In the Nordic countries, housing is one of society's greatest users of resources. Making housing more sustainable will call for changes in buildings, management routines and residents' habits, each having its possibilities as well as a built in resistance against change. Households might play a key role in this change, directly as consumers, but also indirectly and jointly as pressure groups towards real estate owners, managers and local society. Making housing more sustainable can be seen as society's 'sustainability challenge' to the housing consumers. In this paper, the extent of this challenge is discussed for the households of the Nordic countries, for different types of ownership and building etc. Its realization is seen in a ten-year perspective and in relation to the acquisition, maintenance, operation and use of the dwellings. Preliminary results indicate that a move to a new dwelling will give the household an opportunity to influence many aspects of its environmental impacts, but that moving will have little direct effect on the environmental performance of the built environment as a whole. Furthermore, that the activities of daily living have a potential for improvement without the inertia of reconstructing the building stock. In the end, however, co-operation between households and other stakeholders of the building sector is often a prerequisite for change.
2002. Vol. 10, no 1, 51-62 p.