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Barriers to implementation of very low energy residential buildings and how to overcome them

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In Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland several very low energy residential buildings such as passive houses have been built since the millennium, which do, however, only constitute a small part of the total market for new construction of residential buildings. These countries have an official definition or standard for very low energy buildings, mainly passive houses. The other participating countries i.e. Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have only a few low energy residential buildings and don´t yet have any official definition or standard for low energy residential buildings.

The purpose of this report was to determine the barriers, technological and non-technological, to implementation of very low energy residential buildings and how to overcome them in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. This was carried out by PDS (problem detection studies) and literature studies.

A SWOT analysis was carried out to structure the information and data prior to making suggestions on how to overcome the barriers. In the SWOT analysis questions were put forth enabling how to assess and determine whether low energy housing will have real possibilities on the market and which are the limitations/barriers obstructing a market establishment.

Several problem areas were considered to have a high priority. Many of the problem areas were common for a number of countries: market, requirements/regulations, knowledge, costs, instruments of control, design, technical solutions/concepts, function/performance, user/behaviour and risks.

There doesn´t seem to be any major difference in problems between the countries with several very low energy residential buildings built and the countries with only a few. There is, of course, a difference in the number of good examples which influences the market, the level of knowledge and instruments of control. The magnitude of some of the problems is likely to be different.

The non-technological problems/barriers are mainly within the following areas: market, requirements/regulations, knowledge, costs, instruments of control, responsibility, policy, society and incentives i.e. many problems are non-technological. The problems mentioned above can be perceived or are actual problems. The perceived problems can often be solved with information.

This, and other NorthPass result reports can be uploaded from the project website www.northpass.eu