How to tap the potential for low-energy houses in Sweden without subsidies?

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Sustainable construction in low-energy or passive house standard is still perceived as financially risky in Norrbotten and Västerbotten, and there are only a few examples of low-energy or passive house solutions for public buildings. Municipalities that however decide to invest in ambitious sustainable building projects are still forerunner and are facing different problems, both technical due to the harsh mountainous climate, but also lack of knowledge and trained staff.

These problems are resulting in high construction costs and stakeholders expressed a strong need for financing support to really realize a significant number of project sufficient to really start a change in the whole building sector and in making sustainable building to a standard in Northern Sweden.

But there are no general subsidies or grants that are tailored for sustainable construction on low-energy or passive house standard in Sweden, neither is there political will to establish such general and comprehensive funding schemes for sustainable public buildings at the municipal level in the near future. Therefore, the Swedish MountEE partner see a much greater potential to promote the general use of tools and similar instruments that are not mere subsidies.

One interesting method is called “BELOK Totalproject” which has been developed by the Swedish Energy Agency and freely accessible for everyone. Webb-designed calculation and simulation models are freely downloadable.

This method is used to maximize the energy saving effect of the resources invested in renovation objects. Often it is easy to identify many measures that can reduce energy use. Every action in itself results in more or less energy savings to a bigger or smaller cost. If one selects and subsequently implements only the most profitable energy saving investments the total impact on energy saving might be rather limited. BELOK-total method is an easy way to identify a “package of measures” and helps by that to maximize energy savings and at the same time meet the property owner’s investments profitability requirements.

A first training session on using the BELOK method has been held in Luleå, Sweden in November 2013. Under 2014, more of this will follow!

Wolfgang Mehl (Nenet)

Author: Wolfgang Mehl (Nenet)

I work as project manager for e environmental and energy-related programs for Nenet and the north Swedish municipality Jokkmokk.

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