October 01, 2023

The Smart Building Rating: a Digital Tool to Scale Demand Flexibility


Centre for Net Zero , Energy Systems Catapult


The future energy system will need buildings to be both energy efficient and able to provide energy flexibility. No mechanism currently exists to drive this change in the UK housing stock.

Centre for Net Zero and Energy Systems Catapult are calling upon the Government to introduce a ‘Smart Building Rating’, designed to incentivise demand flexibility at scale across the UK.

Backed by a cross-industry coalition of supporting organisations, the ‘Smart Building Rating’ (SBR) is designed to complement a reformed EPC, as part of a suite of metrics that can drive us towards an efficient and smart building stock.

By measuring a building’s capacity for flexibility, or its “smartness”, it places a value on flexibility that engages consumers and incentivises property upgrades. To prepare buildings for “smart” electrification, they need to be equipped with low-carbon technologies capable of delivering flexibility, such as EV chargers, heat pumps, smart thermal stores, batteries and solar. By placing a clear value on a building’s capacity for flexibility, we can create a market and landscape that incentivises consumers to equip their homes and businesses for the future energy system.

This paper maps out how the Smart Building Rating (SBR) can be rolled out to unlock demand flexibility at scale.


We are currently developing the methodology and trial the SBR. This year and next we will be:

① Launching an online SBR tool which allows property owners to generate their own rating.

② Demonstrating the SBR’s policy value through user-testing, trialling, feasibility studies and policy recommendations.

③ Convincing HMG of the need for flexibility capacity in new build standards, and the use of a measure to incentivise building upgrades.