Scaling-up energy conservation initiatives: Barriers and local strategies

D. van Doren*, M. Giezen, P.P.J. Driessen, H.A.C. Runhaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Energy conservation in residential and commercial buildings is considered a key challenge and opportunity for low-carbon urban development. In cities worldwide, energy conservation initiatives have been realized that demonstrate the social, financial, and environmental benefits that energy conservation can generate. However, in order to accomplish international goals pertaining to climate mitigation, these initiatives need to go to scale and reach a greater and broader audience. To accelerate the scaling-up of such initiatives, an in-depth understanding of barriers hampering this process and local strategies that can be applied to address these barriers is required. While scholars and practitioners underline the importance of local solutions to the global problem of climate change, little is known about strategies that can be applied at the local level to overcome barriers. This paper has three general findings that can make a valuable contribution to theory and practice on urban climate governance. First, it sketches the context-specificity of barriers to scaling-up energy conservation initiatives and reflects on similarities and differences in barriers to energy conservation in residential and commercial building stocks in two European cities: Utrecht and Valencia. Second, this paper presents several local strategies that can be applied to overcome barriers, thereby improving our understanding of the relation between barriers and solutions. Finally, the findings of the paper suggest that while many barriers have national or international origins, the local environment appears to be a promising scale to address barriers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-239
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Barriers
  • Energy conservation initiatives
  • Local strategies
  • Low-carbon
  • Scaling-up

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