How the EU’s renovation wave can make a big splash in Sweden


    March 31, 2021

    Rob van Brunschot, Signify’s Country & Commercial Leader for Sweden, explains the role lighting retrofits can play in meeting ambitious sustainability targets


    To achieve Europe’s 55% carbon emission reduction target by 2030, the EU should focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment. And luckily, this is planned. Through the renovation wave in the Green Deal, the EU plans to renovate building stock across the bloc.

    Here’s why that’s very good news.

    Increasing renovation rates in the EU


    Buildings consume roughly 40% of Europe’s annual energy budget. 80% of the buildings that exist today will still be standing in 2050, and most of them aren’t very energy efficient. The objective is to at least double the annual energy renovation rate of residential and non-residential buildings and have 35 million building units renovated by 20301.

    Building units renowated
    Furthermore, every €1M spent on renovation generates between 15 and 20 jobs. Put simply, if building renovation rates are raised from 1.5% to 3% per year, the EU’s emission reduction target of 55% by 2030 comes within reach. The goal is to reduce emissions, strengthen digital infrastructure, and create jobs.

    In Sweden, the reduction target for 2030 is to have 63% lower emissions than in 1990, and to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

    We therefore need to focus on how to make our buildings more sustainable by being more energy efficient – and thus less carbon-intensive – over their full lifecycle.

    One of the simplest ways to achieve energy savings is to upgrade lighting to LED or connected lighting.”

    One of the simplest ways to achieve energy savings is to upgrade lighting to LED or connected lighting. It is perhaps the quickest and easiest aspect of a renovation project as there is no need for structural changes to the building and it can be performed without hassle.

    In its simplest form, it is as quick and easy as changing a light bulb. My personal mission is to show the potential of the often-underestimated impact of light.

    The potential in Sweden

    If Sweden were to upgrade all conventional lighting in buildings to LED2, we could save more than 29,000 tons of carbon emissions and more than 2,200 GWh/year3. To put it in perspective: the electricity savings equal to what 263,000 Swedish households consume yearly (about the same as all households in Gothenburg municipality), or the electricity needed to charge more than 660,000 electric cars yearly. This is equal to the amount of carbon absorbed by more than 1.3 million trees. This renovation project alone would create around 16,000 jobs in Sweden.
    LED strip light in Sweden
    If we take a look at a traditional office building in Sweden of 20,000 m2 with 2,000 conventional luminaires and no lighting controls, the building could save around 208,000 kWh per year and have a reduced carbon footprint of 2.8 tons CO2/year, by switching to LED lighting with lighting controls.

    Additional benefits and possibilities


    Renovation is a great way to make a building smarter. A building’s lighting grid can provide the infrastructure for digitalization, with sensors to help optimize the usage and energy efficiency of the building while at the same time creating a better and more productive work environment. So, let´s make sure that renovation isn’t only done with a focus on energy savings, but also with a focus on the wellbeing of employees.

    If we take a closer look at the luminaires, it’s now possible to 3D print them. Compared to those manufactured in a traditional way, a typical 3D-printed luminaire has at least a 47% lower carbon footprint. It also weighs less and is locally produced, which means lower emissions from transportation.

    If Sweden were to upgrade all conventional lighting in buildings to LED, we could save more than 29,000 tons of carbon emissions and more than 2,200 GWh/year.”

    When renovating a building, 3D-printed luminaires can be made to fit the existing cut-out in the ceiling, making the renovation quicker and less intrusive. The 3D-printed luminaires are made from polycarbonate, and at the end of life the material can be shredded and reprinted into a new luminaire, a beautiful example of circularity.
    So, I invite you to join us. Some think it’s scary being a first mover. But for me it’s scary not being one. So, let´s go out and do it.


    2 Education, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Municipal Buildings, Offices (public and private), Warehouses

    3 SE data presented here are a summary of the Signify EU Green Deal conventional light point conversion exercise and should only be considered as a function of SE market figures and the relevant market model. All figures and data presented here are illustrative and based on forecasts and assumptions. These figures are only directional and not to be quoted in formal planning processes. Light point references compiled from Eurostat Data.

    About the author:

    Rob van Brunschot

    Rob van Brunschot


    Signify’s Country & Commercial Leader for Sweden

    For further information, please contact:

    For editorial enquiries:

    Signify Global Integrated Communications
    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals, consumers and the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2023, we had sales of EUR 6.7 billion, approximately 32,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for seven consecutive years and have achieved the EcoVadis Platinum rating for four consecutive years, placing Signify in the top one percent of companies assessed. News from Signify can be found in the Newsroom, on X, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors is located on the Investor Relations page.

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