National Centre for Energy Systems Integration


Building as a Power Plant


Building as a Power Plant (EP/P034241/1)


Buildings are complex thermodynamic objects and they account for a large proportion of a country's energy consumption. The flow of energy in buildings is complex and with increasing size and functionality of buildings, it becomes more so. It is critical to have reliable metering mechanisms for this energy use. This helps quantify where and how we use energy and also highlights areas for efficiency.
In addition, the ageing energy system infrastructure in the UK and other developed countries is changing. To enable cost reduction, energy security and sustainability, new technology is being introduced. Renewable energy generation, energy storage and electric car charging are being integrated. Managing our energy demand response lets us achieve the best use of these. It also provides stability to energy supply system.
The Urban Science Building (USB) utilises advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). This allows an energy usage data collection platform. We can utilise this data to investigate a multitude of research questions such as "Building as a Power Plant (BaaPP)"

Research Project Team
Building as a Power Plant (BaaPP) Research (EP/P034241/1)
  • undertake a complete audit of the energy consumption of the USB building
  • identify energy demands that can safely be interrupted for short periods of time
  • energy demands can then be turned up, down, shifted or completely switched off 
  • the building user will see no impact on their comfort
  • the control of these demands in response to stresses to the local network infrastructure will be beneficial to the network as a whole
  • the local network operator may pay for this support 
  • this could allow deferment of expensive capital investment for network infrastructure upgrade

The BaaPP project will investigate the value of this building flexibility will be in terms of carbon, cost and resilience

More information on this project is listed in this document:- CESI USB - Building as a Power Plant