. Available at:
  31. Shove, E., and H. Chappells. 2001. Ordinary consumption and extraordinary relationships: Utilities and their users. In Ordinary consumption, ed. J. Gronow and A. Warde, 45–58. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Siano, P. 2014. Demand response and smart grids—A survey. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 30: 461–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Silva, V., V. Stanojevic, M. Aunedi, et al. 2011. Smart domestic appliances as enabling technology for demand-side integration: Modelling, value and drivers. The Future of Electricity Demand: Customers, Citizens and Loads 2011: 185–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Skinner, B.F. 1938. The behavior of organisms: An experimental analysis. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  35. Spence, A., C. Demski, C. Butler, et al. 2015. Public perceptions of demand-side management and a smarter energy future. Nature Climate Change 5: 550–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Strbac, G. 2008. Demand side management: Benefits and challenges. Energy Policy 36: 4419–4426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Torriti, J. 2015. Peak energy demand and demand side response. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Torriti, J., R. Hanna, B. Anderson, et al. 2015. Peak residential electricity demand and social practices: Deriving flexibility and greenhouse gas intensities from time use and locational data. Indoor and Built Environment 24: 891–912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vallacher, R., and D. Wegner. 1987. What do people think they are doing? The presentation of self through action identification. Psychological Review 94: 3–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Walker, G. 2014. The dynamics of energy demand: Change, rhythm and synchronicity. Energy Research & Social Science 1: 49–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Xue, X., S. Wang, Y. Sun, et al. 2014. An interactive building power demand management strategy for facilitating smart grid optimization. Applied Energy 116: 297–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitchell Curtis
    • 1
  • Jacopo Torriti
    • 2
  • Stefan Thor Smith
    • 2
  1. 1.Technologies for Sustainable Built Environments CentreUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.School of the Built Environment University of ReadingReadingUK

Personalised recommendations