Perceived Barriers to Nearly Zero-Energy Housing: Empirical Evidence from Kilkenny, Ireland

C. Souaid*, H.M.H. van der Heijden, M.G. Elsinga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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In 2010, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive announced that all new buildings are to be nearly zero-energy as of January 2021. Having reached year 2022, it can be said that the transition has proven to be slower than anticipated. Transition research has long acknowledged the potential impact of the human factor in the process of change. While there is a relative wealth of literature on end-users and their perceptions as recipients of change within the demand end of the market, research on professionals and their perceptions as actors in the process of change is limited. Thus, this study looks at the human factor in the supply end of the market by bringing professionals’ perceptions to the forefront in its investigation of barriers to the implementation and uptake of nearly zero-energy housing in practice. As part of the project entitled Housing 4.0 Energy: Affordable and Sustainable Housing through Digitization, data were collected through a focus group and semi-structured interviews with housing professionals in Kilkenny, Ireland. Descriptive coding, inferential coding, and fact tracing revealed several identified barriers to be perceptions and not actual barriers to nearly zero-energy housing. Additionally, information dissemination and assimilation between policy and industry was identified as an overarching barrier. Therefore, the paper ends with recommendations to reduce delay factors at the supply end of the market, thus contributing to closing the gap between the development of policies and their implementation
Original languageEnglish
Article number6421
Number of pages23
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • nearly zero-energy housing
  • NZEB
  • barriers
  • perceptions
  • housing professionals
  • sustainability transition

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