European legislation and incentives programmes for Demand Side Management

Maria de Fátima Castro, Shane Colclough, Bruno Machado, Joana Andrade, Luís Bragança

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Energy is now intrinsically linked to technological
development, given it powers all such systems. The use of fossil fuels to
supply the required energy is causing global environmental and health
issues and is impacting on all life forms on the planet. Given increasing
energy consumption, anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are
consequentially increasing. Therefore, it is necessary to replace fossil
fuels with renewable energies, biofuels and eco materials and related
technologies and to try and find a way to develop sustainable zero
emission solutions for all areas including constructions, transport and
water resources.
A critical and evolutionary way of thinking about the energy (and other
resource) demand, management and supply is necessary because there is a
clear concern about irreversible impacts to the world and a scarcity of
the resources as well. Energy supplies should be mostly or entirely
through renewable resources and highly efficient technologies put in
place to achieve solution such as nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB).
At the same time, all the energy and resource use processes should be
optimised in order to maximise the benefits, reduce the costs and promote
stakeholders (consumers, companies or governments) network, toward a
circular economy. This could be the way to supply the demand without
increasing the scarcity of the resources and to simultaneously achieve
environmental benefits. Therefore, it should be possible to improve
productivity with the same amount of resources, by e.g. maximising the
potential of smart grids and heuristically develop solutions with
The concept of Demand Side Management (DSM) emerged after the energy
crisis and it employs solutions such as reducing the daily peak load. At
the same time, creating an educational grid is important to change the
established paradigms, in order to promote critical thinking about the
wasted resources and thinking holistically about overall consumption.
This paradigm shift is changing the market, making it more competitive
and reducing inefficiency by promoting the efficient use of resources
including deployment of energy storage during the periods of low
consumption in daily peak shift.
All these issues present a new way of thinking in the path towards
sustainability, maximising the circular economy and reducing
environmental impacts, making connections and using the Internet of
Things to provide more information to all stakeholders. All these changes
in social behaviour are related to the rational use of resources and make
it easier to improve the existing infrastructures instead of building new
This paper analyses the state of the art at the European level in the
production and use of renewable resources. A survey and analysis of the
incentives to consumers and the policies to encourage the circular
economy, and a parallel analysis of benefits and drawbacks, was made. It
is intended to identify the main forms of intervention and improvement,
culminating in a reflection on how they should be applied in order to
improve the expected results and make them more efficient and
sustainable. This is intended to be an evolutionary framework of this
concept, from the first stage of use of energy to its final utilisation.
By approaching the task in a heuristic fashion, it is hoped to make the
environment healthier, and it is envisaged that this concept will evolve
from a linear to a life cycle approach.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Apr 2018
Duration: 25 Apr 201828 Apr 2018


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  • nearly Zero Energy Buildings
  • Sustainable construction
  • Demand Side Management
  • Thermal Energy Storage
  • nZEB


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