Supporting development towards more sustainable building: perspectives on the demonstration project as a strategy for change
Paper in proceedings, 2008
This paper explores the mechanism for development towards more sustainable building in Sweden. The proposed mechanism is based on a retrospective study of the evolution of more sustainable building practices during the last decades, with focus on the west of Sweden and using elements from theories on ecological modernisation as a way to understand change. The retrospective study presents actors, networks and important break-points. Three conceptual pairs have been used to discuss factors that make sustainable building practices progress: governance and learning, exemplifying and legitimising, and symbol and performance. It is argued that we might experience a shift towards governance and voluntary action developed through practical experiences. Catalysing successful demonstration projects lead the way, set up visions and goals and influence development of policy and regulation. The focus on energy efficiency has led to a broad acceptance with a rebound synergistic effect back to other building qualities. However, it is important to look beyond current achievements and to reconsider other important aspects of sustainable building: water and material issues, renewable energy and social issues.