Smart operation with thermal inertia

Overview of the status and impact of the innovation



Building envelopes can store a lot of heat – a property called high thermal inertia. Increasing a building’s energy efficiency also increases its thermal inertia. Buildings with higher thermal inertia, in turn, can play a big role in the smart electrification of heating or cooling, since they maintain their temperatures longer when heating or cooling systems are turned off to provide flexibility to the energy system. In other words, buildings with high thermal inertia can shift their demand and ensure comfortable conditions for the people using them.


Thermal inertia can help time-shift energy demand and flatten out demand fluctuations. This saves energy and reduces the peak demand while still providing the same comfort levels. Combined with dynamic tariffs, thermal inertia will reduce energy bills because demand is shifted to lower-cost off-peak hours. The need for fossil fuel–based “peaker” generators will also be reduced, and it will be easier to integrate renewable energy. Thermal inertia also can be aggregated and marketed as a flexibility service to electricity grids.

Power to heat and cooling innovations

Innovations (35)