The world’s energy demand has doubled in the last 40 years (International Energy Agency, 2009 ) and the increasing amount of fossil fuel used to meet this demand has had, and is still having, a severe impact on the climate (IPCC, 2007 ). Estimates suggest that, with our present dependence on fossil fuels, we will only have supplies for the next 200 years (Europe’s Energy Portal, 2010). All over the world, there is increasing concern about these issues and most countries are taking steps to reduce both the the amount of energy we consume and our dependence on fossil fuels.
In Europe, buildings account for 40% of all energy consumption (European Commission, 2002). In the European Union, there is a saving potential of 20-50% by refurbishment of existing buildings and, with more stringent regulations, of new buildings (Eichhammer, 2009).