Policy & Projects

Policy & Projects

IEA EBC participant profiles

The IEA EBC includes passionate professionals, or efficiency leaders, from across borders, disciplines and perspectives. But what all of these efficiency leaders have in common is their commitment to advancing energy efficiency in buildings and communities.

IEA EBC participants profiles exist to introduce you to these passionate professionals, and to introduce you to the work of the IEA EBC to which they contribute. You can find profiles on:

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Professor Mattheos Santamouris, Scientia Distinguished Professor, University New South Wales

Professor Mattheos Santamouris is the Australian representative on the Air Infiltration and Ventilation Center (AIVC – Annex 5) Board of Directors.

Who do you work for and what is your role? 

I am currently the Anita Lawrence Scientia Professor of High-Performance Architecture at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) School of Business Environment, working on high quality and innovative research related to the energy and environmental quality of the built environment.

Through High-Performance Architecture, I create innovative methods, techniques and technologies that improve indoor and outdoor environments while reducing energy consumption. I have been involved in designing and implementing mitigation technologies in more than 60 cities, and energy conservation and renewable technologies in hundreds of buildings and settlements of zero energy consumption.

Where do you see Australia’s energy and energy management markets in 2030?

There are fantastic new developments in the energy sector. The tremendous success of renewable energy creates a new energy reality while the revolution in the field of energy related materials offers tremendous prospects and priorities for the future.

The Australian energy sector can be the engine of future development. The development, implementation and commercialization of innovative and efficient energy technologies for electricity generation, building retrofitting and transport sector can drive the future of the country provided that the promoted energy policies will increase the added value in the country, protect the environment, generate jobs and enhance industrial developments.

What is the value of the International Energy Agency’s Energy in Buildings and Communities Program (IEA EBC)?

The IEA EBC coordinates and promotes active energy research and contributes highly to the advancement of energy technologies, whilst also bringing together some of the world’s best researchers to encourage knowledge exchange. It is among the most important coordinating bodies in the field of energy and has contributed enormously to the important progress achieved in recent years.

I am Australia’s representative on the Air Infiltration and Ventilation Centre (AIVC), which is Annex 5 at the IEA EBC. I was motivated to join the AIVC based on my research interests in ventilation and indoor air quality.

How does Australia benefit from engaging in this international research effort? 

AIVC is a fantastic open source of information on ventilation of buildings which Australians can benefit from. This includes full and free access to a plethora of documents, tools, books, conferences, workshops, webinars and more on issues related to ventilation, infiltration, and indoor air quality of buildings.

All Australians can have access to these free resources by visiting the AIVC website at www.aivc.org

How can other researchers and industry leaders get involved with IEA EBC projects?

Anyone that is interested in building ventilation is welcome to contact me at m.santamouris@unsw.edu.au to get more information and find the best way to get involved.

The IEA EBC Annexes are also listed on the IEA EBC website - with Annexes in which Australians are involved listed here on the Energy Efficiency Council's website. Anyone that is interested in joining (and contributing to the work of) an Annex can contact the listed Operating Agent of that Annex. 

Søren Østergaard Jensen, Operating Agent, Annex 82: Energy Flexible Buildings Towards Resilient Low Carbon Energy Systems 

Søren Østergaard Jensen is the operating agent of Annex 82 - Energy Flexible Buildings Towards Resilient Low Carbon Energy Systems. Søren was also the operating agent for Annex 67 - Energy Flexible Buildings.

How did you get involved in the field of building energy performance?

I started my career in the field of utilization of thermal solar energy in buildings. However, in order to optimize the performance of thermal solar energy, it is necessary to have a deep insight into the energy demand of a building. This led to a major interest for me in understanding the overall performance of buildings including comfort.

To optimize and decrease the energy demand of buildings, there is a need for advanced controls that are not often seen in residential buildings. The control used for energy flexibility and energy efficiency are more or less the same type of sensors, actuators and controllers. So, my interest in energy flexibility has the added benefit in the fact, that if energy flexibility is introduced in buildings, it is an easy step to also optimize the energy efficiency of the buildings. This can occur by also including some optimization routines in the controller responsible for delivering energy flexibility to the surrounding grids.

At the moment my focus is mostly on flexibility rather than on efficiency. Enhanced control demands further funding which may not be profitable when only looking at energy flexibility or energy efficiency but combining the two will make the investments economically sound. This combination is a very fascinating area of research and development. 

What has driven your passion in this sector?

