New Initiatives

The following projects are being developed currently. If you are interested in more information please contact the Chairman, Rob Kool or contact the persons under each project.

DSM Task 17 Integration of Demand Side Management, Energy

Efficiency, Distributed Generation and Storage – Phase 4 -

Responsive prosumer networks


Phase 3 of Task 17, regarding applying DG-RES, DR and storage in electricity grids, came with a set of conclusions and recommendations [1]. These pertain to new business models and roles of actors in a re-regulated electricity value chain, new tariff structures and transaction mechanisms and new ICT technology options, which facilitate user and actor awareness of energy and electricity use.

The Paris treaty regarding reducing worldwide emission of greenhouse gases has accelerated the energy transition. The transition follows the “trias energetica” with first an increase of energy efficiency, moving to renewable generation and reducing emission for fossil fuels as the third option. The energy transition is also reflected by the European commission in November 2016 leading to the “winter package’’ of recommendations and directives for energy [2]. The window of opportunity for applying smaller scale resources (from the small commercial and end-customer segment) in the energy system can be seen to become wider in the near future although the existing grid accommodation capacity in some areas reaches its limit. Traditional retail and commercial consumers are in an evolution process to ‘prosumers’ and traditional electricity commodity retailers have to provide additional services in new business models to survive.

Phases 1-3 of task 17 have collected a valuable amount of information on technologies important for the current energy transition. Key energy transition components as demand response, distributed generation and storage technologies have been extensively analyzed and assessed from a technological perspective as well as from the perspective of operational or commercial electricity market usage in the grid. Cost/benefit models have been analyzed in several national contexts. However in all phases, it also was observed, only a part of the technical and economic potential can be uncovered. An acceleration is desired in line with the points addressed in the conclusion as to uncovering the full potential of demand side flexibility.

In the past five years Smart Cities concepts have been attributed a key role bringing together information and communication technology, urban planning and operation, optimization of energy and E-mobility related applications like comfort and energy management in buildings and mobility [3], [4]. Information and communication technologies increase aggregation possibilities and low-cost of IoT connected devices increase integration and valuation of the energy process information in the total system. On international and national levels, research programs have been defined and the first pilot projects already have been concluded. This development fits in key concepts in further uncovering the individual flexibility potential and to more powerful aggregation mechanisms and energy consumption/generation process integration levels, that can be validated and verified in the same way as large production facilities and or industrial DR resources.

Furthermore, transactive energy systems as a facilitator of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) trading between prosumers and consumers are coming-up as are the platforms for value-exchange without intermediary partners like blockchains.

Phase 4 in Task 17 builds further on the conclusions and recommendations of the previous phases and places them in an extended network perspective viz.

  • The electricity system operational and commercial market network context.
  • The community aggregation and ICT network context
  • The prosumer/supplier/buyer transaction network context

In this project, valuation of aggregation mechanisms of small and intermediate scale PV systems, electric vehicles, electric and heat storage systems, heat pumps, micro-CHP in combination with energy management systems and first and second generation smart meters for implementing new transaction and tariff models will be assessed. Besides, the existing experience base of conducted and ongoing pilot projects that combine these aspects will be extended and analyzed. The application and realization of finalized projects in participating countries with respect to the specific regional differences and requirements are placed in focus.

Phase 4


The October 2016 ExCo-meeting strategic discussion in the DSM-program did yield a clear requirement for an interdisciplinary approach between technological and behavioral scientists in an innovation eco-system context. Task 17 Phase 4 will try to follow this in the DSM-program portfolio by considering three aspects:

  • Responsive here reflects pro-activity and reactivity of the technological energy producing or consuming end-nodes but also of the (aggregated) users in providing responsiveness to different types of stakeholder requests in the energy commercial system and physical infrastructure.
  • Prosumer, here, reflects part of the energy transition viz. the increased and, from a grid stability perspective, possibly disruptive production capabilities of small dispersed producers and also the increasing use of the electricity grid due to the increased electrification with HVAC (heat pumps) and electric mobility (EVs).
  • The scope of networks considers the role of the physical grid, the aggregator and the, mostly rural, community/smart city dimension. Physical aggregation as well as virtual aggregation are considered.

Task subdivision

The following subtasks further structure the activities to handle this emerging DG-RES and demand side challenge:

Subtask 14: Context analysis, use cases and SmartCity pilot positioning

Subtask 15: Metering, monitoring and coordination methods required to increase prosumer responsiveness

Subtask 16: Coupling to innovative user feedback, billing and transactive energy schemes

Subtask 17: Conclusions and recommendations

Phase 4 Subtasks

Subtask 14. Context analysis, use cases and Smart City pilot positioning

In modern societies, digitalization of all kinds of processes takes place at an increasing pace. This also holds for the electricity sector. Commercial value creation can be achieved with an increasing penetration level of small-scale energy monitoring. Also at the management and control level, using connectivity of customers to the mainstream Internet, possibilities increase. Communicating, smart, meters generate power and energy measurements with 10 second and 15-minute resolution, which can be used for local and global commercial optimization. The potential of this metering infrastructure is only partially used.

Instrumentation of MV (Medium Voltage) grids allows more granular grid operation, based more and more on near real-time monitoring of data originating from lower voltage levels in the grid. To keep the electricity grid stable and allowing higher DG penetration levels, traditional SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems used for monitoring and control in DSO (Distribution System Operator) control centers are gradually extending their scope from the primary substation level (serving some 50000 customers) to the secondary substation level (1000 customers) and even the LV-transformer level (50 customers).

A key role in this transition is attributed to electricity flexibility and flexibility aggregation. ICT enables flexible aggregation topologies. Apart from self-consumption as an option, aggregation, in this sense, may be done (simultaneously) on the locational level, confined to a certain area, or on the global level, sharing certain optimization objectives like commercial portfolio optimization in the market or pairing renewable production and consumption in communities.

These technologies cannot be massively rolled out in one step. Pilot tests with Virtual Power Plants (VPPs), originally started 10-15 years ago within contexts of up to 50 to 100 customers. Scaling up at this moment takes place especially in Smart City contexts with support from EU research programs and national initiatives. Smart City concepts also stress the importance of integrating information and energy streams and also designs and layouts of physical grids in the context of DG-RES and energy storage embedding

Subtask 15 – Metering, monitoring and coordination methods required to increase prosumer responsiveness

An important conclusion of the work in Task 17 Phase 3 was, that end-user tariff components only have a distant link to the impact of the consumption and production of electricity of the electricity system as a whole. The electricity market cost mapping mostly is calculated from synthetic profiles derived  from a averaged set of electricity consumers or producers. In this way, end-user demand response actions, that generate flexibility, cannot be rewarded on an individual basis. Reconciliation using real measured profiles, based on the smart meter readings, makes it possible to map this price component more precisely on the actual power profile of the customer. In a number of countries, experiences with these types of reconciliation already exist.

For the transport and distribution components of the end-user electricity price also a similar mapping mismatch of real cost to tariffs occurs. Asset recovery based tariffs like connection capacity fees are common. Also tariffs, based on the maximum capacity used in a certain period, also hardly form a suitable component for rewarding end-user demand response. Distribution grids, previously having a one-design-fits-all-principle, with the current increased electrification of energy streams, are becoming more-and-more diverse. Functionality ranges from extended residential areas with high penetration of heat pumps to cities with large capacity requirements for (fast) charging of EVs. These changes require distribution tariffs with better opportunities to reward ‘’grid-friendly’’ user behavior.

A third electricity price component is government energy taxes and subsidies. Several tax levying and subsidy schemes exist on the electricity commodity. At some occasions renewable in-feed comes to saturation limits. On the market level, subsidized priority in-feed of wind energy can lead to lower day-ahead prices that reduce the allocated amount of low-CO2 fossil generators, Also, curtailment schemes for PV, needed for grid stability, are complex to implement due to loss of accompanying subsidies. In some cases this component has a different and even opposite effect in achieving the original, desired target. Priority in-feed of wind and net metering of PV need alternatives to reach their original objectives.

