Exploring Experience Curves for the Building Envelope: An Investigation for Switzerland for 1970–2020
Energy efficiency potentials slumbering in the envelopes of existing and newly constructed buildings are significant and still largely untapped. Increasing concerns of policy-makers about non-sustainable energy use and its implications especially on climate change currently spur a growing interest in research in this area. The aim of this paper is to fill part of the existing knowledge gap by focusing on experience curve aspects of energy efficiency measures that concern state-of-the-art insulation methods, materials, and windows, and by studying the usefulness of such experience curves for the building envelope for energy policy design and evaluation. The analysis draws on a recent investigation of the situation in Switzerland (Jakob et al. 2002), but also contains a wider perspective especially regarding some more global technological trends and the market diffusion of innovative energy conservation technologies for the building envelope, policy designs, and policy programmes. The results derived from historical data analysis point to significant techno-economic progress over the last 30 years, and demonstrate the basic applicability, merits and limitations of the experience curve concept for energy policy design and impact analyses concerning the building envelope. We conclude from our analysis that building standards and labels can be important drivers for technoeconomic progress, apart from the energy conservation potentials offered, and that experience curves can be a useful tool for targeted and effective policy measures and for the promotion of labels and standards.
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