On the Uptake of Energy Efficiency Technologies in European Residential Buildings
Residential buildings constitute approximately 75% of the European building stock, accounting for circa 30% of the EU´s overall energy demand and emissions. They also represent one of the biggest sources of energy saving potential, holding a crucial role in achieving EU carbon targets. Despite technology options to decrease residential building’s energy demand to nZEB standards are readily available and, in many cases, economically viable, they are not being deployed at the required rate to achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. The divergence between the technoeconomic potential and actual market behaviour, so-called ‘energy efficiency gap’, suggests that, in the European housing context, the economic viability of energy efficiency technologies - specifically the cost of potential energy savings (commonly considered as the only financial benefit) - is not sufficiently acknowledged or appealing to motivate the necessary investments. In order to bridge the energy efficiency gap and favour the low-carbon transformation of residential buildings in Europe, additional national policy measures need to be developed. Policy instruments can be classified into push- (e.g. regulatory and control instruments), and pull-mechanisms, (e.g. economic or fiscal incentives and support tools for voluntary action). To ensure their effectiveness, these instruments should be designed based on solid comprehension of the current national market conditions and dynamics. Hence addressing the market barriers existing in the respective countries in the uptake of energy efficiency technology measures.
Various sources point out at the lack of scientific knowledge in this arena. In this light, the goal of this licentiate thesis is to gather information to contribute to the scientific expertise and support the reduction of the energy efficiency gap. The first part of the work is, therefore, dedicated to better understand the intellectual base in the uptake energy efficiency technology in the European residential building stock and settle a specific field of study for the Ph.D. project. This is done via a bibliometric analysis. 954 scientific articles and their references are analysed, a visual knowledge structure of the field is modelled, and key papers are identified. Results from this process show that this field has gained considerable momentum in the past decade but still lacks a comprehensive pan-European cross-country understanding. Based on the knowledge gaps and research needs defined by the literature review, complimented with discussion with market experts, research questions are formulated. These questions demand for empirical evidence in the uptake of energy efficiency measures in residential buildings in Europe. To collect this testimony and address the research questions, an online survey is designed and operationalized. The methodology aims for country-scale information and cross-country comparability of the results. Given the complex and fragmented nature of the residential building market and different phases in the building’s life cycle, a stratified sample approach and survey intelligence are developed. The stratified sample consists of three stratification axes, based on the three main elements or agents of the building projects. These are stakeholder, building typology and project type. The survey has been distributed in Germany, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland. The status of the survey distribution in each country as of April 2019 is presented in this Licentiate. Finally, conclusions obtained from the development of the overall methodology are described, as well as selected research contributions. This is followed by the description of future work within the scope of the Ph.D. project and connection to other research fields.
residential building stock