Towards a trajectory for sustainable policies and market strategies governing building lifecycle energy performance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this paper is to discuss a selection of policy strategies, regional initiatives and market approaches to uncover the realities of twenty-first-century building energy performance. A position that market-based approaches, human influence and policy interventions are part of an ecosystem of building energy performance is presented. Design/methodology/approach: An exploratory search of secondary sources spanning the last three decades was conducted. Both peer-reviewed and grey literature were included to capture a broader understanding of the discourse in literature. Research questions guided the literature search, and a data extraction tool was designed to categorise the literature. The primary limitation of this study is that only a few applications could be discussed in a condensed format. Findings: Several challenges about the current status quo of building energy performance were identified and summarised as follows. (1) Inconsistencies in measurement and verification protocols, (2) Impacts of market approaches, (3) National policy priorities that are at variance with regional targets and (4) Ambiguous reporting on environmental impacts of energy efficiency (EE) technologies. Practical implications: The practical implications of the findings in this paper for practice and research are that as part of the building energy performance ecosystem, national responses through government interventions must become adaptive to keep up with the fast-paced energy sector and social trends. Simultaneously, before market-based approaches overcome the messiness of socio-economic dynamics, institutional conditions and cultural nuances, they ought to transparently address environmental impacts and the infringement of several SDGs before they can become viable solutions to building energy performance. Originality/value: This paper presents building energy performance as an ecosystem comprising human influence, market-based approaches and policy interventions which form interdependent parts of the whole. However, evidence in the literature shows that these aspects are usually investigated separately. By presenting them as an ecosystem, this paper contributes to the discourse by advocating the need to re-align building energy performance to socio-economic-political dynamics and contextually viable solutions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSmart and Sustainable Built Environment
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Conversely, Germany has been lauded by some as having launched the world's most successful initiative, namely the CO2-Building Rehabilitation Programme (CBRP), renamed Energieeffizient Sanieren in 2009, which was established in the early 2000s (; ; ). The German scheme is a financing initiative targeting energy-efficient building renovation projects for homeowners. It is governed by the German Development Bank (KfW) and funded by the Federal Government. Due to its funding structure, the KfW was able to issue lower-than-market-rate loans, thus making the scheme highly attractive for retrofitting projects. Although CBRP has been modified at various stages, it has enjoyed consistently positive results over the long term owing to the core principle of low-interest grants. Therefore, the key success factor for this government-led intervention is mainly rooted in its financing structure.

Funding Information:
This paper contains research which is part of the lead author's ongoing PhD research project and is partially funded by Teesside University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited.


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