Why energy retrofitting in private dwellings is difficult in Norway: Coordinating the framing practices of government, craftspeople and homeowners

Studio Apertura

​Retrofitting private homes to meet strict energy demands is a prioritised goal in climate mitigation policy. In this article we approach the challenge by analysing how retrofitting is framed differently by the government, homeowners and craftspeople acting as energy consultants. We follow a programme designed to support substantial retrofitting of homes in Norway from its introduction in 2012 through 2016, documenting how the programme was developed and modified to make it attractive for homeowners, and how it somehow never succeeded in becoming attractive.

We suggest framing analysis in order to highlight the challenges government actors face in aligning their policy to homeowners and intermediaries. We find that the governmental framing of energy retrofitting is characterized by a particular distance between a handful of bureaucrats and 2.2 million private homes to be governed; we call this a ‘distance in scale’. Three distinct ‘bridging’ activities are set up to handle this distance. We suggest that difficulties in aligning with the framings of homeowners and intermediaries relates to the dynamic between these bridges. We point out how it is necessary to consider and coordinate the various framings of all stakeholders when implementing energy policy.