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Perspectives on implementing energy efficiency in existing Swedish detached houses
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Engineering and Sustainable Development.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Engineering and Sustainable Development.
Responsible organisation
2008 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, Vol. 36, no 1, 84-96 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study, we first analyse energy-efficiency measures in existing electrically heated houses in Sweden from a societal economic perspective. Measures to a house envelopes and to energy supply chains are evaluated through a system analysis approach and we include the external costs of climate change and the effect of different Swedish climatic zones. We find that in a typical house from the 1970s, conversion from electric heating is highly motivated since the mitigation cost of conversion is lower than the estimated external costs of emitted CO2. Both conversions and house envelope measures are more motivated in the northern part of the country, where there is a higher heat demand. A successful implementation of changes requires them to be attractive for consumers to adopt. We therefore secondly analyse the economic conditions for Swedish house owners to implement societal economic cost-efficient measures. We include the economic influence of an investment subsidy for heating system conversion, an income tax deduction for changing windows, customer electricity tax, real estate tax and of the cost of purchased energy from different energy suppliers. Apart from the economics, several other factors affect a house owner's decision to change heating systems. We therefore thirdly analyse house owners' perceptions of different heating supply alternatives based on the results of two comprehensive questionnaires. These different perspectives are combined in a discussion whether the studied policy instruments encourage house owners to implement changes in accordance with the energy-efficiency goals of decision makers. We find that the investment subsidy could be useful to break the lock-in effect of resistance heaters, which house owners seemed to experience. The electricity tax makes heating systems in line with national goals more competitive and efficiency measures to the house envelope more profitable. The reduction of the electricity tax in the northern part of the country has the opposite effect. Also, the increase in real estate tax when implementing energy-efficiency measures gives a contradictory message. The price differences between energy suppliers has a larger impact on the house owners' economic conditions than both subsidies and tax rate changes, and possibly also affect the house owner's attitudes towards various systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 36, no 1, 84-96 p.
Keyword [en]
heating system, residential, policy
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-4371DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2007.08.021ISI: 000252301100009Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-36549063678Local ID: 5265OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-4371DiVA: diva2:29403
Note
VR-EconomicsAvailable from: 2008-12-09 Created: 2008-11-19 Last updated: 2009-11-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Primary energy efficiency and CO2 mitigation in residential buildings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Primary energy efficiency and CO2 mitigation in residential buildings
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In order to control climate change it is important to limit the atmosphericconcentration of carbon dioxide (CO2). Increased energy efficiency, as well as ashift from fossil fuels to renewable resources can reduce net CO2 emission. Theenergy required for constructing and operating buildings is significant in manycountries, and it is thus important to design energy efficient buildings and energysupply systems.Improvements in existing buildings are needed in order to achieve short-termemission reductions. The Swedish building stock expanded greatly during the1960s and 1970s. The energy efficiency of these houses was often quite low, andmany of them were built with resistance heating. In this thesis increased energyefficiency in such buildings is studied, as well as conversions from resistanceheating to other heating systems, and various technologies and fuels for theproduction of electricity and heat. The effects of these measures are analysed withrespect to primary energy use, CO2 emission and societal cost. The studies wereperformed using process-based systems analysis in a life-cycle perspective. Thesystem boundaries include energy chains from the natural resources to the usefulelectricity and heat in the houses. The results show that the choice of heatingsystem in the house has a greater effect on the primary energy use than measureson both the house envelope and the energy supply chains. District heating basedon cogeneration of heat and electricity and bedrock heat pumps were found to beenergy-efficient systems. The net emission of CO2 is dependent on the fuel and theCO2 emissions from these systems are comparable to those from a wood pelletboiler, if biomass-based supply chains are used. Conversion from resistanceheating to any of the other heating systems studied is also profitable from a societaleconomic perspective.The decision to implement energy-efficiency measures or install a new heatingsystem in a detached house is taken by the house owner. In order for successfulimplementation the alternatives must either be sufficiently attractive or incentivesor policy instruments that affects this large, inhomogeneous group must beimplemented. In this thesis, the house owners’ economic situation when changingthe heating system and implementing energy-efficiency measures on the buildingenvelope is analysed. The economic analysis includes current Swedish policyinstruments, such as an investment subsidy for heating system conversion, anincome tax deduction for replacing windows, levying a consumer electricity tax

and increasing real estate tax. House owners’ perceptions of different heatingsystems are analysed through the results of comprehensive questionnaires. Societaleconomy, private economy and individuals’ perceptions are compared. Theconversion subsidy provides some incentive to house owners to act according tothe national energy policy, as does the electricity tax, which has a significantinfluence on consumer costs. The use of economic instruments seems efficient inpromoting systems in line with environmental goals since environmental factorsare ranked much lower by the home owners. However, the effect on the annualcost of most of the policy instruments studied is smaller than the price variationsbetween different energy suppliers. Energy suppliers thus have considerableopportunity to influence house owners.To achieve long-term changes in the building sector new houses should beconstructed with as low primary energy use and emission as possible, seen overtheir entire life cycle. The primary energy use is analysed for both the productionand operational phase of several types of residential buildings. When the demandfor operational primary energy decreases, due to a high energy standard orenergy-efficient supply, the relative importance of the energy required forproduction will increase. The amount of primary energy required for theproduction of a new low-energy building is significant compared with the primaryenergy required for space heating. One way of reducing both primary energy useand CO2 emission in the production phase is to use constructions with woodframes instead of concrete.The energy supply system is nevertheless still important also for low energybuildings. A new house built to passive standard, heated with fossil-fuel-basedresistance heating gives rise to higher primary energy use and CO2 emission than aconventional detached house from the 1970s that is heated with an energy-efficientbiomass-based heating system. The results thus indicate that wood-framed houseswith a high energy standard, together with efficient energy supply systems, couldbe an option for sustainable residential construction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University, 2008. 89 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 58
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-7865 (URN)978-91-86073-04-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
(English)
Available from: 2009-02-02 Created: 2008-12-29 Last updated: 2009-02-13Bibliographically approved

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