Inderscience Publishers

Innovation networks in the refurbishment sector of Austria: promising approaches waiting for market success

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In Austria, the highest potential for sustainable refurbishment is within the sector of single-family houses, which were built between 1945 and 1980. According to estimates, two-thirds of all the possible investments can be assigned to this category. However, there are only a few ambitious models on the supply side, which combine the efficient information and mobilisation of users with a comprehensive technical and ecological offer. Two of these rare examples will be discussed in this paper. Both models have been operating at a local level for the promotion of sustainable refurbishment for several years. The studied examples are characterised by network structures that are constituted by heterogeneous local social players who aim at quality assurance to enable attractive offers for homeowners. Centrally coordinated units manage both network models. In addition to the management of networks, these units try to fulfil several other functions: public relations, training seminars, strategic development, advisory services for end users and the implementation of refurbishment measures. Based on a comprehensive analysis and documentation of both models, we will present a critical evaluation of the network activities. It becomes clear that both examples face two major challenges: internally, to cover and productively manage a wide range of different functions in order to stimulate necessary innovations and externally, to influence the sociopolitical framework conditions to increase the demand for noticeable sustainable refurbishment.

Keywords: sustainable refurbishment, innovation networks, network management, Austria, evaluation, sustainability, sustainable development, quality assurance, QA, residential buildings, building refurbishment, private housing

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