A transition to a more efficient heat energy system requires the consideration of drivers covering behavioural change, upgrades of the building stock and substitution or improvements in technologies in use. Sweden has set the target to reduce total energy demand per heated area in buildings by 50% by 2050 compared to 1995.

This study aims to estimate the potential for reducing heat energy demand in the Swedish residential building stock taking into account behavioural, structural and technological categories of drivers. A combination of bottom-up energy modelling with scenario methodology informed by socio-technical analysis of barriers was used.

The results show that the target can be achieved by combining at least two of the categories of drivers. However, it is noteworthy that the technological category, which has by far the lowest level of barriers, almost reaches the target largely owing to the high impact for single-family houses, showing the crucial role of changes in the technology mix. However, as the same drivers have different demand reduction potential in the two main building types in Sweden, single and multi-family houses, this calls for policymakers to lead on initiatives that foster a combination of technological, behavioural and structural improvements for the latter.