Resilience – energy security

There are increasing threats to the abilities of communities and individual building owners and managers to buffer the impacts of balancing changing energy needs with associated threats from increasingly volatile and expensive energy prices, uncertainty around security of supply, changing international relationships, increasing cyber threats, and the challenges associated with the transition to a low carbon economy (whatever that means). This project was developed to ascertain how ‘Energy Resilient’ buildings and communities could be better prepared to deal with these threats.

Following extensive research into ‘energy resilient’ communities and buildings, for the purpose of this project, Energy Resilience was defined as ‘the ability to ensure that a building or co-located group of buildings has a secure, affordable, and where possible low carbon energy supply that suits the need of its ‘community’ . This definition provided a starting point from which research was undertaken to understand the different approaches that could be taken by ‘communities’ in order to ensure that their energy requirements were met, within the defined limits of what they deemed acceptable. For some power or energy outages are acceptable and expected while for others, e.g. in industrial or processing commercial businesses, loss of power or energy could have far reaching and unacceptable consequences.

The benefits of improving Energy Resilience vary for different community types. For example, while in rural residential communities the focus of energy resilience may be to alleviate fuel poverty by ensuring that homes are can be cost effectively heated during cold winter months; for hospital settings being energy resilient should ensure the operation of vital services during a power cut; and for a business energy resilience may allow the company to avoid having to make staff or service cuts due to new found capital incurred via energy savings.