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Review of evaluations of policy instruments for energy efficiency in buildings in Sweden

Panel: 8. Monitoring and evaluation: building confidence and enhancing practices

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Sofie Sandin, International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University, Sweden
Lena Neij, International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University, Sweden
Per Mickwitz, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Finland


The built environment accounts for approximately 32 % of the global final energy use but also holds great potential for energy efficiency still to be harnessed (Lucon et al., 2014). To develop innovative policies for energy efficiency that are capable of realizing transformative changes, we argue that there is an urgent need for new systemic evaluation frameworks that provide learning and knowledge on how policy initiatives provide energy efficiency in the built environment. Moreover, there is a need to understand to what extent evaluation practices today apply evaluation frameworks with a systemic and transformative approach.

This paper presents a critical assessment of 30 evaluations commissioned by Swedish authorities 2005-2015 on policy instruments for energy efficiency in buildings. The assessment is based on a systemic theoretical framework developed and based on general insights from evaluation theory and transition theory. The main categories of assessment are: the data and methods applied in the evaluation, the value judgment in evaluation and the use of evaluations. The results show some important aspects of a systemic approach but also reveal room for improvements. The reviewed evaluations used multiple methods and multi-criteria analysis, providing a thorough base for evaluation. However, the design, methods and data used could be much stronger if taking a broader system approach and including aspects of side effects, attribution, rebound-effects and triangulation. The design could also more explicitly asses aspects of transitions related to visioning, experimentation and learning. The value judgment in the evaluations used one to three criteria, of which impact and effectiveness were the ones most frequently used, leaving room for further reflections and analysis. Moreover, use of the evaluations was not explicitly mentioned.


Download this presentation as pdf: 8-221-17_Sandin_presentation.pdf

Download this paper as pdf: 8-221-17_Sandin.pdf