José Luis Mercado Fernández

The Role of Energy Efficiency in the Private Housing Sector - The Case of Santiago de Chile

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Kurzfassung in Englisch

In the international context, this research analyzes the state of the art of scientific discussion, the action exerted by national and local governments through regulations, and the opinion of professionals in the field of construction of buildings in relation to the implementation of energy efficiency measures in buildings. In general, the interest in the different areas has been driven primarily by: 1) the worldwide increased energy consumption in buildings, emphasizes by an increasingly urbanized world and the resource scarcity for power generation, primarily fossil fuels; 2) the increase in greenhouse gas emissions related to the buildings' construction and operation; and 3) the thermal behaviour of the building's envelope, which determines the energy demand for thermal conditioning; mainly for heating in winter and cooling in summer.

The foregoing has resulted in the implementation of different types of energy efficiency measures in the building sector around the world. On the one hand, through mandatory measures, driven by national and local governments through building codes; mandatory measures require that when building a new building or refurbishing an existing one, the architects, private developers, or builders must comply with building standards that govern the thermal performance of the different elements of the buildings' thermal envelope. On the other hand, by implementing voluntary measures, such as international certification systems, established by non-governmental institutions, aimed at legitimizing the efforts of building owners, design teams, and builders to design, build, and operate buildings in an environmentally friendly way. The latter has triggered an international trend and an increasing demand for certification of the so-called "green buildings". Such independent certification systems seek to reduce the environmental impact of activities in the construction sector. In the Chilean context, this research analyzes the relationship between two main pillars of the Chilean economy, the energy sector and the private housing sector. Particularly, this research focuses on the implementation of energy efficiency measures in the private housing market in Santiago, the Chilean capital.

From the energy perspective, the high vulnerability for power generation by the dependence on the provision of gas from neighbouring countries and periods of drought affecting hydroelectric power generation, has led to the Chilean government intervention. Government intervention is centred on two main lines of action: 1) the diversification of the country's energy matrix, through the implementation of alternative systems for power generation based on non-conventional renewable energy sources; and 2) the implementation of energy efficiency measures. In the construction sector, the latter is expressed by the entry into force of the New Thermal Regulations for new residential buildings in three stages in the building code since 2000. With the implementation of new regulations in the construction sector in the Chilean context and the growing demand for green building in the international context, private real estate companies and construction companies, which are the backbone of the construction sector in Chile, have reacted by offering energy efficient real estate products in Santiago de Chile.

Based on the foregoing, arises the main question leading this doctoral thesis: How do real estate developers apply energy efficiency in their housing offer in Santiago de Chile? The main research question is further refined by three sub questions: 1) who are the real estate developers that are adopting energy efficiency and why? This is a compound question, first it seeks to identify real estate companies adopting energy efficiency measures in Santiago de Chile’s private housing market; then it looks into the motivations for doing so; 2) what types of energy efficiency measures are real estate companies adopting? This sub-research question seeks to identify the adopted residential energy efficiency strategies; and 3) which barriers to further implementation of energy efficiency exist? It seeks to identify the setbacks found by energy efficiency adopters in the implementation process, in order to understand local issues in the adoption process.

The Case Study and Selection of Sub-Cases for the Analysis
The research focuses on the voluntary implementation of residential energy efficiency measures in the private housing market; moreover, it analyzes the case of Santiago de Chile. Therefore, the focus is set on real estate companies that offer energy efficient housing in their offer for real estate products in the metropolitan region.

The selection of embedded sub-cases for the analysis, or sub-cases, was made by applying a criterion sampling strategy known as purposive sampling. For this, a thorough review of 568 private real estate companies' websites, offering different real estate products in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago de Chile between June and July 2011, was performed. Out of this group, a set of 45 companies that offering energy efficient homes mentioned were selected. Later on, personal interviews mainly with general managers of real estate development companies and other actors considered key informants because of their knowledge in the field, such as scholars, representatives from public institutions, other public and private research centres, and practitioners, were conducted between April and May 2012.

