BEYOND GREEN - the unsustainable home in the environmentally adapted building
Paper in proceedings, 2013
Last years have shown a rapid development of low-energy construction in Sweden. On the whole, environmental consideration in the construction sector can no longer be considered marginal. Of interest to this paper is whether the same effort is made to facilitate sustainable homes as is made to produce environmentally adapted residential buildings? While environmental and technical dimensions of sustainable building has predominated the agenda since the mid 1990s, social and cultural dimensions have had more of a recent focus. An increasing number of studies point to the need to go beyond technical solutions to solve environmental problems related to the built environment. There is a need for major behavioral changes, supported by the provision of living environments with a physical infrastructure for enabling more sustainable ways of residing.
This paper presents a study of a multi-family residential area in Göteborg called Kvillebäcken, a new urban development with high ambitions to mitigate the impact of new housing on the global climate as well as the local environment. The study is primarily based on statistical data and interviews with property developers. The findings are examined in relation to general statistical data and theory, and arranged according to three main themes of individual demand, spatial norms and standards/comfort, influencing the absolute impact of housing development on the creation of sustainable living environments. The study shows that outspoken aims of creating ways of residing that radically challenge the normative and resource intense concept of “the good urban home” appear to be lacking. It is concluded that design might hold a bigger role in the shift towards smaller and better performing dwellings in order to offer residential quality while reducing the environmental impact of living environments.