Energy Efficiency in the Residential, Service and Energy Sectors : Barriers, Drivers and System Studies

Abstract: Increased energy efficiency is a prerequisite for achieving the national energy and climate goals, the goals set by the European Union, and the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations. Close to 40% of Sweden’s total energy use and approximately 20% of domestic greenhouse gas emissions are allocated to the residential and service sector. There is great potential for increased energy efficiency within the sector. Almost half of Swedish households are situated in multifamily buildings, where district heating is the predominant heating solution, as well as in service buildings.This thesis uses a system perspective to explore energy efficiency work and end-use measures in an energy system, focusing on district heated regions that include combined heat and power production, and the residential and service sector, focusing on multifamily buildings and non-residential buildings. The research explores energy and climate goals in relation to the integration of the Sustainable Development Goals and potential barriers between organizations’ different objectives. In addition, the research focuses on barriers and drivers for energy efficiency. How type of ownership, size of the organization, and degree of urbanization can differentiate this work is also studied. Finally, the research explores potential conflicting objectives by studying energy end-use measures based on different system boundaries.The results show that around 70% of organizations in the Swedish residential and service sector had integrated the Sustainable Development Goals. However, depending on ownership, the integration rate ranges from 60% in public organizations with predominantly rental properties to 77% in private organizations, and 84% in cooperative organizations with predominantly tenant-owned properties. Only 48% of the small organizations had integrated the goals, compared to 73% of medium-sized organizations and 90% of large organizations. 49% of organizations in rural areas had integrated the goals, compared to 63% in towns and suburbs, and 80% in cities. The results show different use of terminology and timelines, and conflicting objectives are seen as different system boundaries are applied. This may inhibit understanding and communication, and hinder integration.Despite the need for energy efficiency, cost-efficient energy conservation measures are not always implemented. This is explained by the existence of barriers to energy efficiency. The perception of a lack of time or other priorities is the most hindering factor, along with the experience of a slim organization. On the other hand, the major drivers are reducing costs, followed by drivers of an organizational or behavioral nature. The results illustrate a challenging situation among publicly owned organizations, small organizations, and those in rural areas, as - relative to other groups - they experience barriers to a greater degree and drivers to a lesser extent. Positive factors that emerge between 2010 and 2020 are that energy strategies are integrated, and energy efficiency is given high priority throughout the organizations’ working methods.Lastly, by using simulation and optimization models, energy end-use measures of (1) large-scale renovation of a multifamily building stock and (2) the use of a hydronic pavement system for snow and ice clearance are studied. The results of the large-scale renovation of multifamily buildings reveal a potential conflict. The measure resulting in the best energy performance of the building, which may be the most desirable measure from a building owner’s perspective, risks leading to larger greenhouse gas emissions. A hydronic pavement system - a rarely used application in present-day district heating systems - proves to be a possible sustainable solution and a suitable application for the future generation of a low-temperature district heating system. The results underline the importance of understanding system boundaries in general, but also when considering energy efficiency improvements.

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