Main Methods and Data Analysis
Research is conducted under a qualitative approach, as it focuses primarily on the opinion of real estate companies’ CEOs and other key informants considered information rich when helping answering the research questions. The main tool for data analysis was the thematic content analysis.

Main Findings
The main results of this research are structured on the basis of the answering the secondary research questions or sub-questions. Who are the real estate developers that are adopting energy efficiency and why?

As it was mentioned above, the first part of this compound sub-question seeks to identify the real estate companies that are implementing residential energy efficiency measures in their offer in the housing market in Santiago de Chile. A set of 45 real estate companies were identified because they mentioned to be applying some sort of energy efficiency measures. This was a rather small group since, at that time, 568 real estate companies were offering housing products. Based on the empirical findings, a categorization of real estate companies following the Roger’s model was conducted. Thus, real estate companies were categorized depending on when they began adopting residential energy efficiency measures in their housing offer. The three stages of the New Thermal Regulation issued for the housing sector in Chile were selected as time-milestones for defining the adopter categories. Accordingly, three main categories emerged following Roger’s model. 1) Innovators, includes real estate companies who adopted energy efficiency measures for the first time before the entry into force of the first stage of the NRT in 2000; 2) Early Adopters, groups real estate companies who adopted residential energy efficiency measures for the first time between the first and second stage of the New Thermal Regulation, that is to say between 2001 and 2007; and 3) Early Majority, includes real estate companies who began to apply residential energy efficiency measures starting in 2008, meaning after the second stage of New Thermal Regulation came into force. The empirical evidence suggests that the adoption process of energy efficiency measures has started following the normal development described by Rogers' innovation curve.

Therefore, it is expected that the rest of the real estate developers operating in the private housing market in Santiago de Chile will eventually follow the Innovators, Early Adopters, and Early Majority categories. This is mainly due to the recent introduction of thermal regulation by the government and because the housing market is a highly competitive market, in which none of the players can risk to be left behind.

The second part of the sub-research question, and probably the most important one, seeks to understand the motivations for real estate companies to offer and implement energy-efficient real estate products in Santiago de Chile’s private housing market. This research identifies the motivations of real estate development companies in the opinion of their managers collected in personal semi-structured interviews conducted during fieldwork. Based on the thematic analysis of the abovementioned interviews, four categories of motivations for offering and applying energy efficiency were identified based on the company managers’ opinion. These categories, in order of preference are: 1) Market Differentiation Strategies (Competitiveness and Trending); 2) Company Policies (Client-Oriented Policies, Innovation Policies, and Environmentally-friendly Policies); 3) Resource efficiency (Reduction of Household\'s Expenses and Concerns for Energy Scarcity); and 4) Government Incentive Schemes (Subsidies to the Use of Renewable Energy).

Briefly, the main motivations for adopting energy efficiency measures in the private housing offer are related to marketing strategies. In general, real estate companies operating in Santiago de Chile are looking to distinguish themselves from their competitors by offering energy-efficient housing products. This is mainly because real estate companies are following a trend that is driven by several factors such as: local energy shortage periods, the international influence of green buildings in the real estate market, and the growing demand for international certifications in the Chilean context.

What types of energy efficiency measures are real estate companies adopting?
As mentioned earlier, this research identifies real estate companies offering energy-efficient housing in the private real estate market of Santiago de Chile who implemented a diversity of energy efficiency strategies in their housing supply, as the empirical evidence shows. Although the motivations for implementing energy efficiency measures are diverse (as described previously), energy efficiency measures are mainly implemented in order to reach a comfort temperature inside the dwelling, making all possible efforts to ensure that energy is used efficiently. In the case of the residential buildings, this means looking for the optimal use of energy for space heating or cooling, lighting, hot sanitary water, and ventilation.

In general, depending on whether there is the need to make an additional energy effort in order to achieve optimum indoor comfort conditions, the energy efficiency measures implemented in the private housing sector in Santiago de Chile can be grouped into two main categories of energy efficiency strategies: passive design strategies and active design strategies.

