Our urban-scale energy systems are complex socio-technical systems. Much existing research has focused on improving the sustainability and resilience of our grids, including through demand response (DR) strategies as well as by delivering distributed energy infrastructure. Multiple areas of research can benefit from ETHOS’s guiding framework of integrating social and environmental perspectives in built environment design and engineering, for example:
- Demand response is one way to relieve pressure on our grid. Our social systems in buildings create opportunities for DR, as human interactions and social behaviors fundamentally drive building space usage and therefore energy consumption.
- Distributed energy systems can mitigate grid vulnerabilities and may be vital to developing climate-resilient infrastructure that sustains deep decarbonization. A distributed approach to infrastructure also has the power to address social and environmental goals with regard to renewable energy generation, clean energy access, and acute impacts of energy consumption such as air pollution.