The European Commission has expressed the wish to harmonize energy regulations in the building sector and at the same time has formulated goals for promoting the use of renewable energy sources. This paper studied the possible synergy of these two targets. To make a first step in this research topic renewable energy techniques are considered as environmental innovations for which incentives, being a public good, is dependent on governmental intervention, like energy policy instruments. Scientific research in the effectiveness of different types of policy instruments in promoting innovations, showed that a combination of both regulations and (financial) incentives could be a better way of promoting environmental innovations than by regulations only. Current energy regulations, and especially energy performance regulations, the type of regulations that are striven after by the European Commission for harmonization, have been studied with a focus on the methods used to promote renewable energy techniques. In all cases, regulations are a stand-alone policy, not combined with incentives to go beyond the specified regulation level. More research in this field will be needed to be able to judge the effect of financial incentives combined with energy regulations, but this first inquiry shows that such combinations seem to be an interesting way of modernizing regulations and promoting renewable energy innovations.
Promoting renewable energy in building regulations: Confronting theory and practice
23rd AIVC and EPIC 2002 Conference (in conjunction with 3rd European Conference on Energy Performance and Indoor Climate in Buildings) "Energy efficient and healthy buildings in sustainable cities", Lyon, France, 23-26 October 2002