A qualitative evaluation of policy instruments used to improve energy performance of existing private dwellings in the Netherlands


  • Lorraine Colette Murphy TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Frits Meijer TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Henk Visscher TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment


energy performance, dwellings, energy policy


Climate change policies in the Netherlands recognise the importance of existing dwellings. Efforts to gain these energy savings are led at national level by policy instruments such as the Energy Performance Certificate, covenants, economic and information tools. These instruments reflect a policy style described as consensus based and incentivising. However, this approach has been subject to criticism with suggestions that alternatives are required. As a first step towards conceptualising alternatives previous evaluations and stakeholder interviews are used to assess instruments. Elements from the theory based evaluation method combined with concepts from policy instrument and energy policy literature form an evaluation framework. Results demonstrate weak impact of some key instruments. Underlying theories associated with instruments are often lost during implementation or remain unsubstantiated. Policy instrument and energy policy concepts are evident but are far from pervasive. Results show that current instruments are poorly equipped to forge a long-term energy saving strategy for existing dwellings. It is further demonstrated that complexity with existing dwellings is not only limited to frequently cited barriers but to the intricacies of designing and operating a well-orchestrated instrument mix.