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Deep renovation of single family houses in Norway. Mapping of the most ambitious projects and lessons learned in them


This abstract is based on work carried out in the EU project COHERENO, Collaboration for housing nearly zero energy renovation within the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme.

As much as 80% of the Norwegian population live in single family houses, chained houses or duplex houses. The single family house is by far the most common type, accommodating 60% of the population. Most of them were built after the Second World War and the majority in 1960-1990. These buildings are now ready for main retrofitting and large energy saving potentials can be realised if ambitions are high enough. The small house building typology accounts for 85% of the dwelling stocks energy use in Norway.

A set of harmonised criteria and a "tracking radar" were developed to track and map the most ambitiously retrofitted single family houses in Norway. Following these criteria a list of projects with belonging house owners, consultants and entrepreneurs was compiled. Telephone interviews were performed with 20 house owners. Three projects were visited and interviews carried out with the house owners and an energy consultant. The main research questions discussed in this paper are: What kind of retrofitting is taking place in the most ambitiously retrofitted single family houses in Norway? What is the experience of the involved house owners and professionals?

The mapping shows that there are just over 20 single family homes in Norway built in the period 1950-1990 that have received an energy label of A or B.
Findings show that entrepreneurs often acted as consultants for house owners, however in terms of knowledge on energy efficient retrofitting on a high ambition level, house owners were often ahead of the professionals. The success of ambitious renovation in the projects studied relied on the house owner's self-interest in the field.
Comprehensive changes of the existing building were necessary in many of the projects studied, requiring temporary accommodation during intervention. In addition, a great share of do-it-yourself effort was put into the projects by the house owners.
The main barriers for ambitious retrofitting were identified as; lack of interest and knowledge amongst actors influencing house owners in the planning process, lack of user-friendly and impartial channels guiding house owners through the renovation phases, and finding the right actors, products, funding and inspiration for possibilities in design.


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper




  • Silje Strøm Solberg
  • Tommy Kleiven


  • SINTEF Community / Architecture, Materials and Structures






World Sustainable Building 2014 Conference, 28-30 Oct., Barcelona



View this publication at Cristin