Adopted in 2011, Denmark’s “Energy Strategy 2050” includes stringent and ambitious targets that are intended to make considerable cuts in future energy use, with the aim of independence from fossil fuels by 2050.  Within the strategy, it is stated that the building sector will have a key part to play in realising this goal being one of the largest consuming sectors in Denmark, mostly through heating.  Since the 1960s, Denmark has had policies in position targeting renovation of the building stock. Their package of measures range from mandatory building codes for renovation, energy taxes, labelling schemes and energy savings obligations.  Denmark’s building code complements this ambitious Energy Strategy, and has been gradually tightened since its adoption in 1960s.  The intention is for the implementation of progressively rigorous building codes until the zero energy requirement is achieved.

The Policy Tool for Renovation highlights seven key areas where Denmark’s Renovation Policy Package excels: overall country reduction targets, building reduction targets, building code requirements for renovations, labelling schemes, taxation mechanisms, utility-funded energy efficiency programmes and training and education campaigns.

In the early 2000s, Denmark’s residential energy consumption remained constant; however, since 2006 the total consumption, consumption/capita, m2 and in dwellings have all been steadily decreasing. The GDP has generally remained stable, continuing a downward trend steeper than the other indicators, apart from a slight bump in 2008 during the financial crisis.  Population is 5.6 million (Eurostat, 2012).

Regulatory Measures

Overall Targets

Denmark has set a target of a 40 % saving in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2020 relative to 1990 levels. A longer-term target of 100% fossil fuel free heat and electricity production has also been set at the national level. It is anticipated that 50 % of all electricity will be generated from renewable sources by 2020.

More info: Danish Legislation

Renovation Targets for Residential Buildings 

Although there is widespread political support for building renovation in Denmark, no official renovation targets have been set for the residential sector.  Denmark’s overall targets aim to eliminate fossil fuel use by 2050. Given that Denmark plans to be 100% fossil free, the energy sector, including buildings, will have to save a huge share of energy. The target set for new buildings is 75% less energy by 2020 (c.f. base year 2006).  Heating consumption in the building stock should also reduce by approximately 50%.

    Renovation Targets for Public Buildings

    In 2011, all Danish ministries were required to reduce their energy use by 10% compared to 2006 levels. There are no current renovation targets for the public building stock, however, given that Denmark plans to be 100% fossil free the energy sector, public buildings will also have to save a huge share of energy.

    Building Assessment

    Building Code Requirements for Renovations

    The Danish Building Regulations (BR10, last updated in 2010 by the Danish Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs) contain the rules for the renovation. This regulation includes stringent energy performance requirements and applies to both private and commercial buildings. The regulations include performance requirements, performance frame requirements and also component requirements. The 2010 regulation’s requirements are 25% more stringent in terms energy use compared to the 2005 regulations.


    • Roof - 0.1 W/(m2.K)
    • Wall - 0.1 W/(m2.K)
    • Window - 0.1 W/(m2.K)

    Value for airtightness - 1.5 l/sm2 @ 50 Pa.

    Link to code here

    Labelling Scheme

    Denmark has a comprehensive mandatory labelling scheme that predates the requirements of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD). In line with the EPBD, the Danish Energy Performance Certificate scheme requires that all buildings must be labelled before sale or rental. As of the 1st of January 2007, all existing residential and non-residential buildings must be certified when they are sold. A qualified expert must visit the property and make an assessment of the building in terms of the type of construction (walls, windows, insulation, thermal bridges, ventilation and airtightness, etc.), as well as the type and quality of HVAC and hot water systems.  Labels are valid for 10 years unless savings of less than 5%, are found, in which case the validity is reduced to 7 years. The system is controlled by the Danish Energy Authority (Energistyrelsen).

    The market for energy efficient buildings is relatively well established and regulated in Denmark and therefore there is little demand for voluntary labelling schemes. There are, however, a number of specific labelling systems that can be obtained voluntarily. New buildings can be certified to be in compliance with coming building regulation such as 2015 or 2020 targets for new buildings. The low-energy classification Bygningsklasse 2020 was introduced in 2011. It has been voluntary ever since, but will become obligatory in 2020. Buildings with this classification only need half of the energy of buildings to the current standard (Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building 2012, p.)

    More info: Energistyrelsen

    Financial Instruments

    Incentive Schemes

    No incentive programmes are in place for residential buildings although the Danish Government states that they will spend 1 billion Danish crowns (EUR 130 million) in 2013-14 for energy efficiency incentives in existing buildings.

    Taxation Mechanisms

    As a result of the economic crisis and its impact on craftsmen and the construction industry, a fund for energy renovation has been made available in an effort to boost the sector. The renovation fund contains 1.5 billion DKK of subsidizes for private building projects and is supposed to reduce the increasing unemployment rates in the construction sector.

    An income tax deduction (BoligJob-ordning) will be reintroduced in 2013 and 2014, which is estimated to amount to 1.5 billion DKK annually. The scheme will be unchanged and allows tax deductions for home renovation costs up to DKK 15,000 per person annually for renovation services.  As of January 2013, the centre-left government converted the Boligjobordning into a subsidy scheme for energy-saving renovations, removing the subsidy for the cost of purchasing domestic services.  The new scheme was available for all households regardless of age. 

    Energy taxes have been in place in Denmark since 1977. They currently represent a significant amount of the household energy bills. Denmark has one of the highest energy taxes relative to GDP in Europe.  From 1990 to 2009, revenues from “green” taxes increased by 161% from DKK 13.9 billion to DKK 36.4 billion. The household electricity taxes are 0.09 Euro/kWh plus 25% VAT.

    More info: Danish Government Report: Plan for Growth in The Energy and Climate Area

    Economic Instruments

    Utility-Funded Energy Efficiency Programmes

    In Denmark, since 1990, utilities have been providing their customers with energy saving advice and services.  Since 1996 there has been a legal obligation placed on the utilities and the latest 2009 (Utilities' Saving Obligations Agreement requires for utilities to realise 6.1 PJ of saved energy.  Each utility is allowed to decide on the way in which it will accumulate these savings, but the most common ways of doing this is through the provision of consumer advice, and financial incentives.   Each utility must present documentation to prove that they have realised their targets.

    More info: Danish Research Institute: Report on Existing Buildings

    Market Development for Energy Efficient Renovations

    Since the 1970s, many policies and funding efforts have obliged energy companies in Denmark to provide energy services. These include; the foundation of the Danish Energy Agency in 1976, the Danish Electricity Savings Trust (based on the Danish Energy Savings Trust from 1996), the energy saving obligations for electricity, gas and district heating network companies or the energy tax. 

    The existing energy savings obligations of energy distribution grid companies have been tightened. Since 2013 obligations have been increased by 50% and they will be further increased by 75% from 2015-2020.   The reduction target of the obligation is to decrease total primary energy consumption by 7,6 % in 2020 compared to 2010. 

    General Information & Capacity Building

    Training and Education Campaigns

    In 2009, The Danish Building Research Institute opened its Knowledge Centre for Energy Savings in Buildings.  This collects best practices in the building efficiency sector to benefit professionals providing free access to information, technical and construction methods and solutions.

    More info: Danish Building Research Institute

    One Stop Solution Centre

    Overall Performance

    Please see Create Graphs tab above.