Buildings consume around 40 % of the total energy production in the European Union. As the building sector is expanding every year, it will increase its associated footprint in terms of energy consumption. To limit the energy dependency and associated emissions, smarter and more sustainable solutions for the building sector are essential and must be prioritized by both public and private sectors.

Sweden is known for its well-developed cooperation between stakeholders in the building sector and public sector actors such as the Swedish Energy Agency and the research community. More specifically, this has occurred through networks for residential and commercial property owners. The collaboration has resulted in an effective method termed technology procurement that promotes innovations and allows for technology diffusion that encourage energy efficiency. The goal of every technology procurement is that it results in actual order of the developed products. This process-oriented working method normally consists of the following steps:

  • A pilot study
  • Creation of an expert group of client organizations who develop a clear technical specification that meets their requirements
  • Procurement and tendering
  • Evaluation of tender offers
  • The naming of a winner
  • Diffusion of the new technology among stakeholders

Since the start of these networks 30 years ago, they have played an important role in adopting new standards for energy efficiency in products such as combined freezer/cooler-refrigerators and water taps to name a few.

Although Sweden has come a long way in developing innovative and sustainable products, the essence of the Swedish way of working with sustainability is not on the product level, but on the system level. As the understanding of energy efficiency and sustainability has evolved, the focus of sustainability has shifted from products to looking at sustainability from a more holistic point of view. Seen in this context, the efforts towards making the building sector sustainable and efficient is shifting – from making individual buildings sustainable to a systematic approach that aims to make a more sustainable built environment. 

1948: Sweden’s first district heating system was taken into operation in Karlstad.

1965-1974: Approximately one million housing units were built to meet the growing demand for housing in Sweden.

1973: The global oil crises led to multiple policies aiming to reduce the oil dependency.

1989: The network for residential property owners BeBo was established by the Swedish Energy Agency.

1990: The first model of the so-called technology procurement for specific technical challenges in buildings was implemented.

2001: Sweden’s first passive house was built.

2017: Near-zero energy regulations were introduced in the Swedish Housing Agency’s building regulations which pushed the development of passive housing and promotes the use of renewable energy.

Sweden can offer a variety of places suitable for site visits that showcase smart and sustainable building solutions. One of the most well-known examples is Hammarby Sjöstad, which has been a forerunner in terms of sustainability and systems thinking since the early 2000s. See list below for more possible site visits:

Sweden can offer a variety of places suitable for site visits that showcase smart and sustainable building solutions. One of the most well-known examples is Hammarby Sjöstad, which has been a forerunner in terms of sustainability and systems thinking since the early 2000s. See list below for more possible site visits:

 


Related Best Practices

Sustainable energy efficient renovation Tjärna Ängar

Renovation of a million program houses together with Högskolan Dalarna and Tunabyggen in a way that is better for the environment, better for the residents and cost-effective so that they can maintain a high renovation rate.
“A model is created for gentle renovation of public housing based on sustainability, both ecologically and socially and economically.”

A Working Lab – Akademiska Hus

Akademiska Hus is now broadening its offering of services by launching a national concept for co-working, makerspace, short contracts, learning lab and other flexible meeting places.

KTH Live-In Lab – Testbeds for Accelerated Innovation

KTH Live-In Lab offers something as unique as a full-scale test beds, ranging from apartments, education building, hotel, changeable interior design and infrastructure, database for user and property data, and a very valuable collaboration platform.

Vallastaden – a city district planned for and by its residents

As a city district, Vallastaden is unique in itself. Nearly 1000 residences have been built by 40 different developers – all in record time. The result is a vibrant urban district centered around its residents.


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