Demonstration projects of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings: Lessons from end-user experiences in Amsterdam, Helsingborg, and Lyon

Nicolien van der Grijp*, Frans van der Woerd, Bruno Gaiddon, Reto Hummelshøj, Mia Larsson, Olufolahan Osunmuyiwa, Rudy Rooth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs) have been positioned as a low carbon strategy by the European Union in its Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (Directive 2010/31/EU). Underlying this directive is that the choice of technical options as well as sources of renewable energy may vary across EU countries and building projects. This article aims to compare the outcomes of NZEB demonstration projects in newly built city districts in Amsterdam, Helsingborg, and Lyon, using insights from strategic niche management theory combined with post-occupancy evaluation. More specifically, the analysis focuses on end-user expectations and experiences with living in energy-neutral city districts and homes, identifying lessons learned. A major conclusion is that the NZEB demonstration projects only facilitated single loop learning of end-users but did not provide an impetus for double loop learning. The findings suggest that NZEB projects need to be redesigned to facilitate more active roles of end-users in order to help realising their full potential in terms of increased energy efficiency and social learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Early online date12 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • End-user empowerment
  • Inclusive governance
  • Nearly Zero Energy Buildings
  • Post-occupancy evaluation
  • Social learning
  • Strategic niche management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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