The challenges of energy efficiency innovations in the Nordic building sector

Greener Markets and Cleaner Technologies (GMCT)

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The development and diffusion of environmental technologies, which is considered to be one way of achieving the dual goals of maintaining competitiveness in a dynamic and knowledge-based economy while integrating environmental consideration in this process, may be influenced by a number of sector-specific conditions. In light of this, case studies of energy efficiency innovations in the Nordic building sector were carried out as a part of two-year research project on Green Market and Cleaner Technologies - Leading Nordic Innovation and Technological Potential for Future Markets. The studies looked into the characteristics of the industry as well as other issues influencing the three key activities of an innovation system - access to knowledge, access to resources and market formation. This report highlights some features of the building industry as well as their products which tend to pose constraints to the three innovation activities in the sector. It elucidates several strategies deployed by innovating companies to overcome some of the constraints and points to specific areas for policy interventions needed to effectively enhance innovation activities in the sector.




The Green Markets and Cleaner Technology project targeted the environmental innovation issue. The areas has been highlighted in recent years, not least in the Nordic countries, as one important path for sustainable growth and simultaneously make use of the developments and the gained knowledgebase that has followed a stringent environmental policy. In essence it demonstrates the need of combining the policy areas of innovation, economic growth and environmental protection. This GMCT project is one of an array of different approaches within the field but with the specific focus on environmental performance of products and processes related to common products and sectors that primarily don’t operate in the traditional environmental technology area. The aim of the project has been to learn from real cases, successful innovations in existing companies, in sectors where the Nordic industry has a strong environmental position order to analyze the innovation system. The closely studied sectors are pulp and paper, mobile phones and buidings. Ultimately, the results should be possible to extrapolate and translate in policy recommendations that could strengthen both the studied sectors per se and the development of emerging environmental technologies, such as biotech, nano-technology, micro electronics, etc. We believe that not least the analytical model for understanding opportunities for policy intervention in the innovation system could be a useful tool for future actions and the interplay between innovation and environmental policy. Currently, it seems like that connection and coordination is weak.


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