- Buildings Guide
- Policy Guide
- Appliances Guide
In Denmark, energy efficiency policies have a long tradition, which includes buildings. Today, a policy package is in place which consists of various policies, complementing each other and addressing different target groups and fields of action. The combination of policies in the package make it unique and noteworthy. The framework of the policy package is a steadily updated set of targets. For their implementation, specific institutions have been founded; such as the Danish Energy Agency and the Danish Energy Savings Trust, and energy companies are obligated to save increasing amounts of energy each year. Energy taxation has been in place for many years, especially for heating fuels and electricity used in buildings.
The specific measures implemented range from mandatory building energy efficiency standards to financial incentives and mandatory energy performance certificates, energy audits, information and education as well as demonstration projects. For example, the minimum requirement for new residential buildings in Denmark is given by an upper limit of (50+1600/A) kWh/m2/yr (A: heated gross floor area). Included in the energy performance is energy for heating, ventilation, cooling and domestic hot water (Hansen 2010).
As a result of the policies, the energy efficiency of households was improved by almost 16% between 1990 and 2008.
Denmark pursues high targets with regards to the future use of energy. According to the “Energy Strategy 2050”, which was adopted in 2011, this policy of energy efficiency improvements, which is also specifically for existing buildings, will be further pursued. This will contribute to the overall aim of the strategy to be independent from fossil fuels by 2050. And energy efficiency in buildings is crucial: Although the energy efficiency of households was improved between 1990 and 2008 by almost 16% for example (Odyssee & MURE 2011), the buildings sector is still one of the greatest energy consumers in the country. In 2009 the final energy consumption in households was 192,145TJ which is 30.4% of total Danish energy consumption; 83% of it was related to heating purposes (Gram-Hanssen 2011, p. 2).
Since the 1960s different policies have been implemented in Denmark that now all contribute to this aim. Measures of energy efficiency governance like; the foundation of the Danish Energy Agency in 1976, the Danish Electricity Savings Trust (based on the Danish Energy Savings Trust from 1996), the energy saving obligations for electricity, gas and district heating network companies or the energy tax all contribute to higher energy efficiency.
Specific policies and measures for energy efficiency in buildings Denmark also have a long tradition, with buildings energy efficiency standards as the main element. In 1960, Denmark was among the first countries worldwide to introduce nationwide energy efficiency standards for energy use of buildings; today it has one of the most ambitious and strictest minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for new buildings among comparable countries (Danish Energy Agency 2010, p. 17). Regulations for the energy requirements have been gradually tightened several times. Since 2006, provisions on the renovation of existing buildings are included as well (Gram-Hanssen 2011, p. 5). This seems to be crucial. Approximately 75% of the buildings in Denmark were built before 1979, when the requirements were tightened for the first time (Thomsen et al. 2009, p. 3). These legal requirements for buildings are accompanied by requirements for appliances. Moreover, Denmark has implemented an energy performance certification scheme, energy audits, advice from energy companies and from the regional energy advice offices of Energy Service Denmark, as well as a Knowledge Centre for Energy Savings in Buildings targeting the construction supply-side actors. To provide financial incentives for energy efficiency action, some grants and subsidy programmes were implemented as well, by both the government and the energy companies. Demonstration projects provide a basis for convincing information and training to investors, architects, construction companies and other contractors.
Policy roadmap and targets for ultra-low energy buildings/retrofits
There are currently three central documents for energy policy in Denmark: the Energy Strategy 2050 from 2011, the Energy Agreement from 2008 and the Action Plan for Renewed Energy Conservation from 2005 (Odyssee & MURE 2011). The Action Plan for Renewed Energy Conservation contained different initiatives for buildings and appliances in the public and private sector as well as issues like research and development or information (McCormick and Neij 2009, p. 24). It pointed out that market-based programmes are important and that the public sector can serve as a model for other sectors (McCormick and Neij 2009, p. 24). A few years later, the Energy Agreement was adopted, which set targets on the annual energy savings until 2010 (Odyssee & MURE 2011). Currently, the target is to achieve 1.5 % or 10.3 GWh/year of energy savings each year ( ). Furthermore, the Danish Government targets to be one of the three most energy-efficient countries in the OECD by the year 2020 (Danish Government 2011, p.8).
