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Future goals for the Nordic building sector defined in Copenhagen

Participants at Nordic Built Arena working across borders to define common opportunities and challenges
  • Published 02/02/2012
A free zone for testing current building regulations and developing new solutions, a mandatory environmental declaration scheme for building materials, sharing of best practice cases across borders and financial advantages for investing in energy efficient solutions. These are some of the suggestions to what could accelerate the competitiveness of the Nordic building sector.

65 top-leaders from the Nordic building industry participated in Nordic Built Arena, a 30 hour-workshop organized by Nordic Innovation with the objective to accelerate Nordic competitive concepts for energy efficient and sustainable building.


Martin Lidegaard, the Danish minister for climate, energy and building applauded the initiative.


- Politicians can make regulations and incentives but we cannot make things happen in practice. I am looking forward to be presented with ideas and solutions on what the building sector can do to take a move right here and now.


The participants were divided into 7 groups, working out ambitions and actions for specific areas within the building sector: Retrofitting, New Building, Materials, Design, Indoor, Urban Living and Financing. The assignment was to discuss and define common opportunities and challenges and work out ambitions and actions for the Nordic region to be able to position itself as supplier of sustainable building concepts needed in the future.


- The Nordic region has important factors in place to take the world lead in energy efficient and sustainable buildings. Let us use existing synergies and push together for higher ambitions. Let us set new standards and develop competitive concepts that are scalable and market ready. If we shall reach the 2020-goal we need to act now, said Eili Vigestad Berge, Senior innovation adviser at Nordic Innovation.



From Nordic Food to Nordic Built

Claus Meyer, co-owner of Noma and founder of the New Nordic Food movement said that the Nordic building industry can lean a lot from his journey of making Nordic food a success story.


- Creating the best restaurant in the world was never my objective; it was to show the potential of Nordic food. Noma became a project that symbolized the core of the idea. This can be used in the building industry as well.


Other keys to success have been bridging pleasure with sustainability and the concept of win-win-win.


- The first one is about being a role model taking a responsibility that goes way beyond a concrete product. The second is about generosity, to not be afraid of sharing your concepts and ideas. In addition to these two you need a clear goal and strong leaders with high ambitions in front of the movement, he said.



The importance of proof

Jürgen Häpp, Associate partner at Foster & Partners and one of the founders of Masdar City, described the Nordic Built-initiative as one of its kind.


- It is an excellent initiative to gather leaders in the building sector from five countries to accelerate the important issue of sustainable building.


His advice is to create a master plan for setting the framework.


- If you want people to believe in your vision, you need some concrete proof and a clear structure. Improvisation always comes with structure, he said.


After having participated in Nordic Built Arena, Ilari Aho, Vice president of indoor climate business at Uponor, is more convinced than ever that there are enough similarities in the Nordic building sector to work across borders and industries.


- When we all get home, all we have to do is to just pick up the phone and start collaborating. The building sector is a part of the energy problem, and therefore it is clear that it must be a part of the solution as well.


To only mention a few of the participants: IKEA, COWI, ABB, Pöyry, Skanska, Real Dania Fonden, Vahanen Group, Batteriid, Sweco, Sintef, Snøhetta, Veidekke and Fortum.


The Nordic Built programme will be carried out through the execution of at least three modules in the time span 2012-2014. The modules will cover a range of interconnected activities and build on each other.

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