Scenarios on Energy Efficiency in Buildings 2050

What will the future of energy in the built environment look like in the next decades?

The Agreement on Energy for Sustainable Growth (2013) marks the start of the transition to a sustainable future in The Netherlands. Part of this agreement is about the built environment: all buildings must have an A-label energy performance in 2030 and must be energy neutral in 2050. Therefore the Ministry of the Interior started a long term survey on energy in the built environment early 2015. This survey should enable the Ministry to identify opportunities, obstacles and options for energy supply in buildings, enabling stakeholders to design and tune their strategies on realising a zero net energy built environment as good as possible. An important building block for this long term survey was the development of scenarios for 2050.

De Ruijter Strategy supported the Ministry in developing these scenarios. To be able to create plausible, relevant and insightful scenarios on the future of energy efficiency in buildings, we needed to explore trends and uncertainties for the long term. What can we expect to happen in the next decades from a demographical, economical, social, technological and ecological pount of view? What will the playng field look like, which parties will play a role and how will the rules of the game be? These questions were answered through desk research, interviews and a trendworkshop.

Based on the results of this exploration phase we developed, in an interactive process with respresentatives from housing and commercial building constructers, energycompanies, installers, architects and knowledge institutions, four scenarios. All four scenarios assume a definite transition to a zero net energy built environment, as described in the objectives of the Agreement on Energy for Sustainable Growth. At this moment, we find ourselves in the base scenario:
1. Gradual Transition: a step by step transition to a zero net energy built environment, elaborating the current developments in energy efficiency and focussing on collective agreements.
However, we do see various developments that could accelerate the transitions to zer net energy buildings. These developments are described in the other three scenarios:
2. Technology adoption: what if user friendly innovations in energy efficiency become affordable for a growing number of users.
3. Urgency: what if society feels a growing urge to take drastic measures to fight climate change.
4. Shortage: what if the worldwide growing demand for fossil energy leads to limited availability and high prices for ebergy in the built environment.

The results of the long term survey, in which these scenarios are incorporated, will be presented to parliament early 2016.
Want to learn more? Please contact Jolanda van Heijningen