Incentivising Innovation in the Swedish Construction Industry
Abstract: Almost 40 percent of global final energy use and CO2 emissions are connected to buildings and building-related activities; it is therefore important to incentivise the design and construction of resource-efficient buildings. Unfortunately, energy demand and associated emissions in the sector continue to grow. Such incentives will help achieve energy and environmental targets, reduce costs, and make smart and sustainable buildings and cities possible at a larger scale. Because novel technologies carry risks alongside their advantages, developers, contractors and consultants must have incentives to reduce and share those risks in a rational way if we are to meet the crucial long-term societal goals of reduced use of resources and emissions. I hypothesise that there are legal and institutional frameworks (rules, building codes, regulations, standard contracts, etc.) that result in weak or negative incentives for construction industry actors to invest in, propose, and install resource-efficient technologies. If the hypothesis holds true, then the goal is to identify ways to better incentivise construction industry actors to fully engage in the design and construction of smart and sustainable buildings. To tackle this, four studies were carried out using a mixed-method approach. Paper 1 identifies 38 barriers to energy efficiency in Swedish multifamily buildings. The next study (Paper 2) develops a categorisation framework in order to understand where to engage to overcome or bypass barriers to energy efficiency. Paper 3 and 4 are devoted to analysing two sets of barriers and propose possible solutions to overcome or avoid them: (1) how the current legal framework guiding start and operation of housing co-operatives (mainly the Co-operative Act) influences incentives for engaging in resource-efficient construction, and (2) how the legal instrument for collaboration between developers and consultants incentivises resource-efficient construction. In this case, the contract under investigation is the General Conditions of Contract for Consulting Agreements for Architectural and Engineering Assignments (ABK 09)”. Changes to these two sets of legal and institutional frameworks could have a significant impact on how buildings are designed, produced and used. The changes proposed could incentivise construction industry actors to fully pursue the creation of smart, sustainable buildings that deliver services to users and reduce negative environmental impacts stemming from both the building construction and operation phases.
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