Energy efficiency in the Nordic building sector
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Energy efficiency in the Nordic building sector

Potentials and instruments

There is an economic potential for increased energy efficiency in Nordic buildings. How much is however difficult to assess, partly because of insufficient energy statistics for buildings. Several barriers hinder the use of more efficient solutions when building and using buildings, e.g. lack of information, energy issues having low priority, and different incentives for builders, owners and users. Climate concerns and the need to secure energy supply are important drivers for energy efficiency policies. Promoting energy efficiency in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions might however induce large rebound effects causing total emissions to be reduced very little or not at all. This might be the case if reduced energy use in buildings is replaced with more emission intensive activities, like travel. To avoid this it is important to include all greenhouse gasses in tax or quota systems, and to restrain financial support to energy efficient investment in order not to make them too cheap.

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English
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Author(s):
Nordic Council of Ministers

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This report discusses some economic aspects of promoting energy efficiency in the building sector, with the purpose to give input to the Nordic countries in their work related to EU's action plan for environmental technology (ETAP), the targets of the Lisbon strategy and the EU Commission's initiative "A lead market initiative for Europe" from May 2008, as well as the work to reach national climate goals. The report discusses barriers that hinder use of more energy efficient technologies in the building sector and measures that can help overcome these barriers. It also assesses energy use in buildings, existing policies and measures intended to reduce energy use in this sector and the potential for reduced energy use. The project was commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers working groups for Integrated Product Policy and Environmental Economics, and it has been guided by a steering group consisting of Jan-Erik Tveter (Norwegian Pollution Control Agency, SFT), Mattias Ankarhem (Ministry of Finance, Sweden), Ari Nissinen (Finnish Environment Institute) and Stig Arve Malmedal (Ministry of Finance, Norway). The project has been carried out by Econ Pöyry in Norway assisted by Pöyry in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Karin Ibenholt, Econ Pöyry, has been project leader.