Demonstratie Projecten en Energiezuinige Woningbouw

Translated title of the contribution: Demonstration Projects and Energy Efficient Housing

Research output: ThesisDissertation (external)


Demonstration Projects & Energy Efficient HousingExecutive Summary

Background and objectivesThis book is the synthesis of a number of successive studies about the development and the implementation of energy efficient housing in the Netherlands.In the early eighties the Dutch Government took the initiative to carry out a series of demonstration projects with energy efficient buildings. The systematic reduction of the energy consumption of houses and other buildings was already in progress at the time, but had been assessed as insufficient.Amore efficient energy consumption in the building environment was being urged upon.The National Research program Efficient Energy Use in the Build Environment (REGO) - which had started in 1982 - had to accomplish this endeavour by means of policy studies, concept-, product- and market development. Well-prepared demonstration projects in houses and other buildings accompanied by research farmed the main point of this research program. Concept development was at the centre of the program. The feasibility of concepts for the introduction on a large scale could be assessed on the basis of the results of demonstration projects. This study is focussing on the concept of the so-calledHIGH ENERGY EFFICIENT .HOUSE. This concept has been an important example of concept development right from the start. The high energy efficient house is characterized 'by an extreme integration of a couple of energy saving measures like the use of passive solar energy, the use of heavy insulation of the shell of the house, airtightness and integration of ventilation and heating of space and water combined with heat recovery. 
Demonstration projects with the HIGH ENERGY EFFICIENT HOUSE were meant to play a prominent role both in the development and the diffusion of the concept.The policy oriented objective of this study is to provide insight into the effects of demonstration projects on the development and the implementation of the concept of the HIGH ENERGY EFFICIENT HOUSE in Dutch Housing. This will be analysed by means of a number of potential functions of demonstration projects:* the concrete formulation and visualisation of governmental policy,* the assessment of the technical feasibility of the innovation,* examining the acceptance of the innovation by different 'users',* examining.the financial feasibility of the innovation,* providing of knowledge for regulation,* signalizing possible side-effects of the innovations in an early stage,* collecting and transferring developed knowledge_and experiences,* the development of a market through enlargement of the scale of demonstration projects'* developing strategy alliances within the concerning networks.
Theoretical aspects
Based on the adoption perspective of the diffusion process by Rogers (1983) this study gives an overview of scientific perspectives of the diffusion of innovations. Some perspectives that are introduced deal with the complete diffusion process, from putting the conditions for the inventory, the innovation, the adoption - the adoption itself and the effects of the innovation on the individual, the organisation or the socialsystem.The paradigm - developed by Rogers (1983), can be considered as a synthesis of a large number of studies of different disciplines related to the diffusion of innovations. Besides the enormous scientific approval that has led to the ·formulation of the paradigm, this synthesis has also evoked some reactions. In the light of this study some of the most important reactions are described. The different perspectives of Brown - which date back to 1981 - offer an excellent possibility to structure the criticism and make additions to the innovation-diffusion paradigm.In this study the concept of the lnnovation Diffusion Network (ION) is introduced on the analogy of Mulder (1992). The lnnovation Diffusion Network is defined as the set of actors involved în the idea, product, production, and market development, the implementation, the reuse, the recycling and the waste treatment of the innovation. This approach does not focus solely on technology in a narrow sense, but also on the development and the implementation of concepts. The high energy efficient house - an example of such a concept - will be at the centre of this study. The broad approach makes this study complicated. Besides analysing the different aspects of the innovation-diffusion process, the mutual effects of these aspects are also studied.The structure of this book roughly follows the four elements of the definition of diffusion as formulated by Rogers (1983).Diffusion is the process by which (1) an innovation (2) is communicated through certain (3) channels over (4) time.
Technical aspects.