On the one hand, passive design strategies refer to what real estate developers are doing to reduce the energy consumption of their housing buildings. Such strategies include: 1) improving the overall thermal performance of the building envelope; 2) the use of renewable energy, mainly solar thermal and photovoltaic technology, for hot sanitary water and energy conversion respectively; and 3) bioclimatic design and construction principles. As it was mentioned in Section 6.1, a basic characteristic of passive design strategies, distinguishing them from active design strategies, is that in order to operate they rely on the building site and the inherited thermal properties of the building materials used in the different housing building typologies.

On the other hand, active design strategies refer to the technological innovations implemented in order to maintain an optimal indoor thermal conditioning and to reduce the energy used in the different buildings’ systems; namely, 1) illumination systems; 2) heating systems; 3) centralized control systems; and 4) air conditioning systems. In general, real estate developers adopted active design strategies as a complement to the use of passive design strategies.

Not surprisingly, real estate developers have mentioned the improvement of the thermal envelope as the most commonly used residential energy efficiency strategy. This results from the fact that internationally and in Chile, regulations in the housing sector were implemented in order to improve the thermal behaviour of dwellings, and therefore, their energy efficiency.

Finally, a third type of energy efficiency strategy adopted by real estate developers in Santiago de Chile is the result of a public-private partnership between the Chilean Government and the Chilectra, the local electricity utility. The initiative is called “Chilectra – Full Electric Buildings” and it offers an optional electrical energy tariff for residential consumers. This strategy is further explained in Section 6.3.

Which barriers to further implementation of energy efficiency exist?
Based on the opinion of the various key stakeholder involved in this research, this research shows that most barriers to energy efficiency in the private housing sector in Santiago de Chile interact and strengthen each other. The classification of barriers to further implementation of energy efficiency is not straightforward. Nonetheless, in the opinion of real estate companies’ managers, the barriers to adopting energy efficiency measures in the private housing market in Santiago de Chile revolve around the specific characteristics of the local social system. These barriers are: 1) market barriers; 2) organizational barriers; 3) institutional barriers; and 4) behavioural barriers.

In relation to the categorization of energy efficiency adopters identified in the first sub-question, the empirical evidence seems to indicate that, not all the barriers play the same role for all adopter categories. In general, market barriers are most relevant to the innovators group. Although most of the real estate developers mentioned that even today the local market and the local construction industry are not ready to provide adequate support (both in the availability of products and services) for further development of the market for energy efficient construction, the deficiency was greater 20 years ago, when the innovators first started to implement residential energy efficiency measures in the private housing sector. Moreover, the other barriers encountered (namely organizational and institutional barriers) are transversal to the adopter categories. This seems to drawn from the organizational and institutional characteristics of the context in which private real estate companies operate. The context remains constant over time and their internal relationships are also maintained, homogeneously affecting all adopter categories. Finally, barriers related to end users and/or clients’ behaviour are mainly listed by early majority adopters, which comprises developers who implement residential energy efficiency measures recently (after 2000). Apparently, this results mainly from the fact that end user are lacking information about the benefits (general and local) to be gained from implementing residential energy efficiency measures.