Most recently, the Danish Government announced the “Energy Strategy 2050” which seeks to make the country independent from fossil fuels by 2050. Regarding the buildings sector, this means for example that there would be a shift in future fuel usage for existing heating installations that are operated using oil and gas today. As new buildings only account for about 1% of the total existing building stock, the Government’s increased efforts will be directed towards existing buildings. The government plans to spend 1 billion Danish crowns (ca. EUR 130 million) in 2013/14 for energy efficiency incentives in existing buildings (). Owing to the implemented improvements together with on-going maintenance, the Danish Government expects a reduction in heating consumption by approximately 50% compared to consumption levels today – and at a reasonable cost (Danish Government 2011, p. 36).
Further tightening of the existing energy savings obligations of energy distribution grid companies is especially included in current plans: obligations will be increased by 50% from 2013 and by 75% in 2015-2020. The figure presents how the targets developed over the years since the inception of the obligatory scheme.
Energy-efficient spatial planning and urban district planning
In the City of Albertslund, a concept has been developed to address the energy efficiency of existing buildings. During the 1960s-1980s many prefabricated houses were built. For these buildings standardized refurbishment concepts were developed, that can easily be replicated. The concept will be implemented in a settlement of social housing in Albertslund, where 2,200 housing units are to be refurbished for €360m. (cf. ENPIRE 2009, p. 7; Nordic Energy Municipality 2011)
On the subject of urban development, the City of Sonderborg has initiated Project Zero. The city aims at being CO2-neutral in 2029 by using renewable energy and using energy more efficiently. Examples are the installation of geothermal district heating, the use of local biomass for energy production or training about energy efficiency in the construction sector. Public institutions and private homeowners are given advice from energy consultants. The issue of climate protection is addressed in schools and demonstration projects show the possibilities for more energy efficiency. Moreover, part of the Project Zero vision is the creation of (“green”) jobs in energy-related fields (cf. Bright Green Business).
Voluntary Agreements with commercial or public organisations
Between 2007 and2013, the Danish Curve Braker Agreement (CBA) was effective, which set binding targets for reducing electricity consumption to voluntary signatories. The targets typically ranged between three and 15 per cent of demand reduction over a period of three to five years. Thereby, the agreements and the programme overall aimed to break the rising curve of electricity consumption that still prevailed in Denmark at the onset of the programme in 2007. Target groups were municipalities, regions, ministries and agencies but also non-governmental actors. The defined targets were negotiated with CBA coaches working at the Danish Saving Trust (DEST). These coaches offered proposals for tailor-made electricity saving solutions to each participant. The participants were obliged to publish a) their energy consumption on a special website in order to ensure compliance and b) the way how reductions were achieved which promotes a mutual learning process between CBA signatories. DEST, on the other hand, offered various tools to promote electricity demand reductions (e.g. training courses, behavioural campaign materials, energy efficient procurement guidelines and tools). DEST’s work, including CBA, has been financed by an extra charge of €0.06 /kWh on the electricity bills of private households and public institutions. Therefore the CBA participation was completely free of charge. By also embracing non-governmental actors, DEST maximized its efforts.
As a member of the EU, Denmark is actively promoting energy policy on the European level. It is advocating a more ambitious and binding European energy savings target, similar to its national target. Moreover, during the EU Presidency, Denmark worked on the new EU energy efficiency directive, which is to realise the EU’s 2020 goal of reducing primary energy consumption by 20% compared to baseline projections (Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building 2012, pp. 2-3).
As part of a co-operation between northern European countries, the Nordic innovation programme: Nordic Built was launched in 2011. This programme aims at evaluating and sharing the know-how on energy efficiency in the building sector throughout northern Europe. In addition, a competition for municipalities in Northern Europe with successful projects or concepts for sustainable and green growth was initiated. In 2011 the winner was the City of Albertslund with its concept for energy efficient renovation of existing residential buildings (see further information above; Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building 2012, pp. 6-7).
