IEA DSM Task 25 – Business Models for a more effective market uptake of DSM energy services

This task aims at the identification and development of effective business models for energy services, which lead to a sustainable growth of energy efficiency services. Therefore the various national framework conditions and contexts have been analysed, that are necessary for a successful development of such business models. Examples for start-ups and entrepreneurs have been discussed, their challenges and deficits as well as success factors in terms of capabilities/skills identified and out of these findings a web based analysis tool been developed.

Short Description

Energy efficiency is still considered to be of high importance for economy and society, but in contradiction to this classification concrete decisions in business and private life for energy efficient solutions are rarely taken. It is evident that the smart and intelligent technology is not the problem to be offered to homeowners or SMEs. It is the lacking of suitable business models that address the needs of the client – whether it be altruistic values or self-serving motives. Traditional approach also in Austria is to think in product-oriented logic and hampers for instance market evolvement of technology through neglecting customer needs and thereby energy efficiency targets. Although the value proposition of many energy services seems promising and is successful in particular aspects or market segments, most energy efficiency solutions suffer from a start- or rather a mainstreaming-problem. The most significant reasons for it are:

  • The solution is poorly tailored to the needs of the user.
  • The solution is not supported by a viable business model.
  • The solution experiences barriers at a national (system) level

Task 25 focuses on identifying and creating effective business models (BM) providing viable DSM value propositions that lead to a demand market growth for energy efficiency services. Because the business models do not operate in isolation, this task additionally evaluates and supports the creation of energy ecosystems in a national context in which these business models can succeed. The international focus creates possibilities to compare, share best practices and put national learning's into an international perspective. The methodological framework comprises superficially:

  • the business model canvas that has been customized to the specific needs of energy services
  • the value proposition canvas for the analysis of requirements and needs of the target group(s) and for bringing them into focus
  • the entrepreneurs journey to visualize the various development stages of the business model and how challenges have been mastered

The summary of answers of those analyses should serve for the establishment of a platform, which supports energy service companies and entrepreneurs in their self-evaluation and for the development of customer-focused services.

As a result, a range of innovative and promising business models have been described detailed regarding their customer orientation, their culture towards the client and their strategy to go for the market. In addition, a national workshop plus numerous individual interviews were organized to foster the discussion and exchange between operating agents and researchers on one side and entrepreneurs and energy service providers on the other side. Through the interviews and the workshop, highly important findings were generated and in the further course used for the development of the support platform.

To broaden the range of influence of the collected knowledge and experience of Task25 and to become independent from individual contacts only the aforementioned platform has been established for the self-analysis of market strategy, access and relationship with the client and the entrepreneurial soft skills on one hand and supporting/necessary tools for the development of business models on the other hand.


Austria, Netherlands, Norway, South-Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, European Copper Institute (Organisation)

Contact Address

Grazer Energieagentur Ges.m.b.H. (GEA)
DI Reinhard Ungerböck
Kaiserfeldgasse 13
A-8010 Graz