The technical development of the concept of the high energy efficient house is described on basis of data from the demonstration projects in:* Schiedam, 184 newly built single family houses and multifamily houses realised in 1982,* Rotterdam, 72 newly built multi-family houses realised in 1983,* Amsterdam, 60 newly built single family houses realised in1984,* Hoofddorp (Energy Trail Plot), 56 newly built single family houses realised in1984,* Dongen, 91 newly built single and multi-family houses realised in 1986,* Utrecht, 86 newly built multi-family houses in a town renewal project realised in 1986,* Schiedam, 448 renovated multi-family houses _realised i'n 1986,* Alphen a/d Rijn (Ecolonia), 101 newly built single family houses realised in 1989.·The reduction of the energy consumption was the focal point of the concept of the high energy efficient house as presented by Kristinssons Architects and Consultants in 1980. They only made demands on energy consumption for space heating and not on the electricity consumption. At the beginning of the first project in Schiedam an average annual energy consumption for space heating of approximately 300 m3 natural gas seems feasible (Ghijsen, 1980). In the National Research Program (REGO) the demands for the high energy efficient house were formulated on a level of < 500 m3 natural gas per year. 300 m3, calculated on basis of computer models was only 60% of the demand made in the research program. Apparently the spectacular efficiency improvement of the high energy efficient house was not considered feasible by the drafters of the REGO- research program·. No additional demands were made on the remaining. domestic energy consumption at the time. Only in the most recent demonstration project (Ecolonia) demands were made on the energy consumptiori for the specific heating and ventilation system.Within the series of projects with the high energy efficient house concept two different technica! trajectories can be distinguished:* the development of the high energy efficient house by the Kristinssons Architects and Consultants. These were the successive projects in Schiedam, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Arnhem, Dongen and Utrecht* the two demonstration projects in Hoofddorp (Energy Trial Plot) and in Alphen a/d Rijn ,(Ecolonia).Within the REGO-research program the introduction of the concept of 'the house with active solar energy' in the project in Hoofddorp (Energy Trial Plot) can be considered an addition to the concept of the high energy efficient house. Kristinssons Architects and Consultants connected these two trajectories.They were also presented in the Hoofddorp project. However, a number of results from the high energy efficient house development were not applied in the Hoofddorp project. Especially salient are:* the thermal insulation of the shell. In Hoofddorp and even more so in Alphen a/d Rijn the rate of thermal insulation of the shell was lower than in the projects with the high energy efficient house without reasons.* the application of insulated shutters. The first projects with the high energy efficient houses showed that the application of insulated shutters was an expensive energy saving measure. The evaluation of a different glazing system in the project in Utrecht showed that the energy efficiency of enhanced insulating glazing is comparable with the combination of normal double glazing with insulated shutters. Moreover, the efficiency of the enhanced glazing.system is independent of the behaviour of the residents in comparison with the insulated shutters. In the Ecolonia-project some-houses have again been provided with shutters. Also, other solutions recently applied in the Ecolonia-project did not seem a logical continuation of the applied measures in Hoofddorp. In the later project no floors were insulated.Thermal insulation of the wall between the different houses was only applied in a small number of houses. The use of renewable energy sources Passive solar energy has played an important role in the heath balance of the demonstration projects with the newly built high energy efficient houses. In the renovation in Schiedam the placing of some blocks of houses made it impossible to use the passive solar energy.The division of the house in different zones and compartments - one of the design basics of the concept - has been maintained during the whole development process.The use of active solar energy for heating as an important addition to the concept can hardly be found in the latest project (Ecolonia). An exception is the application of enlarged thermal solar collectors in four houses used for both space and water heating.The promising concept of the 'solar cavity wall' in Hoofddorp was not applied any more in the later project in Alphen a/d Rijn. A new element in the concept was the use of active solar energy for water heating in nearly all houses in Alphen a/d Rijn (Ecolonia). Efficient use of non-renewable energyThe development of a completely new system for the heating of the ventilation air for the first project with the high energy efficient houses in Schiedam has shown many growing pains. Even the necessary adaptation and a second version of this integrated device did not.lead to effective and satisfying solutions for the appearing problems.In 1988 in Schiedam and in 1991 in Rotterdam a separate balanced ventilation system with heath recovery in combination with a traditional central heating system replaces the integrated device. In the later projects in Utrecht and Alphen a/d Rijn a newly developed integrated device was used. In some respects this device was an improvement compared with the initial device:* the possibility to set the climate for different zones,* the bigger heating capacity. A number of technical! developments already successfully applied in the first device were omitted in this hew generation:* the application of an electronic ignition,* the application of modulating burners. Although this multi-zone device had been on the market for many years and had been applied and evaluated in many projects, hardly any adaptations took place to solve the disadvantages of this generation. In several evaluation studies a couple of improvements was recommended:* the application of an electronic ignition instead of a pilot flame,* the application of energy efficient fans,* the simplification of the control unit,* the improvement of the separate setting of the climate of the different zones.The multi-zone device is applied almost unaltered in some houses in the Ecolonia-project in Alphen a/d Rijn. The other houses in this project are equipped with a high efficient