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Energy efficiency in new buildings: experiences from Denmark

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A key question for energy planners is whether today’s investments in energy infrastructure should be based on traditional fossil fuels or on energy efficiency and savings and renewable energy technologies?


The traditional fossil fuel oriented approach may still be cost-efficient in the shorter run compared to some of the more costly renewable energy sources but is clearly unsustainable in the longer run. The alternative and sustainable approach is that of energy savings and promotion of energy efficiency and renewables. While fossil fuel prices are expected to rise further, the cost of renewable energy technologies may very well fall due to maturing of the technologies and an increase in demand with associated economics of scale. Thus the necessity of transferring the energy systems from reliance on fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources does not necessarily run counter to future economic prosperity.


This energy policy toolkit shares knowledge and experiences gained in the Danish case on handling barriers and improving energy efficiency of new buildings.


Poor energy performance significantly increases the operating costs of a building. To a large extent, this can be avoided through simple design measures, which are easily paid for by the saved energy costs. However, many new buildings are designed and built with no regard for this, resulting in a significant waste of energy and money. Evidently, different barriers, such as split incentives or short-term investment horizons, stand in the way of profitable energy efficiency decisions. Therefore, a better understanding of these barriers, and how to deal with them, is the key to a huge economic potential.


The toolkit is presented on the Danish Energy Agency.

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