weitere Metadaten

übersetzter Titel
(Spanisch)
El Rol de la Eficiencia Energética Residencial en el Sector Privado - El Caso de Santiago de Chile
Schlagwörter
(Deutsch)
Energieeffizienz, Privaten Wohnungsbau, Immobilienmärkten, Santiago de Chile
Schlagwörter
(Englisch)
Residential Energy Efficiency, Private Hosing Sector, Realestate Market, Santiago de Chile
Schlagwörter
(Spanisch)
Eficiencia Energética Residencial, Mercado Inmobiliario de Viviendas, Santiago de Chile
DDC Klassifikation720
RVK KlassifikationZH 4989
Institution(en) 
HochschuleTechnische Universität Dresden
FakultätFakultät Umweltwissenschaften
Betreuer Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Bernhard Müller
GutachterProf. Dr. Waldo Bustamante
Prof. Clemens Deilmann
DokumententypDissertation
SpracheEnglisch
Tag d. Einreichung (bei der Fakultät)13.10.2014
Tag d. Verteidigung / Kolloquiums / Prüfung18.02.2015
Veröffentlichungsdatum (online)22.10.2015
persistente URNurn:nbn:de:bsz:14-qucosa-183384
InhaltsverzeichnisAcknowledgements ... p.5
Abstract ... p.7
Contents ... p.13
List of Figures... p.17
List of Tables ... p.19
List of Abbreviations ... p.21
1 Introduction ... p.27
1.1 Problem Statement ... p.27
1.2 Rationale and Aims of the Research ... p.31
1.3 Thesis Structure ... p.34
2 The Construction Sector at the Heart of the Chile\'s Energy Challenges ... p.37
2.1 The Chilean Construction Sector ... p.37
2.1.1 Background and Regulatory Framework ... p.38
2.1.2 Local Supply for Construction Services ... p.41
2.1.3 Demand for Construction Services ... p.47
2.2 The Private Housing Market in Santiago de Chile ... p.50
2.2.1 Characterisation of the Housing Demand ... p.51
2.2.2 Local Land Market and Housing Market Dynamics ... p.60
2.2.3 The Role of the State ... p.61
2.3 Chile’s Energy Challenge ... p.64
2.4 Raising Questions ... p.69
3 Research Design and Methods ... p.73
3.1 Research Design ... p.73
3.2 Sampling and Sub-cases Selection ... p.76
3.3 Primary Data Collection ... p.81
3.4 Data Analysis ... p.88
3.4.1 Transcription ... p.88
3.4.2 Interview Analysis ... p.90
3.4.3 Document Analysis ... p.93
3.5 Identification of Key Stakeholders and Interview Partners ... p.96
4 Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential Buildings ... p.99
4.1 Defining Energy Efficiency – The Wider Context ... p.100
4.2 Government-initiated Instruments – Building Codes and Energy Standards ... p.103
4.2.1 Regulatory Instruments ... p.104
4.2.2 Types of Regulations ... p.109
4.2.3 Thermal Zoning ... p.113
4.2.4 Information Instruments ... p.115
4.2.5 Economic Incentive Schemes ... p.121
4.2.6 Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems ... p.123
4.2.7 Renewable Energy ... p.125
4.3 Voluntary Instruments – Beyond the Building Codes ... p.128
4.3.1 The Shift Towards Green Buildings ... p.128
4.3.2 Green Building Certification Systems ... p.131
4.4 Regulatory Instruments in the Chilean Context ... p.148
4.4.1 Energy Efficiency in the National Energy Policy Making ... p.148
4.4.2 The Institutional Framework ... p.151
4.4.3 Energy Efficiency Standards in the Chilean Housing Sector ... p.155
4.5 Voluntary Instruments in Santiago de Chile ... p.161
4.5.1 Existing Certification Schemes ... p.161
4.5.2 Public-private Partnership ... p.164
4.6 Why Would Real Estate Companies Act Green? ... p.166
5 The Adoption of Energy Efficiency in the Private Housing Market in Santiago de Chile ... p.171
5.1 Energy Efficiency Adopters in the Private Housing Market ... p.172
5.1.1 Innovators ... p.174
5.1.2 Early Adopters ... p.175
5.2 Motivations for Applying Residential Energy Efficiency Measures ... p.179
5.2.1 Market Differentiation Strategies ... p.180
5.2.2 Company Policies ... p.182
5.2.3 Resource Efficiency ... p.186
5.2.4 Government Incentive Schemes ... p.191
6 Existing Residential Energy Efficiency Strategies ... p.195
6.1 Passive Design Strategies ... p.196
6.2 Active Design Strategies ... p.208
6.3 Public-Private Partnership ... p.212
7 Barriers to Implementing Residential Energy Efficiency Strategies ... p.217
7.1 Market Barriers ... p.218
7.2 Organizational Barriers ... p.226
7.3 Institutional Barriers ... p.229
7.4 Behavioural Barriers ... p.231
7.5 Central Challenges for the Adoption of Energy Efficiency ... p.235
8 Discussion of the Results and Implications ... p.239
8.1 Summary of Findings ... p.239
8.2 Discussion and Implications ... p.245
8.3 Recommendations ... p.250
8.4 Further Research ... p.257
References ... p.261
Annex ... p.279

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