Carrots, Sticks, Tigers and Wheels: A Case Study of Municipal Governance for Energy Efficiency in New Buildings in the Öresund Region

University essay from Lunds universitet/Internationella miljöinstitutet

Abstract: The Öresund Region, comprising areas of Sweden and Denmark, is involved in a process of sustainable urban transformation. The region has high ambitions in terms of carbon emissions reduction and has set itself steep targets to meet over the next 15-20 years. The energy consumption of buildings accounts for a significant proportion of carbon emissions. With the urban areas of the Öresund Region expanding rapidly, energy efficiency in new urban developments has been identified by regional municipalities as a key target area in their climate change mitigation strategies. However, while the Öresund Region is a leader in Europe in terms of energy efficient urban development, developments still struggle to fully realise their technological potential. The purpose of this thesis is threefold. Firstly, it presents the Öresund Region as a case study of successful municipal governance in the field of energy efficiency in new buildings. The current governance approach is conceptualised through the lens of transition management theory, and the innovative municipal governance tools that have been implemented in the region are analysed in terms of the methods of mobilisation they employ, the area of capacity they aim to generate, and the actors that they target within the local property development sector. Secondly, this thesis identifies through interviews with key actors, the barriers to energy efficiency in new urban developments which continue to persist in the region. These are organised within a framework of three constraining factors; acceptance, motivation and practice. From the interviews it is evident that barriers pertaining to all three areas are perceived by key actors. Finally, this thesis draws on suggestions offered during interviews, and best practice cases from outside the region, to explore options and opportunities to address the constraining factors of acceptance, motivation and practice identified. In conclusion, while presenting an exemplar of successful and innovative municipal governance of energy efficiency in new urban development, in a rapidly progressing sector new challenges and new opportunities will inevitably arise. This requires an iterative process of barrier identification and policy adaption on the part of the region’s municipalities in order continue to drive the property development sector towards the regional goal of sustainable urban transformation.

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