Sweden has adopted policies focusing on the environment since the 1960s.  The government has set a stringent national zero-net greenhouse gas emissions target for 2050.  In 2009, Sweden’s ‘Integrated Climate and Energy Policy’ (ICEP) introduced the goal of increasing energy efficiency in buildings by 20% in 2020 and 50% in 2050. Supporting these ambitious targets, Sweden’s building code’s energy requirements are extremely rigorous for both new builds and building renovations. The package of measures supporting energy renovations range from mandatory building codes that target renovation, energy taxes, mandatory and voluntary labelling schemes and education and training schemes.  By 2007, Sweden’s subsidies for renovation measures were abolished due to the fast market uptake of energy efficient materials and design, for this the renovation industry remained strong.

The Policy Tool for Renovation highlights five key areas where Sweden’s Renovation Policy Package excels: overall country reduction targets, building code requirements for renovation, labelling schemes, training and education campaigns and a one-stop solution centre.

Sweden’s residential consumption, consumption/capita, consumption/m2 and consumption/dwelling have all been decreasing throughout the past 10 years as well as the consumption per GDP except from the period between 2007-2009.  Sweden’s population is 9.5 million (Eurostat, 2012).

Regulatory Measures

Overall Targets

The Swedish Government has set a zero-net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target by 2050.

More info: Government website

Renovation Targets for Residential Buildings

Sweden has set a target that 25% of new buildings should be to be zero-energy by 2015.  In 2009, Sweden passed the ‘Integrated Climate and Energy Policy’ (ICEP) (2008/09:163) that introduced a goal to increase energy efficiency by 20% in 2020 and 50% in 2050 (kWh per m2 of heated area).

The ICEP targets are:

  • Dwellings in 2020:  55 -75 kWh/ m2a depending on climate zone (non-electric heating) and 30-50 kWh/ m2a depending on climate zone (electric heating).
  • Other buildings in 2020: 50 -70 kWh/ m2a depending on climate zone (non-electric heating) and 30 -50 kWh/ m2a depending on climate zone (electric heating)

More info: Government website

Renovation Targets for Public Buildings

Sweden’s proposed strategy for 2019 is for all public buildings (new and existing) to be zero-energy and for 2021 all buildings are to be zero-energy.

More info: Government website

Building Assessment

Building Code Requirements for Renovations

In Sweden most buildings are required to meet an overall performance frame, it should be possible to continuously monitor the building’s energy use by a method of measurement. The method ensures that the energy use of the building can be read to enable calculation of the building’s energy use for the desired time period.


  • Roof – 0.40 W/(m2·K)
  • Wall – 0.40 W/(m2·K)
  • Window – 0.40 W/(m2·K)

Air Tightness – 0.61 l/(s.m2) at 50 Pa

Labelling Scheme

An energy certificate (BED 6 – BFS 2013:16) is required by law when a building is sold, rented or built or if the building in question is a large building occupied by public authorities or institutions that supply public services and is therefore often visited by the general public. The certificate must be updated every 10 years. The National Register of Energy Certificates (Griffon) is administered by the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning Act.

A number of voluntary labelling schemes are popular in Sweden that include defined standards both for NZEB, Passivhaus (15-17 W/m2/year, 50-58 kWh/m2/year) and Minienergihus (20-22 W/m2/Year, 70-78 kWh/m2/year) for heating depending on which of the three climate zone the house is located.  The Swedish Program for Passive houses and very low-energy houses supported by the Swedish Energy agency started in 2006. In 2007, the first version of the Swedish Passivhus criteria was launched by the Forum for Energy Efficient Buildings (FEBY). 

More info: FEBY 12 and Sweden Green Building Council

Financial Instruments

Incentive Schemes

A range of subsidies exist in Sweden for funding energy efficiency programmes Since 2000, investment grants for solar heating technology for space heating and domestic hot water production have been available. Since 2005, grants have been offered to convert domestic heating systems. The replacement of oil fired heating systems was eligible for the conversion grants at one point but the focus has now shifted to converting electric resistance heating systems to district heating, heat pumps or biofuel boilers.  In addition, there are grants for installing biofuel-fired boilers at the primary heating system and new windows with a maximum U value of 1.2, provided that the entire window is being replaced. The Climate Investment Programme (Klimp) provides financial support for “local authorities and other parties at local level by making grants available for long-term investments intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

More info: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency Report 

Taxation Mechanisms

The Swedish Government introduced the Repairs, Maintenance or Conversion and Extension Work (ROT, Swedish abbreviation) deduction programme on the 8th of December 2008. Energy-saving measures are provided by ROT that enables them to be deductible. The maximum deduction available is SEK 50 000 (€5,000) per person per annum. The tax deduction can only be claimed for the labour work but not the materials. It is possible to make a tax deduction for up to 50% of the cost of the building work carried out in residential properties.

Energy / Carbon Tax

Sweden has a number of taxes on energy and harmful effluents. A standard energy tax has been in place for years and is levied on most fuels, based on their energy content. In 1990, a carbon dioxide tax was introduced to encourage energy efficiency, renewable energy and to reduce use of fossil fuels. The carbon tax applies the residential, transport and space heating sectors and 96% of revenues come from oil usage.  In order to achieve their national energy saving targets a government bill (Vissa punktskattefrågor med anledning av budgetpropositionen för 2010) increased the carbon tax from 21% to 30% in 2010 and is planned to increase again in 2015 to 60%,

More info: Government website

Economic Instruments

Utility-Funded Energy Efficiency Programmes

There are currently no utility-funded energy efficiency programmes in Sweden.

Market Development for Energy Efficient Renovations

The energy service market in Sweden has grown over the past few years and energy companies have started to provide energy services. The guaranteed savings model being used in Sweden is the EPC model whereby the majority of projects are being undertaken by the public sector. Chauffage or Comfort contracting is growing as a business model in Sweden, especially with municipal companies

More info: Swedish Green Building Council

General Information & Capacity Building

Training and Education Campaigns

The Swedish Energy Agency supports local authorities by training them to provide energy efficiency measures. A number of policy packages are available for the residential including information tools and economic incentives. An interesting measure is the creation of procurement groups that directly address both property owners and tenants to help them to develop options for improving their energy efficiency.

Since 1998, the Swedish Energy Agency has supported a system whereby Local Energy Advisors (LEAs) are established in all of the local governments in Sweden. The LEAs then provide the general public, small companies and organisations with advice and information on energy efficiency and renewable energy. They are supported by Regional Energy Offices (REOs) who provide training and organise information activities. The idea of the LEAs and REOs is that increased awareness should translate into actual investments by households, organisations and companies.

Research and education programmes makeup a major part of Sweden’s energy efficiency efforts. The Swedish Energy Agency is an important funder of research into improving energy efficiency, above all in buildings and industry.

More info: Sustainable Living

One Stop Solution Centre

The Bygga Bo Dialogen was established in 1998. It is a form of co-operation between companies, municipalities, national and local authorities, and the Swedish Government. Their common goal is to ensure a sustainable building and property sector before 2025.  They specifically target the indoor environment, the use of energy, and the use of natural resources. Low energy concepts in both new construction and refurbishments are high on the agenda.

Overall Performance

Please see Create Graphs tab above.