A considerable part of the increase of flexibility delivery will take place via automated controls operated via “soft” coordination algorithms and techniques (e.g. openADR) also establishing and maintaining the virtual power plant objectives and connections. The interaction of these information architectures with possible tariff scheme component modifications has to determined and evaluated.

Subtask 16 – Coupling to innovative user feedback, billing and transactive energy schemes

In the small commercial and end customer energy sector, depending on the volumes, financial transactions and accounting take place with monthly or in most cases yearly intervals. This creates a large feedback time. Currently, energy management apps on smart phones, in combination with smart meters allow instant, day-to-day feedback on energy usage. Currently these systems do not allow transforming this information into financial transactions. The Gridwise alliance, a consortium of energy service providers and technology developers in the US, has defined a transactive energy framework, that aims to split large overall transactions between stakeholders in commercial and grid operation into micro-transactions. The scheme enables multiple parallel transactions between actors in the electricity system to reconcile portfolio and grid management operations and services. In the Netherlands, the USEF (the Universal Smart Energy business Framework) consortium was designed a reference implementation, which is currently tested in the field.  During the past years also block-chain based transactie energy models have been proposed. These allow more accurate mapping of liabilities and responsibilities of actors involved in electricity distribution and transactive schemes. The first of these scheme designs are currently in the testing phase. These schemes are expected have a large impact on small-scale renewable energy systems. In this task this translation, paralleling transaction schemes in the B2B-sector, are inventoried and assessed.

Subtask 17 – Conclusions and Recommendations

Conclusions and recommendations will be arrived at in close interaction with the experts’ opinions and will at least provide a ranking based on impacts, costs and likely future penetration of suggested frameworks.

Collaboration and Dissemination

Collaboration with internal and external activities in the field will be continued.

IEEE-Standards Association, IEC and Cenelec

OAs currently are within the IEEE- IEC- and Cenelec Standards Association Industry Connections.


This Task considers the end-user view of ICT technology and smart meters in energy grids. Synergy is to be expected with ISGAN TCPs 2 (SmartGrid case studies) and 7 (SmartGrid transitions), which consider the political considerations and strategies. Good connections already exist as one of the Task 17 phase 3 OAs is the Austrian representative for ISGAN in TCP 2. These connections will be further extended and possibilities for joint dissemination events will be actively pursued.

National Stakeholder Groups

An essential pre-requisite is national dissemination of project results. Per participating organization stakeholders resonance platforms are active checked upon.

Other IEA-DSM Tasks

Task 16 Innovative energy services

Task 23 The Role of Customers in Delivering Effective Smart Grids

Task 24 Closing the Loop – Behaviour Change in DSM: from theory to policies and practice

Task 25 Business models for a more effective market

Contact for more information




How to do Behaviour Change in DSM. The A to Z of Behaviour

Change – “People-focused work stream”

Motivation for this work

“You must really continue the work you do! Going deeper into academia now I can see how much valuable work you have done with Task 24 – co-creation is on everyone’s lips and close to nobody understands what is needed to actually get it to work. This is why the experimental second part of Task 24 was so valuable – you (and we who participated) could really see what can work, and what definitely doesn’t. Few people have such experience.” Svetlana Gross, outgoing Swedish alternate ExCo and Task 24 supporter, via email.

“The edge of the DSM TCP is that it’s the only one in the IEA that really focuses on the human side of the energy system. It is really important that you continue to tell this story.” Michele de Nigri, EUWP Chair at the Dublin ExCo meeting in May 2017.

I have included these quotes because they make a really important point which encompasses the motivation for this work stream: we still know relatively little about the human dimensions of demand-side management compared to the more technical aspects and we need to both continue expanding on this work and tell our stories about it (better). What we knew when Task 24 first began in 2012 was largely academic theory (which Task 24 explored in Phase I) that can be difficult to translate into actionable, measurable praxis. However, the application of behavioural science to government programmes has blossomed in the years since, enabling us to collect a number of case studies about early-stage research and application in this area. Such synthesis served a vital role in both compiling evidence and connecting and engaging an emerging international research community.

This is why Phase II and its field research, testing the tools we have developed in real-life examples, was such a powerful addition to the DSM Programme’s work. This Task enabled us to discern best practices from among the researchers and stakeholders identified in Phase I and build out preliminary models for how the field can continue to move forward. We learned a lot of new things – what works, and what doesn’t; how the Task tools and approaches are applicable in many different sectors and countries; how to leverage a large, global expert network; and how to facilitate real multi-stakeholder collaborations. And while this Task is soon coming to an end, the real work on human behaviour and societal change in the DSM Programme has only just begun. In this work stream, we plan to build on the community and case studies compiled in Phase I and the preliminary models and tools developed in Phase II to work with a suite of partners to develop and test an internationally-validated process for behaviour change programmes that can be applied by stakeholders across the DSM landscape for years to come.


Task 24 – Behaviour Change in DSM

Task 24, which is running from January 2012 to April 2018, has been highly successful, showcasing the important area of Behaviour Change in DSM. It is the only IEA TCP Task or Annex that concentrated entirely on behaviour change, and may be the first global research collaboration to do so.

Over 300 behaviour change and DSM experts from over 20 countries are engaging and collaborating with the Task, in various forms. Their support has included participation in Task 24 workshops; co-authoring conference papers and peer-reviewed publications; supporting National Experts with report-writing or case study analyses; networking; peer review; and subject expertise in almost every sector, discipline or energy behaviour imaginable. The names and biographies of over 245 of these experts can be found on the invite-only Subtask 5 Task 24 Expert Platform. There are also over 145 videos and presentations of many successful Task 24 workshops and events on the Expert Platform (see Appendix A for a list of all workshops and conferences undertaken during the Task to date). Over 60 publications have been published to date (see Appendix B for all publications of the Task to date).

Feedback on Task 24 has been outstanding – experts are continually joining, enabling us to collect additional case studies and undertake participatory field research into this important area from a truly global perspective.

Phase I – Closing the Loop: From Theory to Practice

Task 24 was initiated in January 2012 (official start July 2012) and was financially supported by 10 countries in total (Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, the US and Austria). It also has received significant in-kind (expert) support from the UK, Spain, Portugal, UAE, France, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Japan, Germany and the US.

Over 60 case studies showing the successful (or not so successful) use of diverse models of understanding behaviour in the areas of transport, SMEs, smart meters and building retrofits have been collected from 15 countries. They have been analysed and an interactive 160pp ‘Monster’ report and Wiki ( have been developed (Subtask 1). Several in-depth case studies for Subtask 2 have also been collected – in Austria, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

We also addressed the all-important question of how to best evaluate successful long-term behaviour change outcomes (Subtask 3) from the perspective of the various ‘Behaviour Changers’ (in industry, government, research, the third and the service sectors) who are our target audience. A ‘beyond kWh tool’ has been developed, following an in-depth literature review on evaluation methodologies, by researchers from the Californian See Change Institute (SCI). We have also developed an in-depth positioning paper and factsheets on three specific intervention tools from the building retrofit area that focus on double-loop learning.

On finalising Phase I, we have provided country-specific recommendations and to do’s/not to do’s from stakeholder feedback collected during workshops, from our National Experts and during case study analyses (Subtask 4). The Task has also written a report on behavioural insights for ESCo Project Facilitators for IEA DSM Task 16 and published several articles, peer-reviewed conference papers and blogs[1].

