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

One of the world’s tallest wooden building

One of the world’s tallest wooden building

Sara Cultural Centre – one of the world’s tallest timber building is located in Skellefteå, just below the Artic Circel in the northern Sweden. The building will be housing venues for arts, performance and meetings as well as a hotel.

Smart Living lab in the University district of Umeå

Smart Living lab in the University district of Umeå

Umeå is a fast growing city in Northern Sweden with progressive and environmentally-friendly citizens. Located 600 km north of Stockholm, the 11th largest city in Sweden has a subarctic climate, with short and fairly warm summers, but lengthy and freezing winters. Umeå will continue to grow with ecological, economic and social sustainability. The purpose is to reduce the city’s CO₂ emissions through less energy use and sustainable transports. By developing smart business models and working methods, we will ensure that we will continue to be innovative when we are developing the sustainable city.

Ebbepark- city transformation by testbed setting

Ebbepark- city transformation by testbed setting

Ebbepark is a city district in transformation, that invites partners to develop their solutions to push ahead on the sustainable transformation.

Sustainable Energy-Efficient Renovation Tjärna Ängar

Sustainable Energy-Efficient Renovation Tjärna Ängar

“A model created for careful renovation of public housing based on sustainability as well as ecologically, socially and economically.”


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