Accepted paper:

Mainstreaming energy efficient buildings in Austria

Authors:

Michael Ornetzeder (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Harald Rohracher (Linköping University)

Paper short abstract:

Austria is one of the leading countries regarding the development of energy efficient buildings. This paper draws on interviews with key actors in research, policy and the building sector, to analyse the development and arguable mainstreaming of energy efficient buildings in Austria.

Paper long abstract:

Austria is one of the leading countries regarding the development of energy efficient buildings. Since the first passive house in 1996 the market for energy efficient buildings has rapidly increased and more than 10,000 buildings met the passive house standard at the end of 2010, which is per capita more than in any other country. The achievements in the building sector are also reflected in a decrease of the average heat energy demand of new buildings from 45 kWh/m2a to 25 kWh/m2a in the last 10 years. This paper draws on qualitative social science research, in particular interviews with key actors in research, policy and the building sector, to analyse the development and arguable mainstreaming of energy efficient buildings in Austria. The successful dissemination of energy efficient buildings has been driven by a unique combination of research policies, regional system building activities and the creation of communities of competent professionals (architects, builders), qualified demand from housing developers and new organisational structures in the building sector. A key role to unify different discourses and activities has been played by the research and demonstration programme "Building of Tomorrow" which became a major innovation driver. This programme substantially supported the alignment of architectural concepts and allowed the development of a broad range of novel building technologies. In addition to technology-oriented research, the programme also provided for social and organizational solutions and contributed significantly to the establishment of a professional community of Austrian key players, experts and companies in the sector.

panel C19
Mainstreaming zero carbon buildings in Europe?