Energy renovations in Europe – a literature study on drivers/barriers and trends
Energy renovations have been on the agenda since the energy crisis in the 1970s, and different kinds of measures have been introduced to increase the number of energy renovations, e.g. increase the knowledge on insulation and heating systems, introduce renewable technologies as solar power, introduce policies as energy label, introduce subsidies, increase consumer awareness as saving energy and costs or better indoor climate or environmental reasons like climate change. About 40 years after the energy crisis in the 70s, the energy literature is not only about the energy reduction potentials any more. The knowledge is quite good about those potentials. What is not known are the drivers and barriers is especially since the introduction of the energy label: why do homeowners perform energy efficiency measures and why not? Renovating kitchen and bathroom has become quite popular due to the general increase in comfort, but are these comfort issues more popular than energy efficiency measures?
The goal of this literature study, performed in 2010, is to give an overview over recent European studies on energy renovations in Europe and their driver/barriers and trends. The specific questions have been: What are the drivers and the barriers of energy renovations in Europe? What are the (energy) renovation trends in Europe?
The study on driver/barriers shows that cultural differences between the countries seem small. Interesting is that information and attitude matters most for energy renovation, while regulation and economy least matter. Weak drivers are technical conditions of buildings (except Switzerland), regulation (except the Netherlands and Eastern European countries), and economy (except Ireland). Strong drivers are information and social networks (except Ireland), awareness/attitude/aesthetics (except Ireland). Socio-economic aspects, such as age effects and education and income has no effect goes for all countries. Trends in all countries are to introduce policy measures and energy advice regarding information n and adapted to the homeowners to increase the number of energy measures. The study of renovation trends shows that most popular are comfort renovations, while insulation and heating systems are less performed. Regarding energy renovation measures, the trends are cultural different. While in the UK all measures are popular, Switzerland/Germany/Austria is focusing on insulation and comfort, and France is focusing on insulation, Finland on heating system and NL on comfort.
For both part studies it seems that theories based on consumer psychology and consumer sociology matter more than the economic theories based on consumer rationality. Consumers are not acting rational and renovation trends are focusing on aesthetics and comfort.