IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

6.7 Barriers to adopting building technologies and practices that reduce GHG emissions

The previous sections have shown the significant cost-effective potential for CO2 mitigation through energy efficiency in buildings. The question often arises: If these represent profitable investment opportunities, or energy cost savings foregone by households and businesses, why are these opportunities not pursued? If there are profits to be made, why do markets not capture these potentials?

Certain characteristics of markets, technologies and end-users can inhibit rational, energy-saving choices in building design, construction and operation, as well as in the purchase and use of appliances. The Carbon Trust (2005) suggests a classification of these barriers into four main categories: financial costs/benefits; hidden costs/benefits; real market failures; and behavioural/organizational non-optimalities. Table 6.5 gives characteristic examples of barriers that fall into these four main categories. The most important among them that pertain to buildings are discussed below in further detail.