The Danish Energy Agency was established in 1976, and is an agency under the Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building (ENS DKb). Its main functions are to conduct energy-related studies and to advise the Ministry for Climate and Energy and other departments or entities (McCormick and Neij 2009, p. 17). The agency works in all energy-related sectors and deals with various stakeholders (ENS DKb). With regard to energy efficiency it develops and implements related programmes, e.g. concerning labelling and certification, norms and standards, voluntary agreements, etc. (Ezban 2010). The Danish Energy Agency is commissioned to administer funds for campaigns to promote energy savings in buildings with an annual sum of DKK 20 million (about 2.7 million Euro) in the period 2008-2012. Around DKK 10 million are allocated to the “Knowledge Centre for Energy Savings in Buildings” (see below), the rest is given to a subsidy scheme for information and campaign activities further information: ).
Energy Efficiency Funds
The former Electricity Savings Trust (Elsparefonden) was established in 1996. One of its main tasks was the conversion of electrically heated homes and public buildings to district heating or natural gas (McCormick & Neij 2009, p. 17); in latter years, energy efficient appliances and their use have been the focus (Togeby et al. 2011). The trust was funded through a special levy of €0.06/kWh on electricity, yielding an annual budget of EUR 12 million. The original target for the Trust was to save 750 GWh/yr of electricity within ten years, equivalent to 5 % of the target groups’ electricity consumption. An evaluation found that the trust even exceeded this, saving around 1,000 GWh/yr instead by 2008 (Elsparefonden 2004).
Since March 2010 the Danish Electricity Savings Trust has been transformed into the Danish Energy Saving Trust with the aim of covering not only electricity savings but all forms of energy in all sectors except the transport sector (Further information available online: ). The new Danish Energy Saving Trust deals with energy savings in general including information on thermal and electrical energy consumption and water consumption (For further information: Lund & Bechmann 2011). For 2011 there was a plan to launch a nation-wide campaign on energy efficient ventilation and boilers (Aggerholm et al. 2010, p. 8). One of the information tools of the Trust is the ‘Boligtjek’ (Home Energy Check), a web-based tool to identify potential energy improvements based on the calculation model from the Danish Building Research Institute (Lüders & Laybourn 2011).
Energy Saving Obligations for Energy Companies
As a follow up to the earlier activities by the demand-side management of electricity companies from 1995, all Danish energy distribution network companies (electricity, gas, district heating) have been obliged to promote a more efficient use of energy since 2006 (McCormick & Neij 2009, p. 17; Togeby et al. 2009, p. 301). These are one of the most important elements of the Danish energy efficiency policy package, including buildings and appliances.
Following the success of the scheme, the targets have already been massively increased, as the figure shows. In 2010 for example, the target was first set at 5.4 PJ/year, then later revised to 6.1 PJ/year (1,694 GWh/year). From 2015, they will be 12.2 PJ/year (3,389 GWh/year), which will be an amount of energy saving equivalent to around 2.4% of energy consumption each year and will be one of the highest values worldwide for an energy savings target. To date, the targets have usually been met and the policy is cost-effective overall: the cost of saving a unit of energy is lower than the savings in avoided costs of energy supply (cf. detail given below).
The companies are relatively free in the implementation of this obligation. Possible activities are awareness raising campaigns, energy audits, subsidies etc (Togeby et al., 2009, p. 302). However since 2004, electricity companies have had to budget at €3.3m per year for their information campaigns (Togeby et al. 2009, p. 305). Company costs are recovered via the end-user prices. In 2010 the energy company costs amounted to more than 749 million DKK (100 million EUR), i.e. excluding customer investment costs, equivalent to 37 øre/(kWh/year) (5 EURcent/(kWh/year)) per kWh of registered annual (‚first-year’) savings. A note used in the negotiations suggests that for the next period (2013-2015) the obligation will cost 51 øre/(kWh/year) (7 EURcent/(kWh/year)) which amounts to 1,500 million DKK (200 million EUR) (Togeby et al. 2012, p. 14).