Phase II – Helping the Behaviour Changers

Many important lessons were learned in Phase I of Task 24. Perhaps the most important one was that there was also no behavioural silver bullet – no one model of understanding or theory of change that can be applied to human energy behaviour in all situations and sectors. Instead, the energy system is complex and, once you add in the human dimension, also exceedingly messy. This messiness should not deter us to strive to tell a different story of how our energy system and its complex interrelations between people, technology and policy works. We have found that a better understanding of the human aspect of energy use, including behavioural and societal drivers, barriers and contexts, can greatly improve the uptake of energy efficiency and DSM policies and programmes. This is not to say that technology, market and business models are not important aspects of the Energy System. Instead, we posit that “the Energy System begins and ends with the human need for the services derived from energy (warmth, comfort, entertainment, mobility, hygiene, safety etc.) and that behavioural interventions using technology, market and business models and changes to supply and delivery of energy are the all-important means to that end”.

This core principle of ‘flipping’ the way we view the energy system from the technocratic to the human lens led us to design several tools and frameworks of how to achieve a Collective Impact[2] among a variety of different players with conflicting mandates, stakeholders, restrictions and tools.  The main framework (Subtask 8) is called the ‘Behaviour Changer Framework’ – also dubbed ‘the magic carpet’ (due it being printed on a large piece of cloth) by a major Californian electricity utility during the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) conference in 2015 (see Rotmann, 2016 for a detailed description).

We have taken the ‘magic carpet’ and many other Task 24 tools, such as the Subtask 9 ‘Beyond kWh’ tool (developed by project partners See Change Institute), and our in-depth look at storytelling in energy research (which culminated in the Task Operating Agent co-editing a Special Issue on storytelling in a highly reputable social science journal), on a journey around the world. Our tools and approaches were tested in participatory field research settings in dozens of workshops in over 10 countries, involving hundreds of Behaviour Changers from government, industry, research, the third and service sectors (Subtasks 5 & 7). We looked at diverse topics and sectors (Subtask 6) such as:

  • Building Management Operators in major hospital networks (Canada and the US),
  • Using libraries as Middle Actors to loan out energy saving kits (Ireland),
  • P2P neighbourhood solar sharing schemes (New Zealand),
  • ICT in Higher Education (the Netherlands)
  • How to increase uptake in a new mobility app (Austria) and
  • Green leasing in commercial office buildings (Sweden).

In addition, we used the magic carpet to discuss, as part of international conference workshops:

What we learned from testing the ‘magic carpet’ and our other tools with a wide variety of Behaviour Changers[3] from many different sectors, was that the Collective Impact Approach truly works. The general idea is to approach any behavioural problem by first, identifying, and then, facilitating, the right Behaviour Changers from each sector to collaborate on:

  • Visualising the current system in all its complexity and messiness
  • Identifying a common goal that all players – and the End User! – want to achieve
  • Creating a common measurement system, based on the multiple benefits for each player
  • Designing a continuous communication system with mutually-reinforcing activities
  • Supporting a strong, neutral backbone organisation that helps facilitate the process
  • Designing, implementing, evaluating and re-iterating (if necessary) a common intervention
  • Analysing results and comparing them with other case studies elsewhere
  • Global dissemination and cross-cultural/country comparisons.

We believe that the tools developed in this Task provide practical value to any (energy) behavioural problem in any sector or country. Another unique feature of the Task is that it is completely neutral, affording it the role of trusted Facilitator – it does not represent a country, energy sector, or research discipline and does not promote any specific ‘models of behaviour’. Instead, it works with all interested countries, sectors and disciplines, assisting Behaviour Changers to find the most appropriate, tailored solutions in collaboration with other relevant Behaviour Changers and the End User (whose behaviour we are ultimately trying to change).

The easiest way to visualise Task 24 research is to see its function like a multi-tool (Fig 1). Where basic research (e.g. multi-country research contracts funded by H2020) may be a large chef’s knife, and applied, institutional, academic research is a smaller but sharper paring knife, Task 24 is like a Swiss Army knife, with many different tools for various audiences, behavioural problems, sectors and countries. It offers a unique nexus of theory, policy and practice and has a global brand and dissemination reach via its umbrella organisation, the International Energy Agency.



Fig 1. Task 24 visualised as a Swiss Army knife. Note: ST indicates ‘Subtask’

The see Change Institute approach

See Change Institute (SCI) is developing a “playbook” that provides programme implementers, managers, and evaluators a “how-to” process for integrating behavioural science into both new and existing demand-side management interventions. This playbook will be released in early 2018 and will include step-by-step processes and best practices for programme design with guidance for leveraging social science into customer-facing communications and interventions.

The SCI Building Blocks of Behaviour Change process (Figure 2) has three key steps:

  1. Target: This step includes conducting literature review and customer research (i.e. focus groups, interviews) to gain insights on target AUDIENCE and BEHAVIOUR. Tangible outcomes are a problem /mission statement for the intervention and clearly operationalised target audience segments and behaviours.
    • Audience: Who is the target audience?
    • Behaviour: What is the intended behaviour?
  2. Design: This step encourages iterative design and testing of CONTENT and DELIVERY strategies to build out the intervention strategy and implementation plan. It combines user testing and A/B testing to gain both qualitative and quantitative insights on how and for whom the intervention works.
    • Content: What behavioural strategies are used? How are messages framed?
    • Delivery: What mediums, messengers, and timing are used to deliver the intervention?
  3. Apply: This step moves from planning to implementation and assures that programme execution includes rigorous EVALUATION to measure key performance indicators and allow for both programme summative (did it work) and formative (how can it be improved) evaluation.
    • Evaluation: How can the success of the intervention or programme be measured?



Figure 2. See Change institute Building Blocks of Behaviour Change process

An additional tool developed by SCI provides support for the EVALUATION step in the process. Called the “Beyond kWh Toolkit”, it includes a set of scales that can be used to collect self-reported data as a part of evaluation of behavioral interventions. It builds from preliminary instruments drafted as part of Task 24 by refining and psychometrically- validating scales for:

  1. Norms (e.g., efficacy, social norms)
  2. Practices (e.g., onetime, habitual)
  3. Material culture (e.g., appliance stock)
  4. Context (e.g., demographics, housing),
  5. User experience (e.g., ease of use, engagement)

A full survey instrument with these scales can be completed via computer, paper or phone in 10-15 minutes.

The See Change Institute (SCI) Process blends insights and best practices from behavioural science, human-centered design, and community-based social marketing to optimise how we solve problems. It is a comprehensive yet straightforward approach that identifies key issues at both the applied (Implementer) and empirical (Researcher) sides of a project, as well as identifying the outputs that should result at each step. At the highest level, the SCI process answers the Who, How, and What of a proposed solution(s) through a series of clear actionable steps to Target (Audience and Behaviour), Design (Content and Delivery), and Apply (Evaluate) behavioural interventions and programmes. Task 24 tools provide the additional steps of answering the Why, So What and Now What using the tested collective impact approach and facilitation of multi-stakeholder collaborations on real-life issues that demand better behavioural interventions:

  • WHY – identify relevant Funders and Implementers and their Why
  • WHO – define audience and End User behaviour
  • HOW – design content and delivery
  • WHAT – deploy and evaluate
  • SO WHAT – develop and tailor full process of behaviour change into different modules
  • NOW WHAT – overall summary and where to go next

A new model of Behaviour Change

The proposed research for this new work stream will apply the tested Task 24 tools with SCI’s Building Blocks of Behaviour Change process and Beyond kWh Toolkit to real-life DSM problems in a variety of countries, sectors, and behaviours and conduct both process and outcome evaluation to assess what works and how the tools can be applied at scale. It will showcase the IEA DSM Programme’s wider knowledge and work on the human side of energy as part of a “People-Focused Work Stream” which is not coupled with a specific Task. We will:

  1. Create an overarching international standard of how to ‘do’ behaviour change in real life by showcasing how it is ‘done’ in (best) practice;
  2. Promote and showcase the IEA DSM Programme’s work on the ‘human’ side of energy.

Hence, we call this the A to Z (model) of behaviour change.


