Building energy management will be a prime factor in meeting France’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gases and to find alternatives to fossil fuels. The objective is to optimize energy use without sacrificing comfort or quality of use.

The introduction of buildings with very high levels of insulation poses specific problems in terms of design and the prediction of dynamic performance. In addition, it is just as important to ensure comfort in summer as in winter, and to take into account the contribution of internal sources of heat and passive solar energy. Achieving this will require both new ways of modeling and simulating the dynamic energy performanceof buildings and the introduction of new modes of energy management. Such global management will involve a wide range of relatively complex tools, each of which requires quite detailed modeling of a building.

Because experimental data are needed to calibrate these models, INES has set up a unique experimental center, INCAS, to carry out tests on fully instrumented experimental houses with envelopes that have different degrees of inertia.

Research is also being carried out into optimizing the performance and operation of building-integrated thermal and electrical systems, while taking into account parameters such as thermal comfort, lighting (natural and artificial) and air quality. The objective is to develop specific tool kits for the building industry that will allow energy management to be integrated into buildings from the design phase.