The targets were usually met, except by a few small district heating companies (up to 2008, e.g.,Togeby et al., 2009, p. 302). However, it should be noted that registered savings, to which the energy companies contributed through advice and grants are not the same as net (additional) savings that would not have occured without the support from energy companies. The latter were estimated to be around 40 % of registered saving for the year 2011 (Togeby et al. 2012). On the other hand, the cost to society also includes the part of the investment borne by the energy companies’ customers investing in energy efficiency. Calculating over 10 years with 5 % of interest rate, this resulted in average costs per net (additional) kWh saved of 0,33 DKK/kWh (4.4 EURcent/kWh) for business consumers but 2.34 DKK/kWh (31 EURcent/kWh) for households – in total 0.57 DKK /kWh (7.6 EURcent/kWh) (Togeby et al. 2012). This is cost-effective compared to a socio-economic cost of supply of ca. 0.73 DKK/kWh (9.7 EURcent/kWh).
An earlier evaluation estimated that the implemented projects were also cost-effective for both companies as well as their customers but that only about 50% of the energy savings were additional to autonomous market trends (Togeby et al. 2009, p. 304). This was one reason for the government to again increase the targets by 50 % from 2013 and 75% from 2015 (cf. the figure). As the total energy savings increase, the share of additional savings increases as well. In order to meet the increased targets, the energy companies have now shifted their programme portfolio towards financial incentives. In 2011, 85 % of the savings reported had already been achieved through financial incentive programmes ( ).
Energy/CO2 taxation and emissions trading
Taxes on energy use (and later also on CO2 emissions) have been levied since the 1970s with sector-specific regulations (e.g. taxes on electricity use in households are higher than in energy-intensive industries) (Togeby et al. 2009, p. 301). These taxes have been increased over the decades in order to send price signals to consumers (IEA 2008, by McComick and Neij 2009, p. 20). Without them, energy use would be 10% higher than it actually is today (Danish Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs 2008, by Togeby et al. 2009, p. 301).
Additionally, the European Union’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) was introduced in 2008, which requires CO2 caps and trading for energy production and industry (approx. 380 production units in Denmark) and has thus lead to higher energy prices for end users (Togeby et al. 2009, p. 301; ENS DKa). Surveys show that this measure has increased the energy efficiency awareness in half of the responding companies “to some or to a high extent” (Togeby et al. 2009, p. 301). Sectors, which are not affected by the ETS, have to pay a separate CO2 tax in Denmark (McComick and Neij 2009, p. 20).
There are no energy price subsidies in Denmark.
Regulation of energy companies
With regard to the energy saving obligations, the Danish regulator allows cost recovery through the regulated prices for the use of the electricity and gas distribution networks, and cost recovery is also possible in district heat supply. In addition, the revenues of electricity and gas distribution companies are regulated in a way that they have no disincentive to assist their customers save energy (‘decoupling’ of network operator’s earnings from energy volume transported).
Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for buildings & equipment
Denmark already has one of the most ambitious MEPS for new buildings in Europe and the longest tradition of implementing energy performance standards for building (WWF Scotland 2011). The “Building Regulations” (BR10, last updated in 2010) (Danish Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs 2010) contain the rules for construction, “extension, conversion of and any other alterations to buildings” in Denmark (private and commercial) and include stringent energy performance requirements (Odyssee & MURE 2011). With regard to existing buildings, the Danish government focuses on energy renovations, as the most cost-effective measures, and aims at introducing new component requirements for minor renovations and installations (Hansen 2010). By way of the 2010 regulations the country targets 25% energy use reduction compared to 2005 regulations. Requirements relating to major renovations, change of heating supply, replacement of boilers, windows and roof are in place (RAP 2010, p. 49).
For the future, revised building standards with even further tightened energy performance requirements, have been announced: The standards for new buildings in 2015 and in 2020 will be at the level of or lower than the passive-house standard. The latest revision came into force on the 1st of January 2011 and specifies that all new buildings must meet the requirements for low-energy houses (less than 50 kWh/m2/year), which represents a 25% improvement compared with the 2008 requirements. The next tightening of regulations, which has already been defined in the “Building Regulations” (BR10), is envisaged for 2015 and will again bring an additional 25% improvement; this performance requirement is equivalent to the current voluntary German standard for passive houses. The requirements for 2020 are currently being negotiated. The long-term vision of the Danish Government is that all buildings meet the requirements of ‘plus-energy-houses’ (IEA 2011, pp. 5-6; Aggerholm et al. 2010, p. 9). Through such communication of long-term goals, and especially by way of announcing a concrete roadmap for the further tightening of MEPS early on, the Danish Government sends a clear signal to the building sector and allows concerned actors to prepare for these next steps. This contributes to an accelerated transformation of the market towards ultra-low-energy buildings.