Our objective is to codify and standardise best practices and processes identified during Phases I and II of Task 24 through field trials and participatory action research with programme Implementers[4]. It will clearly outline the steps needed to make ‘Behaviour Change in DSM’ truly work in real life and to showcase the IEA DSM Programme’s important work in this area. The focus will be not only on tools developed by Task 24 in Phases I and II but also on disseminating other people-focused IEA work such as e.g. DSM Tasks 23 and 25 and EBC Annex 66 as well as other global research efforts in this area (building on the 300+ behaviour change experts already engaged with the Task). It will also incorporate and extend a framework for research-based behaviour change programmes developed by project partner SCI.

The outcome will be a clear process of how to ‘do’ behaviour change research in real life, tailored to the needs of different countries, non-state actors from different sectors and different end user behaviours. It will also cement the IEA DSM Programme as the ‘go-to’ TCP for customer-driven and end user-focused research and insights.

Because of this unique approach that combines field research with broad dissemination (compared with how we usually design and focus DSM Tasks), we propose a different model of funding meant to:

  • Reduce the pressure on individual countries having to provide all the funding and expert capability to support a more narrowly-focused Task;
  • Enable all ExCo countries and partners to participate in this important people-focused DSM research; and
  • Stimulate non-state actor engagement and critical co-funding in this crucial next step of field research and trialling of real-life pilots.


Due to its diverse audience drawn from multiple sectors, disciplines and domains, Task 24 has continued to maintain a balance of being practical and understandable by a highly variable audience whilst also having academic validity. The tools and reports that were developed for this Task thus had to incorporate the following criteria:

  • Relevance to decision-makers in government agencies, energy agencies and policy makers on the international, national, and local level;
  • Broad appeal to a global audience spanning largely OECD countries and including developed and developing countries from northern and southern hemispheres across five continents;
  • Country-context specific, as it informed how tools were tailored and recommendations were provided. This included cross-cultural comparisons in several reports;
  • Multiple sectors as target audiences for case studies and pilots in Task 24. They included hospitals (US and Canada); DSOs (NL and NZ); the residential sector (SE, NL, NZ, IT, US, AT, IE); transport (SE); higher education (NL); SMEs (BE) and the transport sector (AT);
  • Models and theories from all research disciplines studying behaviour change in energy. Analysis was grouped into three main disciplinary approaches: psychology, economics and sociology;
  • Inclusion of creative, entertaining and engaging features and storytelling as the overarching ‘language’.

It should be clear from this list of criteria that Task 24 had an almost impossible mandate, yet enthusiastic feedback to date (including continued funding from countries and non-state actors; new experts joining the expert network; being invited to become technical steering committee and panel members of key behaviour and energy efficiency conferences; and co-editing a special issue in Energy Research and Social Science, among others) has suggested that the Task has managed to achieve this feat. It has become a global voice for Behaviour Changers and shown the importance of taking a whole-system, collaborative approach to behaviour change. That is why this important work should continue, preferably under the IEA (DSM) banner, to ensure its global applicability and roll-out and to promote and build on its good brand. However, this work has also clearly outgrown the more narrow ‘Task’ framework of our TCP.

Due to the nature of the work focusing on proof of concept, i.e. Participatory Action (Field) Research and piloting, rather than being largely a synthesis of country experts’ research interests and outputs, the usual Task framework may not be the most appropriate for this extended focus of work. It has also become clear in Phase II of Task 24 that most of the Behaviour Changer Funders and Implementers who undertake behaviour change pilots and programmes are not found on the state level but in the non-state sector. They have the finances, motivation, leadership buy-in and fewer political pressures compared with e.g. some of our governmental ExCo members. The ExCo will still be the overarching steering committee of the research, but instead of focusing on only a few financially-participating countries, the whole ExCo will play an important function and role in steering the people-focused work stream of the IEA DSM Programme. This includes a greater focus on, and dissemination of work that is currently being conducted by all participating ExCo members in this important area.

Management, roles and responsibilities

The proposed management of this work is by keeping the highly-experienced and established Task 24 Operating Agent, Dr Sea Rotmann (SEA – Sustainable Energy Advice Ltd, NZ) as the main contact with the IEA DSM ExCo. The See Change Institute, led by CEO Dr Beth Karlin will serve as primary Project Partner, testing the Building Blocks of Behaviour Change process and Beyond kWh toolkit, which have been developed in 2015-2017 with funding provided by two California Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) – Pacific, Gas, and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE). See Change Institute has been a very generous and supportive in-kind partner of Task 24 (and the ‘unofficial’ US National Expert) for over 4 years. Other project partners and highly-engaged Task 24 experts, will continue to be part of this work on a per-need (based on the country, sector and/or expertise needed) basis.

The responsibilities of the OA include:

  • Overall management of the Work Stream, including coordination, liaison between Subtasks, flow of information between participants, and communication with the ExCo;
  • Providing Status Updates at each ExCo meeting, Annual Reports, and the Final Report;
  • Attracting funding for field research pilots from at least 3-5 (non-state) actors and finding relevant international comparison studies for cross-cultural analysis;
  • Disseminating the results of the work, including wider promotion of the IEA DSM Programme’s “People-Focused Work Stream”. This involves showcasing results from other IEA Tasks or Annexes associated with researching the End User, publicising relevantly-themed DSMU webinars, representing the “People’s Side” at IEA Secretariat events (like the recent IEA Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in June 2017) and promoting the wider work of our experts within the IEA, from whose research we can draw valuable learnings from;
  • Chairing workshops, meetings and presenting at conferences, webinars and lectures;
  • Research analysis, writing and publishing of peer-reviewed articles and technical reports;
  • Responsible for the management of work performed under all assigned Subtasks, including meetings, status reports, deliverables, and budget oversight;
  • Maintaining close contacts with research related to this Work Stream that is conducted in other TCPs or in other international organisations and research collaborations, including relevant H2020 programmes.

The responsibilities of the Project Partner include:

  • Working with the OA to attract / obtain funding for field research pilots from at least 3-5 (non-state) actors;
  • Leading design, analysis and evaluation for all funded field research pilots (using the Building Blocks of Behaviour Change process and Beyond kWh Toolkit);
  • Leading academic write-up and publications;
  • Responsible for the management of work to be performed under all assigned Subtasks, including the meetings, status reports, deliverables, and budget oversight; and
  • Supporting the OA in ExCo feedback and IEA-related work especially around finding and showcasing the people-focused work of project partners and research contacts.

Expected benefits for IEA DSM

This proposed model goes beyond the traditional Task structure, where a small number of countries fund individual Tasks with rather narrow research objectives. Instead, it proposes to promote and align the IEA DSM Programme’s ‘people-focused work stream’ and outputs (including what has been done as part of the DSM University) with other international research efforts in this space, with an oversight steering committee consisting of the entire DSM ExCo.

This will provide ExCo members with:

  • A strong platform for the IEA DSM Programme to stand out among the largely-technology focused TCPs;
  • Leading the charge for engaging communities, End Users and other Behaviour Changers in whole-system collaborations that focus on structural issues which we need to change to accommodate climate change and energy efficiency targets;
  • Gain improved political buy-infor their countries’ policy development, through coordination with the IEA Secretariat and other international bodies interested in this area of research (e.g. G20, Horizon 2020, eceee, ACEEE, BEHAVE, BECC…);
  • Reduced pressure to find funding for an individual Task – e.g., no requirement to find and pay a National Expert;
  • Ability to collaborate with non-state actors across multiple countries / sectors that have the resources and mandates to conduct large-scale behavioural field trials;
  • Greater buy-in and oversight into steering a very important work stream of the DSM Programme;
  • More flexibility for the Operating Agent/Project Stream Leader to engage with non-state actors and non-IEA DSM countries to collect a wider range of research and insights, including into developing countries.

