Innovation, low energy buildings and intermediaries in Europe

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Innovation, low energy buildings and intermediaries in Europe: systematic case study review

A new paper by Paula Kivimaa and Mari Martiskainen argues that policies at the EU, national and local levels are the main drivers behind low energy innovation in the building sector in Europe, while environmental concerns also rank highly. The paper titled ‘Innovation, low energy buildings and intermediaries in Europe: systematic case study review‘ also analyses the role of so-called intermediary organisations and individuals and finds that they have been important through the following five processes:

  • Facilitating individual building projects
  • Creating niche markets
  • Implementing new practices in social housing stock
  • Supporting new business model creation
  • Facilitating building use post-construction

The study is based on a systematic review of 40 scholarly case studies published between 2005-2015 in peer-reviewed journals.

Excerpt ‘Innovation, low energy buildings and intermediaries in Europe: systematic case study review

As buildings throughout their life cycle account for circa 40% of total energy use in Europe, reducing energy use of the building stock is a key task. This task is, however, complicated by a range of factors, including slow renewal and renovation rates of buildings, multiple non-coordinated actors, conservative building practices and limited competence to innovate.

Drawing from academic literature published during 2005–2015, this article carries out a systematic review of case studies on low energy innovations in the European residential building sector, analysing their drivers. Specific attention is paid to intermediary actors in facilitating innovation processes and creating new opportunities. The study finds that qualitative case study literature on low energy building innovation has been limited, particularly regarding the existing building stock. Environmental concerns, EU and national and local policies have been the key drivers; financial, knowledge and social sustainability and equity drivers have been of modest importance; while design, health and comfort and market drivers have played a minor role…

A copy of the full paper is available to download via SpringerLink.

A brief overview of the End Use Energy Demand Centres (EUED) is available via the following link.