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Abstract

Home, green home – This document provides a case study of policies aiming to foster technological innovations for 'green' buildings in the Netherlands. The study aims to provide 1) a detailed overview of the policy framework over the last thirty years, and 2) a picture of the level of innovations related to energy efficiency in buildings in the Netherlands. The analysis shows an intensification of environmental policy in the Dutch building sector in the mid-1990s, followed by a slight decline after 2001. A striking feature of environmental policy in this sector is the large number of policy programs implemented successively for short periods of time. This might affect the stability and continuity of the policy framework and be damaging for innovation. Faced with high levels of uncertainty about future policies, firms may prefer to postpone risky investments in innovative activities. Finally, governmental R&D support for green innovations in general remains very low in the Netherlands. Descriptive data on patenting activities show that Dutch firms file nowadays about 150 patents annually in the field of energy efficiency in buildings. The Netherlands have a clear comparative advantage in the field of energy-saving lighting technologies, mainly due to intensive patenting activities by Philips. High-efficiency boilers also represent a substantial share of Dutch innovation activities in this domain over the last decades. In many other fields (such as insulation, heat-pumps and co-generation, solar boilers, etc), however, Germany, Austria and Scandinavian countries rank much higher than the Netherlands.

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