Benefits for Behaviour Changers to join this workstream

Non-state actors who are in active development of a behaviour change programme or intervention will be invited to join the project as “implementation” partners. These Funders and Implementers will work closely work with the Researchers (OA and Project Partner/s). The Researchers will walk the Implementers through the steps on the top half of the diagram (see Figure 3) and will be responsible for the activities on the bottom half of the diagram. At the end, the Implementers will have conducted a behavioural pilot intervention or programme and the researchers will have completed both a summative and formative evaluation with guidance on how to replicate and/or scale-up their pilot.


Figure 3. Process for Implementer (Behaviour Changer) and Researcher collaboration

Opportunities for Global Networking and Collaboration

  • Implementers will become part of the combined Task 24 and SCI expert platforms with 100s of Behaviour Changers from all sectors (Industry, Government, Research, Intermediaries and the Third Sector) and over 20 countries.
  • They can bring their own DSM issuesand get cutting-edge, tailored advice and research support for the entire chain of designing, implementing, evaluating, reiterating and disseminating behavioural interventions that work;
  • They will gain access to, and participate in the IEA DSM Universityincluding developing and disseminating their case studies in promoted webinars, peer-reviewed publications and technical reports;
  • They will gain access to global dissemination and country comparisons via the highly-reputable IEA network.

Access to Cutting-Edge Tools and Resources

  • Behaviour Changers will gain improved knowledge and understanding on what different models and theories of behaviour changeare available and when and how to best use them in practice;
  • They can learn from and share, directly and via the IEA DSM network, best practice case studies and stories;
  • They can gain great, practical examples and expert guidance of how to use storytellingin policy and practice;
  • They can get access to, and expert support for, the tools that were tested and developed by Task 24 and SCI;
  • They will get expert facilitation and backbone support to develop the Collective Impact Approachin practice, tailored to their stakeholders, mandates and needs.

Co-creation and Promotion of New Solutions to Old Problems

Behaviour Changers will gain access to a highly respected global brand. This includes being invited to collaborate on joint behaviour change publications in DSM including, but not limited to:

  • Re-framing the big issues together, for example, how to better understand and engage the ‘human’ aspectof the energy system and how to overcome inherent systemic restrictions and conflicts, nationally and internationally;
  • Becoming part of co-creating the Behaviour Changer Framework, using a Collective Impact Approachand Storytelling as overarching methodologies;
  • Learning how to apply the Building Blocks of Behaviour Change process to design, and the Beyond kWh tool to evaluate better interventions;
  • Reducing duplication of efforts by learning from real-life field research so we can move from individually-focused, programme-level approaches to collaborations aimed at the common goal of achieving systemic, societal changeswith collective community and citizen participation at its core.

Structure of the work stream

Subtask 0 – Administration, management and logistics

Subtask 1 – Experts network and dissemination

Subtask 2 – the Why

Subtask 3 – the Who

Subtask 4 – The How

Subtask 5 – The What

Subtask 6 – the So What

Subtask 7 – the Now What

Contact for more information:

Dr. Sea Rotmann
Dr. Beth Karlin



IEA DSM Task 25 – Phase 2 – Business models for a more

effective market uptake of DSM energy services for SMEs and


Summary of Phase 1 of Task 25

In 2014, the Demand Side Management programme (DSM) run by International Energy Agency (IEA) started this research project on new business models for energy efficiency services (IEA, 2014). This research is part of a growing body of research aimed at understanding what is causing the apparent lack of market uptake of Energy Efficiency. (IEA 2015) new business models for energy services are considered to be a key delivery mechanism for Energy Efficiency and savings. (Boons and Lüdeke – Freund, 2013). A growing understanding is that in many business models underlying Energy Efficiency services, the supplier perspective is dominant. Too little attention is given finding appealing values that go beyond financial savings and profitability, values only appealing to a certain number of people (Hienerth et al., 2011) (Arevalo et al, 2011) (Gentile et al., 2007; Vargo & Lusch, 2008). The premises behind this observation is that the current system (the established system) is technocratic and push oriented and a more user centered approach will be more effective in creating market uptake (Tolkamp et al 2017). This is directly related to the fact that service value is being co-created with the end user. No user means no service. Business models and energy services focusing on the customer perspective and their unique buying reasons for energy efficiency are considered to be the next step in creating a larger market uptake for energy efficiency (Nilsson et al 2012) (Hiernerth et al, 2011). The capability to identify user needs has been found to indeed correlate positively with profit generation and the increase in market share among other indicators, in other sectors (Janssen, 2015).

The key question guiding our work was if indeed these new types of business models and energy services are more effective than the so far rather technocratic and technology push approach type of business models. And if the dynamic capabilities of entrepreneurs and providers of services that facilitate a focus on this customer perspective and tailor their services (Teece, 2011) indeed contribute to a more effective uptake of the product and service. These dynamic capabilities relevant to user centered service development include sensing, conceptualizing, orchestrating, stretching and scaling (Den Hertog et al. 2010). We also investigated if  a better alignment of the business model with context was helpful in delivering energy efficiency more effectively  because a business model design is strongly influenced by context, e.g. existing legislation and available subsidies, other bottlenecks and constraints, and various players within the current energy production and consumption system. (Bidmon and Knab, 2014; Provance, Donnelly, and Cara Yannis, 2011; Geels and Schot 2010; Huijben and Verbong 2013; Mormann 2014). For a more substantial context analysis for each of the participating countries we refer to the country reports.

The creation of a user centered business model and value proposition, the dynamic capabilities of the entrepreneur/enterprise in navigating the context and user related issues and finally, the context in which the business model and service is deployed were therefore at the core of our empirical analysis.

These findings are based on an analysis of 46 business models in the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Switzerland and South Korea as part of the IEA Demand Side Management Task 25, Together with national experts, we first drew up a longlist[1] of more than 350 Energy Efficiency propositions we could in the participating countries using a quick scan on internet and using the networks of the energy agencies involved. We focused on a mix of retrofitting, lighting, smart solutions and total solution (one-stop-shop) products and services. We explicitly excluded Energy Service Companies (ESCo) and Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) services for non-residential segments because these were already investigated in Task 16 of the IEA DSM. Based on initial information collected in this longlist we made a selection of propositions that would be further analysed to understand their business model, the accompanying entrepreneurial dynamic capabilities and their interaction with context. The selected propositions were chosen to represent variety in success (market share and market uptake) and in alignment or challenging relationship with the broader context (policy, consumer attitudes, regulations), thus representing either a clear fit or stretch relationship with context(Huijben 2015). The selection allowed for comparison of similar smart service, retrofitting, total solution and lighting propositions, operating in different political, institutional, technological, socio-cultural contexts.

We started fleshing out 46 business models using the business model canvas and customer value canvas designed by Osterwalder and Pigneur (2010). During this analysis of the business models, in each of the participating countries we organised a workshop with the entrepreneurs being analysed and other stakeholders from industry, academia and the policy arena to discuss our initial findings. What became quickly apparent is that the canvasses are a snapshot, while the underlying business is a very dynamic and complex entity which operates in a system, which is also very complex, with its own dynamics, something the research field has been researching extensively (Boons, F., & Lüdeke-Freund, F., 2012,),[i]but for the purpose of drawing out basic information about the business model and the value proposition the canvasses by Osterwalder, Pigneur and Clark (2010) were sufficiently adequate. To incorporate the more dynamic view on the business model we investigated the entrepreneur’s journey for each of the 46 propositions as well, which is a description of the business and how it has evolved over time by means of interviews with either the CEO of the companies or the most relevant employee. Also, we identified how the system influenced this development by performing a context analysis by means of literature analysis of relevant material on the context, including grey literature such as websites (i.e, Eurobarometer, Eurostat), and or interviews with key representatives for industry, government, NGO, academia, business and other sectors.  In order to collect our data the authors and national experts interviewed all entrepreneurs both on their business, their dynamic capabilities and their perspective on the system they operate in, and we focused on the user centeredness of the business model and the entrepreneur (Tolkamp et al. 2017). As such the data is a mix of self- reported material and material collected on the businesses from for example internet, or provided to us by the entrepreneurs, e.g. on market share and number of clients, turnover etc. [ii]

Key findings Phase 1 and outlook for future research and activities: Phase 2

The findings in Phase 1 of the research of Task 25 are more or less general for many sectors:

  • There are some major differences between a business model that is supporting a product compared to the business model that is supporting a service. Those companies that have made the adjustments towards service orientation do report a better uptake and thus are more successful than companies that have a product oriented business model
  • In order to conduct a service oriented business (deliver services instead of a product), an entrepreneur needs to have developed at least four capabilities at an acceptable level: sensing user needs, conceptualizing, orchestrating and scaling.
  • The context the business model is operating in can be supportive, but also inhibiting the growth and success. Most policies for example are inhibiting service oriented business models and do not focus on the use phase, and essential phase for services.