central heating furnace and a low temperature radiator system in combination with a balanced ventilation system with, heat recovery. This solution is drifting away from the basics of the high energy efficient house concept. At the time it was supposed that the integration of functions could establish the. reduction of the extra costs of the installations. The integration of functions in recently developed systems has been ceased.Devices that can heat the ventilation air are not available on the market anymore.At the time of the concept development of the high energy efficient house.the combination of functions - including the heating of the ventilation air - was chosen intentionally. This way the placement of a radiator system was avoided and the money saved could be used to pay the expenses of the other energy saving measures. The value of the principle of the integrated system as was used in the early demonstration projects with the high energy efficient house is beyond doubt.The technical! elaboration of the device has never coped with the design specifications. It can be concluded that some learning effects did appear and others did not within the series of demonstration projects in relation with the technical! development. After the project in Utrecht a clear breaking point can be detected. In the recent Ecolonia-project the architects have deviated from the recommended measures without clear arguments. They did not profit much from past experiences in a positive nor in a negative sense. For example the positive experiences with the high rate of thermal insulation did not serve as a model, while the negative experiences with the multi-functional device did not lead to the development of improved versions. Also, the airtightness of the houses in the later projects could not come up to the high degree of airtightness of the first project in Schiedam. The variation of some key-actors in the innovation diffusion network is the most important explanation for this. . Most striking is the fact that Kristinssons Architects were not involved in the Ecolonia-project.
Functional aspects.
The report enters into' the practical experiences with the innovation and its influence on the further development. In four of the seven demonstration projects the energy consumption for space heating conforms to the requirements: Nevertheless,· the energy consumption for space heating is always higher than the calculations of the computer programs. This raises the question whether the models are robust enough or whether the used premises match reality. Further research of this aspect is recommended, also because the results of these computer calculations are being used to market these projects. The inhabitants may get angry when their actual energy consumption turns out to be much higher.Elimination of this discrepancy is also important, while the computer calculations play a prominent part in the implementation of a new policy instrument in the Netherlands; the Energy Performance Norm for buildings.The additional energy for the heating and ventilation system is also higher than the figures given in the design specifications. Clinching arguments for this higher electricity consumption cannot be given. The differences of the characteristics of the house and the appliances may explain the variance of the energy consumption for space heat. ing better than the differences of the energy related behaviour of its residents. Diminishing the amount of trouble and enhancing the insulation of the walIs between the different houses will have more influence than efforts to change the behaviour of the residents.Most of the residents did not have to adapt their habits to the specific energy saving appliances. Not only 'energy freaks' but also less energy conscious households can realise a substantial reduction of their energy, consumption for space heating in a high energy efficient house in comparison with a more traditional build house.Multivariate analyses show that no extreme energy conscious or unconscious behaviour appears in the projects. Because of insufficient financial funding, comparing these findings withthe results of more traditional building projects was impossible. Such a comparative research into the possible influence of the characteristics of the house and the applianceson the behavioural patterns of its residents is recommended.The results of all the residents surveys show that the ease with which to handle the technical! features meets the requirements of the high energy efficient house.The design of the integrated heating and ventilation system should be better adapted to the two dominant behavioural patterns found. Low temperature setting and open windows. characterize the 'fresh climate behaviour', while high temperature setting and closed windows characterize the 'warm climate behaviour'. The integrated climate system should have possibilities of standard settings to fulfil the needs of the behavioural patterns. The reliability of the heating and ventilation system has been improved during the series of demonstration projects, but is still very low in comparison with the more traditional systems. The appreciation of the residents is raising during the series of demonstration projects.In the Ecolonia project in Alphen a/d/ Rijn the evaluation of the multi-functional device - applied in one type of energy efficient house - is worse than in the former projects. ·Bringing down the extra casts of the energy saving measures of · the high energy efficient house, did not have its effects on the financial budget of the residents. This is caused by the lower energy prices, the improved insulation of the existing traditional houses, the change in the way the rent is being calculated and the high electricity consumption of the system.The overall contentment of the residents with the house and the appliances has improved. During the series of demonstration projects the overall contentment is increased.The strong relation of the evaluation· of the house with the evaluation of the functioning of the heating and ventilation system can explain this.The cooperation of the residents in the demonstration projects with the high energy efficient houses has been very good, People are willing to accept many inconveniences in the light of the experimental character of the projects. However, when solutions for the inconveniences fail to appear, the general feeling can turn against the entire project. Subsequently it will take much time and effort to regain the goodwill of the residents. There is the added problem that the residents will try to get extra attention for their case in the media.
