New study: Driving innovation through stricter building codes

New study: Driving innovation through stricter building codes

April 13, 2015

Copenhagen Economics has conducted a study on assessing the impact in the industry related to low energy buildings from stricter building codes for The Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen).


In order to ensure buildings with high energy performance, the Danish government has introduced new energy requirements for new buildings in 2015 and 2020; the so called low-energy classes (lavenergiklasser). With the low-energy class for 2020, Denmark has been the first – and currently the most ambitious – EU Member State to pave the way for implementing the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive. While imposing high standards will tend to increase the user cost of buildings, it can also prepare Danish firms to a potentially expanding international market. In the report, we explore this trade-off and conclude the following:

  • Danish building code requirements has spurred innovation all through the value chain of the Danish low-energy building industry. Energy related ser-vices are now provided all the way from architects, through engineers to con-tractors and developers, and Danish manufacturers has expanded their low-energy products range.
  • In order to provide the best chance for Danish firms to benefit from these re-quirements, two things should be noted:
    • Danish standards should not be too ambitious compared to other Member States, as Danish products will then tend not to be cost effective solutions abroad.
    • Performance-based standards are more likely to foster valuable Danish innovations than component-based standards, as performance-based standards ensures that it the most cost effective solutions to a given ener-gy performance requirement that will be demanded.

Furthermore, we explore benefits to society from improving the indoor environment with respect to improved health. Here we find that by reducing asthmatic diseases by 5 per cent, there will be economic benefits in the order of 2-4 billion DKK every year.


Download the full report from Energistyrelsen’s website

For further information, please contact Sigurd Næss-Schmidt