Four main strategies can be identified with respect to how companies deal with a lack of uptake and context issues.

  • The importance of this research is:
  • The three levels of business model, entrepreneurial capability and context fit or stretch are strongly interrelated and in order to be successful, the entrepreneur has to improve on all these levels.
  • The description of the service ‘version’ of the business model canvas has not been done before, and provides a new tool for business model analysis.


The outcomes of Phase 1 of the Task 25 research for the energy market, is that it provides new knowledge on how stimulation programs should be designed, as well as which initiatives need stimulation.  On both national and individual business level there new knowledge was developed on how a business model should be assessed and can be adjusted in order to become more successful in the market. As most entrepreneurs seem to be more or less unaware of their options in this area, a quick tool to scan the business model has been developed (fittoserve).

Our research in Phase 1 was not comprehensive but did allow for the exploration and identification of interesting business models and strategies for energy efficiency focused services and how these could be supported by policy and or other institutional arrangements. We are however just starting to understand what the business models delivering energy efficiency services need to do to be successful, which sectors need what type of models, and what is needed from policy makers or other institutional players in terms of support. In sum, much more research and other activities are needed.

Below we briefly discuss the different topics and activities we feel are in need of more research and then continue with a proposal for a work plan for Phase 2.

Objectives/Subtasks for Phase 2

Subtask 2a: Increasing our comparison, including other sectors and going beyond energy efficiency to also understand sufficiency/circular economy type of business models.

In Phase 1 of Task 25 we focused explicitly on the following type of business models: retrofitting (focused on residential sector and intermediaries delivering retrofitting solutions to residential sector); total solutions, again mostly focused on residential sector and some SMEs; lighting solutions, and smart services such as smart metering, home (energy) management systems. We started with a fifth category (heating), but due to lack of suitable cases in all participating countries we had to abandon this category.

As described above, the contours of matches between one of our four business model strategies and a specific sector are emerging. To increase our understanding and keep up with the emerging trends we propose to include similar business models from other countries in our analysis, for example the UK and other participating countries in the IEA DSM TCP. In addition we propose to focus on an additional number of categories of energy efficiency business models. Part of this expanding of our focus we explicitly propose to start also exploring the business models focused on sufficiency and circular economy and how energy and efficiency are embedded in these and also include combined business models of both Energy Efficiency and Renewables.

The list below is preliminary and it can be changed or increased based on needs of interested partners:

  1. Broadening the scope to understand how the framework (business model, capabilities, context) applies to other sectors, specifically:
    1. Demand Response energy service business models

Successful demand response business models are necessary for a good operation of smart grids. At present, most research on these type of business models focuses on identifying the value and business opportunities for the different type of stakeholders. Paradoxically, although by definition demand response services focus on the use phase, a critical element of success, namely incorporating the needs of the actual users or alternatively the providers of flexibility, is largely undervalued and user are often wrongly represented in the design creating important mismatches in use  (Breukers et al, 2017) (Sissini et al. 2017). Demand response services focused on both residential sector and larger building types such as hospitals, universities etc. are mostly designed from a technocratic and supply (utility or grid actors) perspective, having technological and system requirements lead instead of user needs. Consequently, demand response services are not often combined with other (e.g. smart) and potentially more valuable services to end-users, e.g. combined with energy efficiency or multiple benefits. An additional challenge is that the owners of the building are sometimes not the actual user of energy and thus the provider of the flexibility. Instead of focusing on the ‘traditional’ technocratic and supply driven type of business models we would explicitly search for alternative models, for example such as Restore; a Belgian company that aggregates multiple loads, a demand aggregator, or Community driven Virtual Power Plants where community needs are leading.

  1. ICT and (open) data based energy service business models

ICT and open data are considered key drivers for future energy services around for example smart grids and smart buildings, and their transformative role is being investigated by multiple stakeholders, including even the world bank (2012).  What lacks investigation however, is again how user centeredness can be incorporated in these type of business models, for example in innovative use of data to for example design neighbourhood energy management systems instead of home energy management systems, or virtual power plants, or in models where ownership of metered data remains with the end-users and the collaborate to aggregate that data and sell it.

  1. Deepening our understanding about how the four different strategies relate to specific sectors.
    1. ICT and automation are very different sectors compared to retrofitting or insulation, and different segments such as households, SMEs and commercial buildings might also benefit from different business models and strategies. So far we do see a pattern where retrofitting business models seem to be centered mainly on the second strategy (reframing what you push), whereas the smart service for example, are often a hybrid between the second and the third strategy (pushing something else). and we wish to increase our understanding of such matches.
  1. Deepening the understanding of the retrofitting sector.
    1. All countries that participated in Task 25 phase 1 reported a difficult, traditional and fragmented market for retrofitting. The market is dominated by small, very product oriented contractors and installers and as a result, the house owner is ‘lost’ and insulation and retrofitting does not take of (as the unmet potential shows). Despite various stimulation programs, like subsidizing the material. With the knowledge and insights of phase one (specifically: the need to take the use phase in focus, close interaction with the end user) phase 2 can zoom in on this specific sector and design the contours of a new and effective stimulation program.
  1. Contributing to the development of new service business models for the energy sector.
    1. One of the key outcomes of phase one is the service oriented version of the business model canvas. The most important differences with the product oriented version are a different focus on the client relation (continuous relation, with the transaction as a starting point), the revenue model and the partner relations. Phase 2 can focus on these new, service business model building blocks and contribute to the knowledge about such service business model:
  1. Deepening our understanding of different partnering forms in new service business models in the energy sector.
    1. Many new business models are emerging where users have new roles (other than client), but are also partner and sometimes users are even the main developers of the business model. This occurs for example when dealing with peer-to-peer or when community-to-business type of models where the users become aggregators. These new roles impact the business model profoundly. Not only the partner building block of the business model changes, with new roles, new interactions between provider and user/client, but it also impacts on the revenue model: e.g. business models using new payment schemes such as blockchain such as presented by David Shipworth at the DSM academy. And the resources block of the business models change for example because of the use of (consumer) data as a primary resource and activity in the model. All these changes are profound in the business model innovation field focused on the energy sector and under researched.
  2. In the business innovation field in general, but in the energy sector in particular there is a dire need for research on cases that explicitly focus on delivering more than just energy efficiency, but that help create systemic change.
    1. These type of models for example aim to combine energy efficiency, renewables but also aim for sufficiency and or circular economy. In addition this is where multiple or additional benefits find a place in the business model, and multiple value creation is at the heart of the model. These business models are a vastly understudied field in the energy field. It is imperative to understand these models and their implementation. Only a few authors focus on this element. Hiteva and Sovacool (2017) for example discuss how the justice approach can be used to innovate business modelling and also focus on value such as influence on decision-making, participation and fair process. Bocken et al. (2014) discuss new sustainable business models where both stakeholder interests, societal and environmental needs are balanced. The research for this specific topic will lead to a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms in this specific type of business model. These include best practices, patterns in other (non-energy) sectors and their applicability to EE services.

