The Assessing the Flexibility of Heat Electrification in Various Building Types with an Agent Based Model project was led by Dr Koen van Dam, Dr Christos Markides and Professor Nilay Shah. It was overseen by Dr Anes Dallagi and Dr Dominique Bertin from EDF Energy R&D UK Centre. The work team was composed of  Maria Briola (graduate of the MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures), Gonzalo Bustos-TuruDr Salvador Acha, Dr Marco PantaleoDr Bianca Howard.

The project was part of the EDF SparkFund, a collaboration between Energy Futures Lab and EDF Energy R&D UK Centre. This initiative enabled short-term exploratory projects in areas of common interest to both. The expectation from these precursor projects is that they could lead to longer-term research projects.

The project investigated how simulation models can contribute to an improved understanding of the impact of heating demand profile variations on energy consumption and carbon emissions.

It was a continuation of the EDF FlexiFund project Load forecasting of electricity and heat demands in urban areas via agent-based modelling.


The project aimed to:

  • Develop a model, for a specific case study, which will be able to generate heat consumption profiles with a high resolution of 10 minutes intervals
  • Generate a method of calculating buildings’ energy consumption under various scenarios including the adoption of heat pumps and smart control thermostat technologies
  • Identifiy the flexibility and benefits of electric heating in terms of energy consumption and carbon emissions savings.

Case study

As in the Load forecasting of electricity and heat demands in urban areas via agent-based modelling project the team used the Isle of Dogs, part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in East London, as the case study. This urban area presents a mix of non-domestic and domestic dwellings built in various periods with different levels of density and the site still has potential for development. According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2011 42,000 people resided in Isle of Dogs, and due to the Canary Wharf financial district it is estimated 93,000 people work in the area.


The team were able to:

  • Demonstrate new capabilities developed for incorporating Agent-Based Models of residents’ behaviour with building and heating technology models
  • Gain insights on the impact of buildings, user behaviour and technologies on energy consumption profiles, environmental performance and demand response services
  • Test benefits of flexible heating scenarios to avoid peak loads at times of high energy cost and demand