Sustainable Energy & Design

In the framework of the research theme “Sustainable Energy & Design”, research is executed which supports a better integration of renewable and energy-efficient technologies in products, buildings or local infrastructures. Because of these new contexts, design-driven research is necessary to move beyond merely system engineering. Design-driven research is interdisciplinary by nature and aims at bringing research findings together that are related to technological aspects, financial aspects, user aspects and societal aspects. In this way, design-driven research can support the evaluation of existing products and the development of new designs of products containing sustainable and energy-efficient technologies. 

On this webpage it is explained how this design-driven approach is applied in three projects of the research theme “Sustainable Energy & Design” at the Department of Design, Production and Management.

1.       CESEPS: Co-Evolution of Smart Energy Products and Services

The CESEPS project, which stands for ‘Co-Evolution of Smart Energy Products and Services’, is led by University of Twente and runs from 2016 until 2019. It is an ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus project which is sponsored by NWO (Netherlands), FFG (Austria) and the Horizon2020 program of the European Commission.

The aim of the CESEPS project is to support the development of smart energy products and services for local smart grids that better respond to the demands and concerns of all stakeholders. The research in this project is focused on comparative validation of technologies and concepts of existing demonstrations and the further development of new innovative energy products and services for the present and medium-term using a co-evolutionary approach.

The project involves research teams from the Netherlands and Austria. The Dutch team is composed of four universities, namely University of Twente (comprising the project leader, project manager, PhD student and postdoc), TU Delft (project supervisor and postdoc), Wageningen University (project supervisor and PhD student) and Utrecht University (project supervisor and PhD student) and an international company based in the Netherlands, DNV GL (staff member). The Austrian team comprises the Technical University of Graz (project supervisor and assistant professor), the Austrian Institute of Technology (three staff members), and the European Sustainable Energy Innovation Alliance (project supervisor and two staff members).

The PhD student at UT has executed an assessment of the design of residential smart grids pilot projects in the Netherlands. This resulted in a thesis entitled: “Assessing residential Smart Grids pilot projects, products and services: Insights from stakeholders, end-users from a design perspective” and several journal publications.
The postdoc’s research is focused on comparing the performance of various smart grid pilots with different configurations of energy products and services on the basis of monitoring data, simulations and results from user studies. The postdoc also evaluates the actual design of so-called Smart Energy Products and Services (SEPS) with the aim to develop improved SEPS for future residential smart grids.

For more information please access the website of the CESEPS project at

2.       Solar Powered E-bikes

The aim of this transdisciplinary Smart Living Campus project is to collect and analyze data of solar powered e-bikes to understand the use patterns of electric bicycles (e-bikes) and their potential benefits as part of a sustainable mobility system. E-bikes are usually charged by electricity from the grid and by human power resulting from pedaling during use. In this project, among others, different modes of charging by solar PV power, will be evaluated.

For more information please read this project document at

3.       PEARL PV; Performance and Reliability of Photovoltaic Systems

The aim of this COST Action which is funded by the European Commission is to improve the energy performance and reliability of photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems in Europe leading to lower costs of electricity produced by PV systems by a higher energy yield, a longer life time eventually beyond the guaranteed 20 years as specified by manufacturers, and a reduction in the perceived risk in investments in PV projects. This objective will be achieved by analyzing data of the actual monitored long-term performance, defects and failures in PV systems installed all over Europe to quantitatively determine the absolute influences of components rated performance, key design of systems, installation, operation, maintenance practice, geographic location and weather factors on the performance, performance degradation over time and failure modes of these PV systems.

Despite the rapidly growing market of PV systems, so far a COST Action on PV systems’ performance and reliability has not been established. On the other hand it is very important to ensure the performance of PV systems to achieve long term goals for PV systems in the future single energy market such as: economic viability, securing investments, environmental sustainability and security and predictability of supply. Our aim is particularly suited to a COST Action as it entails the formation of an inclusive network of PV system researchers, data resources that will be analyzed by researchers, forming the largest-ever agglomeration of PV systems performance data in Europe, and experts that can include more-nuanced evidence-based reliability in PV system evaluation methods and simulation and design tools.

For more information about PEARL PV please visit

Contact person for Sustainable Energy & Design: Dr. Angèle Reinders

Please notice that more examples of design-driven research in the field of Sustainability and Energy are shown on the website of ARISE, which can be accessed at