Subtask 3a: Deepening our understanding of the issues explaining the inertia of EE uptake

In this subtask we want to explicitly focus on the role of agencies, governments (i.e. context players) in stimulating market uptake of energy services, especially for smaller companies. Few authors are investigating the impact of particular policy instruments on the viability of specific business models (Al-Saleh and Mahroum, 2015) or how public support can help businesses become more service oriented (Plepys et al., 2014). Plepys et al. (2014) conclude  that the current market is biased against forward looking business models that do not bring immediate benefits. Secondly, powerful market players oppose these business models because they challenge the competitive advantage of mass production

But much more research is needed, especially in the energy related sciences. Questions such as: what would be effective programs to stimulate demand (insulation and retrofitting), how to solve the hopelessly fragmented market of contractors etc. are in dire need of investigation? This is essential in the success as well as the process of servitisation. In order to tailor such a program to a specific national context, this programme will be co-created with local agencies. Below we explain the above need in more detail.

Service orientation in a business model, and a focus on the use phase to allow energy efficiency to be experienced by a user, for example in terms of the comfort it provides, or control, or ease, are clear drivers for successful uptake of an energy efficiency service. Based on the analysis of the 42 cases in Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, and Norway we can conclude that those service oriented business models that indeed become big are able to become big thanks to a mother company. This mother company, for example a well-established utility, a university, or holding company,  provides them with the following elements: access to a well-established client base and relationship, and therefore also valuable customer data, branding, money, to set up adequate user sensing dynamic capabilities and perhaps most importantly patience and thus time. The services are explicitly not yet commercially viable and therefore need time to experiment, stretch, learn, adapt. It can indeed be witnessed that big players in the energy sector such as General Electric, Schneider Electric, but also many utilities are turning (part) of their business towards this service model approach. GE for example launched Current, a company that blends advanced energy technologies like LED and solar with networked sensors and software to make commercial buildings and industrial facilities more energy efficient and productive is already worth a 1 billion dollar in revenue.[iii] These type of business models and players benefit from taxes but don’t really need targeted policy support.

In most countries that we analysed however, most firms providing energy efficiency services are very small (often under 10 people). These businesses have a very hard time (because of lack of a mother company and thus money and time to experiment and truly sense needs and options) to become really service oriented, and to stretch the context and are not likely to follow the aware market changer or stealth changer strategy. These companies are forced to follow the smart matcher strategy. As mentioned earlier, many of these smaller businesses are very dependent on context elements such as laws, regulations, and they need to develop dynamic capabilities on how to deal with the constantly changing and inherently complex and uncertain framework conditions, and to overcome internal organisation barriers (Smith and Raven, 2012; Chesbrough, 2010; McGrath, 2010). Most SMEs have hardly any capacity and resources to experiment and develop capabilities necessary to move away from a product and technology push approach. What these smaller business need to be able to also move away from the product dominant logic, stretch and challenge the existing system and start becoming more service oriented is room to experiment.

The importance of experimenting is also evidenced by the finding that business models that constantly reinvent themselves in response to changing frameworks are more successful (McGrath, 2010; Mullins and Komisar, 2009; Chesbrough 2010; De Reuver, Bouwman, and Haaker, 2013). This experimentation and or responsiveness is however not facilitated sufficiently by existing framework institutions such as public authorities. Public authorities should nurture energy efficiency entrepreneurs more.

We have not yet performed a comprehensive analysis of which kinds of policy support would best support the four models and strategies, and thus this is the aim of the next phase of this Task 25. In the next paragraph we explore briefly what the different kinds of policy support are that are available and what might be potential valuable support for the four models. In phase 2 we would like to explore these hypotheses.

The traditional ways public authorities can nurture SMEs is through education, information and awareness creation; regulatory and fiscal frameworks[iv]. The push harder/unaware market changer model and strategy’s biggest barrier is their own lack of awareness on where they are positioned on the product-service shift, and these type of businesses’ capability to sense user needs is underdeveloped and they experience a mismatch with what many potential clients need. For this type of entrepreneurs, information and awareness raising campaigns about the paradigm shift, targeting the entrepreneurs would be valuable (Mont & Lindquist, 2003). These entrepreneurs would also benefit from self-assessment information tools. But public authorities can of course also use other policy interventions such as business support schemes that focus on building up the necessary entrepreneurial dynamic capabilities such as sensing user needs, conceptualising and orchestrating. The Energy Agencies involved in this project did indeed organise such workshops with entrepreneurs and these workshops received positive feedback from the entrepreneurs stating that they were now much more aware of the business they are in, and their position on the paradigm shift and what that entails for their business model and necessary dynamic capabilities.

The reframing what you push/smart matcher model and strategy is well able to get to the transaction moment, selling their product and service combination. Their awareness about how to create a longer term relationship with their clients, into the use phase, and thus maximise the potential for energy efficiency and savings is less developed. These type of entrepreneurs need resources to be able to experiment with conceptualising, cocreating with clients to find out what value exists in the use phase. Policy support for this type of entrepreneur can take the form of subsidies for SMEs supporting co-creation or other sensing activities, or grants or subsidies to allow for experimentation with the delivery of multiple value and more collaborative and sustainable type of business models. But support can and should also take the form of training in dynamic capabilities such as conceptualising in incubators or in chamber of commerce type of networks. Public private partnerships such as KiCInnoEnergy have an important role to play here as well, not only delivering business modelling training and support, but with a clear focus on delivering service and value in the use phase.[v]

The third model and strategy aimed at pushing something else and being aware market changers might yet be more supported with other policy instruments. What these type of entrepreneurs face is need for well-developed orchestration skills, and experimental space to learn about user needs. These entrepreneurs could be helped with policy support that opens up customer relations and quantitative and qualitative data on customers that can help businesses identify valuable customer segments. Many public authorities have very relevant open data about labels, infrastructure etc. that SMEs can use to perform a first sensing of user needs, for example finding out which homes might be in dire need of insulation. Policy instruments that might be used to support the development of the orchestration skills these entrepreneurs need are for example collaboration platforms focused on linking businesses with consumer organisations, governmental agencies, NGOs and with other businesses. These can be used to help the smaller businesses find suitable partners to create bundled services which then naturally are able to more easily provide multiple (also non-energy) value. Facilitating partnerships across sectors and including public private partnerships with for example NGOs creating trust by endorsing a type of service (brand independent), certification (when it is standardised and provided by trusted institutions) could potentially also be powerful market changers supporting this third type of businesses. Yet another type of support from public authorities that could potentially be helpful to this third type of businesses is the purchasing power of public authorities. They could be launching customers for SMEs focused on delivering services where energy efficiency is experienced in use. These contracts should then be opened up to serve as demonstration sites for others to learn from and experiment in. Metcalfe and others have stated that in fact, (innovation) policy is about creating conducive context for organizations to engage in experimentation (Metcalfe, 1995; Metcalfe and Miles, 2000). Janssen (2015:120) makes an even stronger statement and states that: “In this respect, one cannot assume this is simply a matter of having the right funding instruments and framework conditions in place; weak innovation capabilities constitute a systemic failure that is detrimental for the processes of novelty creation within markets…. The observation that many firms lack dynamic capabilities and competences to realize new services (Sundbo, 1997), can be regarded as a strong justification for policy intervention.” Authors such as Janssen (2015) and Rubalcaba et al. (2010) therefore argue that policy interventions such as the provision of business services aimed at enhancing these entrepreneurial capabilities of sensing user needs, orchestration, conceptualising, scaling and stretching would therefore we appropriate policy responses.