Most people acknowledge that climate change is a problem and that to solve this there is a need for a transition from fossil-based energy systems to Renewable Energy Systems (RES). However, renewables such as wind power and solar are fluctuating energy sources, creating a need to transition from “energy production on demand” to “energy consumption on demand”. This is required to match the consumption with the instantaneous energy generation so that the stability of the energy grids is not jeopardized.

The stability of energy networks has typically been maintained by large fossil-based power plants, but, when they are being phased out, there is a need for other sources to obtain the necessary stability. Hence, there is a need for flexibility on the demand side. The flexibility can be obtained at central a level by large batteries, power2X
(electricity used as another source of energy), large heat pumps in district heating and cooling networks, etc., but also at the distributed level as energy flexibility from buildings. The latter has the advantage that this can handle problems at feeder level (power) or branches of a distribution system (e.g. district heating/cooling) for handling congestion problems.

My passion is to show that energy flexibility is just as important as energy efficiency when trying to reach the goal of energy networks solely driven on RES.

Tell us a bit about the research you have done and the roles you've held in your career

My research has mainly focused on decreasing the energy demand whilst increasing the comfort in residential buildings and to a certain extent in office buildings. Energy neutral buildings has therefore been a central area of my work over the last two decades. I have been leader or subtask leader in many national projects and participated in international projects in this field. During the last decade, I have performed lot of work on energy flexibility from buildings, mainly focusing on controlling heat pumps in residential buildings.

I was one of the subtask leaders of a large national project called iPower, which focused mainly on communication hardware/software and business models at a higher level and less on the obtainable energy flexibility from the buildings. So, I decided to create Annex 67 - Energy Flexible Buildings for international experts to investigate energy flexibility in buildings and how to utilize this.

What is the value of the International Energy Agency’s Energy in Buildings and Communities Program (IEA EBC)?

Annex work is very different from other research projects as you never know who will join. An annex is in principle open to individuals from all countries that are part of the IEA EBC. So, although a workplan is agreed on in the beginning of an annex, the result may very well be different from the original intentions. However, this is also the beauty of annex work. You meet, discuss and work with people that you often wouldn’t have found otherwise as they have different backgrounds and come from different countries This broadens your horizon and will often lead to better solutions. On top of this, your network is expanded. This is especially important for individuals undertaking PhDs, as they can start building up their network and write papers and articles with other PhD students but also with experienced researchers.

What annex(es) you are involved in?

I have been leader (Operating Agent (OA)) of IEA EBC (Energy in Buildings and Communities) Annex 67 Energy Flexible Buildings (www.annex67.org), where experts from 15 countries investigated energy flexibility in buildings and how to utilize this. I have also been appointed OA for the succussing Annex 82 Energy flexible buildings towards resilient low carbon energy systems including 21 interested countries. In Annex 67 we mainly focused on single buildings and less on clusters of buildings (aggregation) and the integration with the energy grids. Annex 82 will mostly focus on the aggregated level, utilization of energy flexibility from buildings in both single and multi-carrier energy grids, how stakeholders may be involved and guidelines towards good business models.

What do you consider the future of this field to be?

When we started Annex 67, no one in the IEA EBC thought that energy flexibility from buildings was of great important and the work in this field was very scattered. Now, energy flexibility is mentioned in some way in most new proposals for EBC Annexes, acknowledging that this area is very important. Although Annex 67 developed the basis for a common understanding and a proposal for a characterization method, the research in and especially the utilization of energy flexibility from buildings are still in its early stage. However, we foresee a much stronger commitment in this area because as stated earlier: energy flexibility is just as important as energy efficiency when trying to reach the goal of energy networks solemnly driven on RES.

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Dr Stephen White, Energy Efficiency Leader, Business Energy Unit, CSIRO 

Dr Stephen White is the operating agent of Annex 81 – Data-Driven Smart Building

What is your current role?

I am the Energy Efficiency Leader of the CSIRO Energy Business Unit. I lead a number of work programs including:

  • The Innovation Hub for Affordable Heating and Cooling (i-Hub) Data Clearing House Activity; and
  • The joint Mission Innovation / IEA EBC Annex 81.

The Innovation Hub for Affordable Heating and Cooling (i-Hub) Data Clearing House Activity

i-Hub is a consortium of around 30 members engaged in an AU$18 million program of work, led by the Australian Institute of Airconditioning Heating and Ventilation (AIRAH), and partly funded by ARENA.  i-Hub aims to demonstrate the use of integrated operation of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment with renewable generation in order to maximise the value of renewable generation to building owners. 