According to an evaluation by Energy Analysis, Niras, RUC and 4-Fact published in December 2008 (Energy Analysis et al. 2008), the building code in Denmark is of great importance for the reduction of energy consumption in new buildings. Nevertheless, in the past the predetermined energy requirements were not always met as the following figure (Energy consumption in single family houses in Denmark relative to energy efficiency requirements in the building code) shows:
It remains to be seen, if the high expectations regarding the planned tightening steps of the building code in 2015 and 2020 will be met.Other legal requirements
Two other legal requirements accompany the buildings regulations and standards (Further information:):
1. As part of implementing a requirement of the European Parliament and Council Directive on the Overall Energy Performance of Buildings, larger ventilation installations and air conditioning systems have to undergo an inspection carried out by an accredited inspection body every five years. This includes the registration of the basic data of the installation, an inspection of the operational state and a measurement programme, including absorbed power effects of ventilators and the volume flow, pressure and temperatures of the installation. Based on this data, the installation’s energy efficiency is assessed. Furthermore, information on how to save energy and at what cost is also provided.
2. In accordance with the EPBD as well, Denmark has a mandatory requirement for the inspection of boilers and heating systems on a regular basis, implemented on the 1st of September 2006. The inspection rule, which includes new and existing boilers and heating installations, aims to ensure a high energy efficiency standard. Furthermore, there are requirements for new installations of oil-fired, gas-fired and solid fuel boilers both in new buildings and existing buildings (Danish Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs 2010).
However, the inspection scheme has proceeded rather slowly, i.e. only a few inspections have been carried out. A revision of the inspection scheme, which came into force in 2011, was decided (Aggerholm et al. 2010, pp. 5-6).
The ‘Danish Energy Labelling Scheme’ served as a model for the Energy Performance Certificates required by the EU’s 2002 Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD).
The certificates for existing buildings should not be older than five years. Fourteen levels are covered from A1 (highest standard) to G2 (lowest standard). New buildings have to meet at least the requirements corresponding to a B1 level (McCormick & Neij 2009, p. 20). From the 1st of July 2010, real estate agents selling a building have had to present the building’s energy label in the advertising (this rule does not apply to private (person to person) sale or rent) (Aggerholm et al. 2010, p. 8).
Additionally, the low-energy classification Bygningsklasse 2020 was introduced in 2011. It has been voluntary eversince, but will become obligatory in 2020. Buildings with this classification only need half of the energy of buildings to the current standard (Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building 2012, p. 6).
The impact of labelling schemes has been discussed controversially. The Danish Energy Authority refers in the Danish Energy Saving Report (May 2003) to an evaluation of ELO (Energy Management Scheme) in 2000-01 that demonstrated significant savings. The evaluation of the energy labelling of small buildings also shows energy cost savings of almost DKK 1 billion; but many of the identified saving options are still not implemented due to a lack of awareness of the scheme (Danish Energy Authority 2003, pp. 14-17). However, the evaluation by Energy Analysis, Niras, RUC and 4-Fact published in December 2008 concludes that the impact of the labelling scheme is at best somewhat limited. Although the energy labelling is mandatory, there are no specific sanctions installed. Furthermore, there is an imbalance between costs and benefits: “One of the inherent problems in the system is that in the case of existing buildings, a (rather expensive) consultant is sent out to the building, whose owner may or may not be interested in the label or the information contained in the labelling report, at that time. The cost of hiring the consultant does not match the benefits of the realised savings and hampers the cost efficiency of this policy“ (Togeby et al. 2011). In any event, the labelling schemes are a useful information instrument because they create transparency and awareness and complement other energy efficiency policies well.
Energy advice & assistance during design and construction
Since the 1990s, companies in Denmark are able to benefit from free electricity audits offered by the energy companies, which demonstrate various measures for a more efficient use of energy. During the audit each company gets to know (in detail) what it uses electricity for and how it can diminish its electricity consumption. The audits are to provide first signals to the companies that they should implement energy efficiency measures. (McComick and Neij 2009, pp. 23-24).
Energy audits for residential buildings are included in the process for providing an energy label to a building owner (see above).