The fourth model and strategy hardly needs support, except potentially support in creating market pull, for example through more focus on multiple benefits of energy efficiency. The role that public authorities could play in creating more focus on the use phase needs much more research. There are several avenues for research. For example, regulation of feedback on energy consumption, improved and more frequent billing and Energy Performance Contracting for the residential sector. Other interesting foci are the internalising of externalities in the electricity or gas price for example, revisiting the system where the price of electricity decreases with increased use, the sharing economy, regulations with respect to healthy indoor climate, both residential and for buildings in general, regulation about reducing sick leave for companies through better work environments (lighting, heating, acoustics, ventilation).

Subtask 4a: Training, engaging and disseminating

One key experience in Phase 1 of Task 25 is that it is imperative to transfer our knowledge and findings to the relevant actors in different countries and settings. And simply communicating through a webinar or presentation is insufficient. This type of knowledge needs to be experienced and worked with in a real life setting, investigating real business models, real policies and real users.

Therefore we propose to

  • set up a strong training system based on subtask 3 toolkit and workshop format; and to do roadshows with participating countries and or other relevant organisations in the countries identified by the participating countries (e.g. business development agencies, advisors) to train policymakers, entrepreneurs and other relevant stakeholders in more service oriented business modelling and the necessary ecosystem changes.
  • In addition we aim to organise user centered business modelling interventions in different countries (including the users of the services). Which means we organize interaction between business model/ energy service developers and actual (potential) end-users to experiment with end-user centered business models.
  • We also propose to set up a MOOC based on the task, in close cooperation with Leonardo academy/DSM university.
  • Of course this activity would also entail a continuation of the more standard disseminating and communicating activities such as conference participating, journal paper writing, newsletter pieces, policy brief and proactively target other technical driven implementing agreements and offer them Task25-tools and cooperation.

Expected Outcomes

The second phase of Task 25 would continually contribute to its earlier set objective of identifying existing a variety of service and use phase oriented business models providing EE and DSM services to SMEs and residential users (individuals and communities), analysing promising effective business models and services for different sectors, identifying and supporting promising national energy ecosystems in which the most promising business models can succeed, providing guidelines to remove barriers and solve problems, and finally working together closely with both national suppliers and clients of business models. The longer term aim of this Task is to contribute to the growth of the supply and demand market for energy efficiency and DSM amongst SMEs and communities in participating countries.

The benefits for the participating countries and for the DSM TCP will encompass: (of course, benefits depend on the definite focus of Phase 2.

  • Overview of additional existing business models/ user centered approaches in the different countries;
  • Insight in best practice business models based on a comparison of business models in the participating countries;
  • Training and exchange of valuable knowledge and learnings between EE business developers, service providers, researchers, policymakers and clients within and between participating countries;
  • Access to relevant stakeholders, documents, and state of the art in the research field through participation in a new network of expertise and participation of this network;
  • Best practice guidelines for policy makers and institutional stakeholders on how to support the uptake and creation of promising business models for energy services that effectively achieve load reduction at SMEs and residential communities. | actionable and tested programme for agencies as well as other context players to stimulate the uptake of EE services in their country.
  • Developed and tested framework for effective business models for demand response/circular/…
  • New knowledge on the working mechanisms of the service oriented business model: how to monetise add on-services; how to co-create and co-operate with multiple stakeholders etc.

The principal deliverables for Task 25 Phase 2 will be:

  • D7: overview of business model strategies (business model, entrepreneurial capabilities and context stretch or fit actions) for each investigated sector or type of business, including a comparative analysis across countries;
  • D8: Overview of the different types of policy and institutional support available to the different types of business models, where relevant country context and sector context sensitive.
  • D9: Training road show
  • D10: Outreach and dissemination material, including at least 2 academic/journal publications, MOOC, and other outreach material highlighting the Task’s work.

[1] For South Korea a longlist was not necessary given that South Korea joined later and could make a concrete selection based on lessons learnt from the other countries.

[i] Suggested reading includes Gassmann O. et al. (2016), Saebi et al, (2017), Boons, F., & Lüdeke-Freund, F.(2013).

[ii] For a comprehensive overview of the methodology applied see the Task 25 Annex 1 report on

[iv] Also see the toolkit for policymakers developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2015)


Contact for more information Dr Ruth Mourik





Big Data and Energy Efficiency, a research area for the DSM




During the EXCO meeting in October 2014 the EXCO delegates discussed topics for potential future work. One of the topics was Big Data. Based on internet search, this paper provides an overview on what ‘big data’ is in general and why it could be an interesting area for research work for the IEA DSM Agreement. I also provides some topics that could be selected.

Big Data

In our modern society the number of available data is exploding. Companies like Google, Facebook and Apple are storing (and analysing) search action on the internet, activities in social media; shops, airline companies, credit card organisations and banks are storing the data from users of their loyalty programs, their cards and transactions; navigation systems use the driving information etc.

Big Data is a container concept and is determined by the so called 3 V:

  • Volume: large number of data
  • Varity: data related to very different topics
  • Velocity: quick availably of data

Not only the amount of data is increasing, but also the production of these data is continues speeding up. These two developments make it possible that one can (re)-act earlier to changes.

Big Data is often the combination of data from different sources as well as the use of data for other purposes then those were these data were collected for.

One cause of concern in the Big Data community is uneasiness about sharing data. Privacy is one obvious obstacle.

Big Data and energy use and energy efficiency

Big Data is an enormous opportunity for making energy-efficiency savings. People do not seem to adopt efficient technologies that appear financially attractive. One of the commonly cited reasons is that information about how to save energy is hard or time consuming to collect, or that the efficient devices are hard to use. The use of improved metering information on processes as well as the combination with other (big) data in industrial companies, can generate information to be used by the management to improve energy efficiency. Companies may do it there self, but firms that employ Big Data can help better to overcome these challenges.

The introduction of smart meters can result in a large amount of data on the energy use of consumers, detailed over the time of use and (almost) real-time.

Smart and intelligent metering technology allows electricity customers to keep an eye on their current and previous energy consumption at all times. The pivotal role of consumers in energy management will be greatly facilitated by their ability to access their usage data. Such transparency helps end-users to better control their consumption, use energy more efficiently, protect the environment and potentially save money. Organisations can make huge energy efficiency gains, for instance through intelligent lighting and heating systems which only activate when facilities are in use.

Utilities are approaching the Big Data differently. e.g. EDF begins its plan to roll out 35 million smart meters across France and it will need to start incorporating that flood of data into its way of doing business. Options under research are to use data from the smart meter to better estimate the state of the grid, or use that data to better assess the material lifetime duration” of power lines, transformers and other distribution grid equipment. Or you can basically– and this is the main important part – try to manage the energy consumption: to push the people, or to find the best condition, in which the consumer will consume less, or will consume on a different timescale. This is an area where data will help and that will be an important part of managing grid assets in a world where new customer loads such as plug-in electric vehicles, as well as the increasing share of power being generated by customers themselves, are altering supply-demand balances.

Most of the U.S. utilities data analytics focus to date has been on improving grid reliability and outage response, as well as lowering the cost of distribution operations.

The data ‘explosion’ in energy created a new potential for evaluation, measurement and verification of energy efficiency programmes. The data can be used to get quicker and cheaper answers on the impact of polices; more accurate savings estimates; and allow new kind of analysis. While at the moment most impact evaluations has to work with a number of assumptions on the energy use and related items, not only energy use data are more frequently and easier available but also the data to relate changes in energy use with other changes related to the programme or not.

Items for the Executive Committee:

  1. Decide whether Big Data is a topic the Agreement wants to deal with
  2. When Big data are a relevant topic, decided on the focus for one or more Big Data topic, e.g.
    1. Tools to improve the knowledge of real time energy use in companies and organisations; e.g. Changing energy management systems
    2. Use of big data for improved evaluation, monitoring and verification of EE programs
    3. Big data as a tool to improve the customer relationship of the energy providing company/utility
    4. Big data as a tool for network operators for smarter operation of the grid
    5. Others?
  3. Decide whether the selected topic(s) should be handled as
    1. A new subtask within an existing Task
    2. A new Task