Lost in building design practices: The intertwining of energy with the multiple goals of home building in Finland

Maria Åkerman (Corresponding Author), Minna Halonen, Nina Wessberg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    To decarbonize the building sector, which currently accounts for 40% of the energy consumption in the European Union, Member States have set a goal for all new buildings to become nearly zero energy by the end of 2020. This requires that those who construct buildings are motivated and capable of adopting novel building energy technologies. To enrich the understanding of how individual consumers and families can be encouraged to engage in the transition towards zero energy buildings, this article explores how energy choices intertwine with other goals and aims in building design practices during the design of detached houses in Finland. Our results indicate that ordinary consumers have very limited tools to choose novel energy solutions for their forthcoming houses during the building design stage. The intertwined practices of building design, building permit provision and HVAC design both guide and restrict the outcomes of the process in a way, which prevents the active decision-making of consumers. While focusing on these practices, we were able to identify four critical phases in the building design process, where the options for innovative building energy solutions, including integrated energy solutions, were restricted. In many of these phases, the process moves on through interaction between various building sector experts, whose practices are guided by other principles and goals of building design than energy. As a conclusion, the article suggests specific interventions directed to these critical phases to prevent the loss of opportunities for applying novel energy solutions in new detached houses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101335
    JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
    Early online date6 Nov 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Low carbon buildings
    • Detached houses
    • Building design practices
    • Finland
    • Integrated energy solutions
    • Energy transition


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