Provision of information
Information is provided to citizens by the Energy Service Denmark. This entity has various regional offices from which it provides information to different groups such as schools, SMEs or interested citizens (McComick and Neij 2009, p. 23).
With a focus on construction companies, the “Knowledge Centre for Energy Savings in Buildings” was established in 2009 as part of the energy policy agreement of February 2008. The overall objective is to ensure greater awareness in the construction sector for energy efficient buildings, the requirements of the building regulations and the know-how to save energy. The primary target groups are contractors, construction companies, energy advisors and consultants, and smaller enterprises in the construction sector (McCormick & Neij, p. 23; Gram-Hanssen 2011, p. 6). Professionals from the building industry have free access to data and can gather information about materials, technological solutions and development, and construction methods (Aggerholm et al. 2010, p. 8). The Centre receives a budget of DKK 10 million per year (ca. €1.3 million/yr).
Information programmes also make use of the demonstration programmes (cf. ‘RD&D and BAT promotion’ for more detail). Further information regarding energy efficiency demonstration projects can be found on the website “State of Green” ( ) where Danish companies, organisations, institutions and public authorities can present their work and ideas.
Denmark also has a voluntary energy labelling scheme for windows with a categorisation of products on a scale from A to C (McCormick & Neij 2009, pp. 21-22). Besides the labelling, the Danish Energy Authority - together with the glass industry and other organisations - has developed an agreement to phase-out traditional sealed units and to promote energy efficient window solutions. Efficiency standards for windows are included in the Building Regulations (BR10).
Additionally, the low-energy classification Bygningsklasse 2020 was introduced in 2011. It is currently voluntary, but will become obligatory in 2020. Buildings with this classification only need half of the energy of buildings to the current standard (Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building 2012, p. 6).
In addition to energy taxes (see above), there are also financial incentives; especially for energy efficiency in buildings in Denmark. Different types of grants and subsidies are available for this purpose. For example, public and private enterprises can apply for grants to finance up to 40% of the costs for energy efficiency measures (McComick and Neij 2009, p. 21). Moreover, from 1993-2003 energy efficiency measures in buildings were financially supported, e.g. if a pensioner lived in the building and thus the government indirectly benefited from the measure by lower heating supplement payments (McComick and Neij 2009, p. 21). More recently, the government adopted a new initiative, which will start in 2013 and provide subsidies for energy efficiency measures in existing buildings such as window replacement, roof insulation etc. (Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building 2012, p. 6). The assets will be made available for home owners as well as tenants (Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building 2012, p. 6). The government plans to spend 1 billion Danish crowns (ca. €130 million) in 2013/14 for energy efficiency incentives in existing buildings (Another example of subsidies used to promote energy efficiency improvement in buildings is the scheme for replacing oil-fired burners: A total of €54 million has been earmarked for the replacement of these boilers with more energy efficient heating systems. In areas where district heating is available, the subsidies are only granted for district heating; outside of the district heating areas, there are three possibilities for subsidies: ).
Education and Training
In addition to the “Knowledge Centre for Energy Savings in Buildings” (see above) Denmark aims towards a better trained working force by participating in the EU Build Up Skills initiative, which targets national strategies on advanced training in the construction sector concerning energy efficiency (Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building 2012, p. 6).
Promotion of third-party financing (e.g. Energy Performance Contracting, On-bill financing, property tax financing, etc.)
To further promote the potential for energy savings in buildings the Danish Government has established a committee with representatives from financial institutions, energy companies, builders, installers and the building industry. The main target of the committee is to work out concrete proposals that can make it easier to realise savings, inspired by the idea of the ESCO concept (Danish Energy Agency 2010, p. 17).
Two examples of ESCO projects in Denmark are presented on the website of the Danish Energy Saving Trust: "De Gamles By", launched in 2007 and part of the climate strategy in Copenhagen, and "The Municipality of Gribskov“, which started in 2009 (further information: ).
