In 2007, the first house in Denmark was built according to the passive house standard. Several thousand of these low-energy buildings had by then already been built in Germany and Austria. Why was the adoption of the passive house concept so delayed when Denmark already had a strong tradition of developing low energy buildings?
In a Transition Management perspective, many of the prerequisites of a sustainable buildings niche were present in Denmark at a much earlier point of time:
- Existing building codes were continuously developed in direction of reducing energy consumption.
- Certain actors had a strong tradition for implementing promising new sustainable solutions
- Institutions and professional networks related to sustainable houses already existed
- Danish companies were internationally renowned for producing key technologies in the passive house sustainable buildings in high quality: insulation, windows, ventilation.
The empirical contribution of the paper is an elaboration of how the above dimensions performed individually in relation to introduction of the passive house standard in Denmark, and how they collectively through their alignment, constituted part of the Danish landscape of the built environment. Theoretically, the paper introduces a discussion on how technical standards can perform at the regime level to promote sustainable transformation. The paper concludes that the eventual success of the passive house standard in Denmark relies on the ability of the standard to redefine and translate key disputes and diverging interpretations of sustainable buildings.