Governance, technology and equity: an integrated policy framework for energy efficient housing
Transforming the housing stock to a low energy performance is a key priority in the context of sustainable development and a post-carbon transition. However, in terms of its practical implementation it, firstly, faces a number of complex institutional barriers, while, secondly, involves a risk of being dominated by a narrow technocratic agenda for energy/carbon reduction that may overtake the socially progressive pursuits of housing policy. Energy efficiency strategies for the residential sector must, therefore, be multidimensional, fully synergised with housing policy, and incorporating the principles of equity, access and a balanced geographical development. This paper discusses a strategic policy framework, which was designed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to address those important needs in international policy. The document – Action Plan for Energy-efficient Housing in the UNECE Region – outlines a number of goals, targets and actions structured at three dimensions: (i) governance and finance, (ii) technological advancement, and (iii) access and affordability. The Action Plan provides a comprehensive and integrated framework, based on which governments can shape their own pathways towards a sustainable low-energy residential sector.