Public sector programmes
With regard to public buildings, Togeby et al. emphasise that the public sector has not yet been able to step forward; quite the contrary: “A statistical analysis of the energy consumption in 100 public buildings, with a total area of 1 million m2, indicated an increase in energy consumption per area during the period 2000 to 2007 of 4% for heat and 10% for electricity” (Togeby et al. 2011). Nevertheless, there seems to be movement in the public sector; a more active attitude towards energy savings in connection with already planned renovation projects is determinable (Togeby et al. 2011). The Danish Government has also decided that public buildings should lead by example. Therefore all ministries had been required to reduce their energy use in 2011 by 10% compared to 2006 figures; for energy retrofits of state buildings a budget of €50m was provided in 2010 (Danish Energy Agency 2010, p. 17).
An important instrument for improving electricity end-use effciency in public buildings was the Curve Breaker Agreements (see at Voluntary Agreements with commercial or public organisations in the section on the Governance Framework and read more in the bigEE good practice policy example on these).
Funding for research, development and demonstration
The Danish Government has published its long-term vision: all buildings should meet the requirements of ‘plus-energy-houses’ in the future (IEA 2011, pp. 5-6; Aggerholm et al. 2010, p. 9). With regard to its long tradition of buildings standards, the first “Zero Energy House” in Denmark had already been built in 1975 in Lyngby. Today there are a lot of demonstration projects like the “Green Lighthouse” at the University of Copenhagen with its claim to be the first carbon neutral building in Denmark ( ).
Concerning the fact that three quarters of the building stock was built before 1979, a demonstration project on retrofitting is presented here.
Denmark took part in the BRITA in PuBs (Bringing Retrofit Innovation To Applications in Public Buildings) project within the EU Eco-Buildings programme, which started in 2004 and finished in 2008. One example is an old industrial area (Prøvehallen) in an urban district called Valby in Copenhagen, which was completely reshaped, modernised and transformed from an industrial building to a cultural centre: The target was to reduce the energy demand for space heating by 50%, from 132 kWh/m2/year in the reference scenario to 66 kWh/m2/year. The result was even higher than expected: A normalised reduction to 53 kWh/m2/year has been achieved (Thomsen et al. 2009, pp. 4-8).
Further information regarding energy efficiency demonstration projects can be found on the website “State of Green” ( ), where Danish companies, organisations, institutions and public authorities can present their work and ideas.
|Policy roadmap and targets for Ultra-Low-Energy Buildings||Implemented||
Several Action Plans and Targets over the years
|Energy-efficient spatial planning and urban district planning||Implemented||
Several examples at local level
|Voluntary Agreements with commercial or public organisations||Implemented||
Voluntary agreements with companies
Commitment and involvement in the EU, cooperation of Nordic countries
Danish Energy Agency since 1976
|Energy efficiency funds||Implemented||
Danish Energy Savings Trust (formerly Danish Electricity Savings Trust)
|Energy saving obligations for energy companies||Implemented||
Obligation of energy companies to achieve energy savings targets
|Removal/reform of subsidies to end-user energy prices and on energy supply||Not Implemented||
|Energy/CO2 taxation and emissions trading||Implemented||
Taxes on energy use and CO2 emissions EU Emissions trading scheme
|Removal of legal barriers||Implemented||
Cost recovery for programme costs to meet energy savings targets, plus no-profit-no-loss regulation of grid company revenues
|Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS)||Implemented||
Building Regulations, continuously updated
|Other legal requirements||Implemented||
Regular inspections of boilers, ventilation, and air conditioning systems
|Mandatory energy performance certificates & equipment labels||Implemented||
Danish Energy Labelling Scheme, now revised to Energy Performance Certificates Bygningsklasse 2020
|Energy advice & assistance during design and construction||Implemented||
Energy audits, Energy Service Denmark Knowledge Centre for Energy Savings in Buildings
|Energy audits & advice & assistance during retrofit||not implemented||
|Provision of information||Implemented||
Various schemes and voluntary labels
|Financial Incentives for ULEB and deep retrofits||Implemented||
Grants and subsidies by the government and energy companies
|Education & training||Implemented||
Knowledge Centre for Energy Savings in Buildings EU Build Up Skills initiative
|Promotion of energy services for energy savings||Implemented||
Commission on ESCOs
|Funding for research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects||Implemented||
various demonstration programmes for ultra low energy and nearly zero energy buildings and renovations
|Public sector programmes||Implemented||
10 % savings target for government buildings; curve breaker agreements for other public bodies