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Almost best friends : sufficiency and efficiency ; can sufficiency maximise efficiency gains in buildings?

  • The efficiency strategy to exploit the potential for energy savings in buildings still is applied rather slowly in most countries. In addition, there are indications that energy savings are partly compensated particularly by wealth but also rebound effects, the "empty nest" (persistence of elderly people and couples in family homes), and cohort effects (e.g. vintages of people or buildings). In Germany, as in other European countries, the existing trend in housing is a continuously growing floor space per capita. Over the last decades it expanded from about 20 m2 in 1960 to currently 45 m2 per person. Forecasts expect a further increase to more than 50 m2 per person. Obviously, more floor space needs more energy for space heating andThe efficiency strategy to exploit the potential for energy savings in buildings still is applied rather slowly in most countries. In addition, there are indications that energy savings are partly compensated particularly by wealth but also rebound effects, the "empty nest" (persistence of elderly people and couples in family homes), and cohort effects (e.g. vintages of people or buildings). In Germany, as in other European countries, the existing trend in housing is a continuously growing floor space per capita. Over the last decades it expanded from about 20 m2 in 1960 to currently 45 m2 per person. Forecasts expect a further increase to more than 50 m2 per person. Obviously, more floor space needs more energy for space heating and cooling, ventilation, and lighting, but it also allows the household to operate more and or bigger appliances, all of which increase energy consumption. On the other hand, housing projects emerge offering relatively small private living spaces in combination with various shared spaces to use. Many of them are based on private initiatives. But what is the motivation behind it? And is there a higher need for new living concepts in the future? The proposed paper presents main drivers of increasing floor space per capita in Germany and discusses the question if more space is necessary for higher comfort. It presents different examples of housing concepts that strive to achieve good living with less space and suggests a "building typology of sufficiency". Finally, the paper discusses qualitatively to which extent these housing concepts can lead to less energy use and emissions. In this way sufficiency could be best friend with efficiency and tackle wealth, rebound, and other effects that counter-act efficiency progress. But therefore, as the paper concludes, politics and policies should recognise sufficiency as a field of action instead of referring to individual decisions and lifestyles.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Conference Object
Author:Anja Bierwirth, Stefan ThomasORCiDGND
URN (citable link):https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:bsz:wup4-opus-59318
Editor:Therese Laitinen Lindström
Publisher:Europ. Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
Place of Publication:Stockholm
Year of Publication:2015
Language:English
Source Title (English):First fuel now : ECEEE 2015 Summer Study ; 1-6 June 2015, Toulon/Hyères, France ; proceedings
First Page:71
Last Page:82
Release Date:2015/07/02
Division:Energie-, Verkehrs- und Klimapolitik
Dewey Decimal Classification:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften
Licence:License LogoIn Copyright - Urheberrechtlich geschützt