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Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8801-8822; doi:10.3390/su7078801

How to Succeed in Low-Energy Housing—Path Creation Analysis of Low-Energy Innovation Projects

Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics, Aalto University, PL 15800, 00076 Aalto, Finland
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Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 22 April 2015 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
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Abstract

The low-energy and the nearly zero-energy buildings trend is calling for radical new innovations from the construction industry. This study uses path creation theory to examine two innovation concepts for low-energy housing in Northern Europe with contrasting outcomes—with one being an apparent market success and the other a disappointment. The results highlight two issues behind the success, one of a systemic nature and the other concerning innovation management. First, the development of energy efficiency regulations and the dominant technological trajectory regarding low-energy houses are interdependent. However, it seems that while supporting the trajectory of the innovation developed in the first case, regulators created virtually insurmountable cognitive and normative obstacles to finding alternative technological pathways. Second, the significance of proof of concepts for new innovations cannot be underestimated. The importance of a pilot project rests not only on showcasing and testing the technology, but also on its ability to increase political support, investments, and public awareness. The study implies that low-energy construction seems to be the next great challenge, one where genuine co-operation between the industry, public authorities and academia is a prerequisite for success. View Full-Text
Keywords: policy; regulation; innovation; path creation; technology; energy efficient buildings; energy efficiency policy; regulation; innovation; path creation; technology; energy efficient buildings; energy efficiency
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Pässilä, P.; Pulkka, L.; Junnila, S. How to Succeed in Low-Energy Housing—Path Creation Analysis of Low-Energy Innovation Projects. Sustainability 2015, 7, 8801-8822.

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