In work to-date, 1.2GW of flexible load has been identified across Australia, through the application of demand response in HVAC systems.  The i-Hub Data Clearing House Activity aims to help mobilise this flexible resource by overcoming barriers to the adoption of emerging digital technologies and supporting data-driven on-site energy management.   

My role is to oversee this work; identifying new opportunities for demonstrating data-driven HVAC solutions, and supporting companies to innovate and grow in this field.

The joint Mission Innovation / IEA EBC Annex 81

‘Data-Driven Smart Buildings’ is a new collaboration of some 16 countries and over 30 organisations. The initiative addresses the opportunity for emerging digital technologies to reduce costs and overcome barriers to energy efficiency, through advanced maintenance, control and operation of building HVAC systems. Emerging technologies and business models under investigation include the:

  • Internet of things (IoT);
  • Artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics; and
  • Open ‘sharing-economy’ digital platforms.

Amongst other things, the Annex will look to exploit semantic web technologies and data standards to improve the scalability of digital energy efficiency solutions.

I am the Operating Agent, responsible for leading the consortium.  This includes facilitating the development of research plans and knowledge sharing activities.

What is your organisation’s role in Australia’s energy transition?

CSIRO – the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation – is Australia’s national research agency. It plays a catalytic role in Australia’s innovation ecosystem helping to build consortia that can drive collective impact, and providing authoritative independent advice based on cutting edge research. 

The CSIRO Grids and Energy Efficiency Systems (GEES) Program aims to facilitate the alignment of consumer energy demand, storage and local generation for a reliable, low-cost, low-carbon energy system. It has delivered a number of seminal works including:

  • The Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and CSIRO Network Transformation Roadmap,;
  • The Future Grid Forum; and
  • The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) andCSIRO GenCost Report.

CSIRO is the operator of the National Energy Analytics Research platform (NEAR) which looks to support the harmonisation of diverse end-use data sources with an objective of reducing duplication of data management by various energy market stakeholders.

What is the value of the IEA EBC?

The International Energy Agency’s Energy in Buildings and Communities Program (IEA EBC) is one of the relevant IEA technology collaboration programmes that provide a forum for sharing knowledge and tapping into the latest international developments in the field of energy efficiency. 

The IEA EBC Annexes typically collate and produce reports on emerging products and services, and their applicability to policy and program goals. Annex research and knowledge sharing often supports the development of performance indicators, benchmarks and technical standards, which can be applied in the design of policies and programs. Consequently, the IEA EBC provides significant value as a mechanism for improving policies designed to underpin Australia’s energy transition.   

What motivated you to get involved with your current IEA EBC Annex?

My involvement in Annex 81 arose out of my role leading Australia’s engagement in the Mission Innovation ‘Affordable Heating and Cooling Innovation Challenge’. Mission Innovation (of which Australia is a member country) is a global initiative working to accelerate clean energy innovation. The aim is to overcome barriers to digitalisation of building services and thereby empower an ecosystem of Australian innovators to develop cost effective energy efficiency solutions based on emerging digital technologies.  This was linked with industry consultation work conducted by AIRAH, identifying that the global HVAC industry has been a slow adopter of digitalisation.

How does Australia benefit from engaging in this international research effort?

From an industry jobs and growth perspective: A number of Australian companies are pioneers in the field of data-driven building services. The IEA Annex 81 is an opportunity for these companies to showcase Australian capability and identify opportunities for new markets and growth.  It is also an opportunity for Australian companies to influence international technical standards and thereby help avoid being locked out of international markets.

From an energy transition perspective: The IEA Annex 81 workplan investigates the opportunity for integrating buildings as ‘distributed energy resources’ into the electricity system.  This is a potential low-cost (but largely untapped) opportunity for Australia to access 1.2GW of flexible load to improve the security of the grid. 

How can other researchers and industry leaders get involved with IEA EBC projects?

The IEA EBC Annexes are listed on the IEA EBC website - with Annexes in which Australians are involved listed here on the Energy Efficiency Council's website. Anyone that is interested in joining (and contributing to the work of) an Annex can contact the listed Operating Agent of that Annex.

Clearly, the Annexes that are in their early ‘preparation phase’ are best placed to receive new members and for their workplan to be influenced by the participation of new members.

Annex 81 is in its early stages and is open to welcoming new participants. Traditionally, most of the meetings have been face to face, but in these COVID-19 days, a lot more is being done online.

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