Information transfer
Many different ways of information transfer are being applied in the series of demonstration projects. Regarding the formulated requirements a couple of conclusions can be drawn. Although it was intended to happen right from the start, it took about ten years for the first systematic target group research to be executed. Still, there is not enough insight in the information search behaviour of most of the target groups during decision making related to housing projects. One should think of target groups like local governments, housing associations, project developers and consumers.The start of an information centre directly related to the Ecolonia project meets some requirements for effective information transfer. For the target groups the information centre is an additional source of information to the mass136media. lnterpersonal information transfer has taken shape through the information centre. Visiting the information centre .there has been a way of communication. During symposia and workshops organised in the information centre ideas and experiences can .be exchanged. These kind of meetings of different actors involved in the development and realisation of housing projects can be used more effectively as an instrument for network management. The information centre plays an important role in reducing the efforts needed to gather information about sustainable building. Buijs (1995b) notes that the value of the connection of an information centre to a demonstration project diminishes during the building process· of the project. Many applied measures become invisible, while they are concealed or while the houses in which the measures are applied are inhabited in the meantime.The limited use of existing communication networks or the  creation of new networks is a sever omission in the policy of the information transfer of developed knowledge and experiences with energy efficient housing projects.
Effects of demonstration projects. 
Although the implementation of innovations like the high energy efficiency normally take decades, the effectiveness of demonstration projects with.the concept has been limited during the last ten years. Although realising high energy efficient houses within the boundaries of social housing in the first half of the eighties seems possible, in the second half of that decade it proved impossible without having to increase the costs of living for the inhabitants of these houses. The lagging development of the market for high energy efficient houses has caused the stopping of the product development in the field of the integrated heating and ventilation system until the early nineties. ,Sealing up the reductions of cost and the improvement of quality did not appear. In terms of network theory we can pose that in the first half of the eighties the innovation diffusion agency did not succeed in extending the network with actors who could be important for the implementation of the concept of the high energy efficient house. 1 think especially of projects developers, housing associations and consumers.At the very beginning of.the innovation diffusion process the developers were really thinking in terms of target groups and actors. They were presuming that knowledge transfer from the demonstration projects should be sufficient to start the market development process of the high energy efficient house.Important elements for the development of networks like fostering communication and interaction between different actors were not part of the activities around the demonstration projects. Moreover, the development of the innovation diffusion network was very different because of the two different organisations commissioned with parts of the process. The organisation responsible for the implementation of energy saving innovations in the build environment (NEOM) has indeed tried to implement some separate. measures from the concept, but has never tried to implement the concept as a whole as developed by the other organisation (PBE/PEO). One important step in the innovation diffusion process has been insufficiently used. 1 am aiming at three of the high energy efficient houses projects which were build without additional subsidies from the government. Evaluating these projects could have improved the insights in the possibilities of market introduction.The insulation standards in the Netherlands stay far behind the proven effectiveness of the heavy insulation of the high energy efficient houses. The demonstration project is used insufficiently as a social experiment to study long-term effects. The demonstration projects have only had an evaluation period pf two years. Thesis too short to analyse the often necessary process of social change. The social experiments can get a more (scientific) ·value if the results are compared with these of traditional projects.A stepwise increase of demonstration projects - as intended in the research program - has never been realised. The first demonstration project involving 184 houses was to a large considering the state of technical! development. The demonstration project can offer the government - as the most important financier - the opportunity to buiId a network for the innovation diffusion of energy efficient housing. The government did not explicitly recognise these functions of the demonstration projects in the past. None of the different governmental organisations related to the development and implementation of energy efficient housing took the initiative in managing the network. Network management still is not qualified as a policy by the related governmental organisations. Considering demonstration projects explicitly as a tool or an instrument in the innovation diffusion process will increase the learning effects of the successive projects.
Original languageDutch
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
Award date19 Jun 1996
Place of PublicationRotterdam
Print ISBNs90-71756-30-0
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Sustainable building (New building and retrofit)
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Energy Consumption
  • Innovation diffusion

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