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

Kivimaa, P. & Martiskainen, M., 2018. Innovation, low energy buildings and intermediaries in Europe: systematic case study review. Energy Efficiency, 11(1), pp.31–51. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12053...

Abstract

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. Intermediary organisations and individuals have been important through five processes: (1) facilitating individual building projects, (2) creating niche markets, (3) implementing new practices in social housing stock, (4) supporting new business model creation and (5) facilitating building use post-construction. The intermediaries have included both public and private actors, while local authority agents have acted as intermediaries in several cases.

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