From visions to action in the Nordic building industry

On 2-3 May key players from across the Nordic building industry convened at the Nordic Built Arena II in Stockholm to develop common Nordic concepts for sustainable and energy efficient construction - using the Nordic Built Charter as a platform.
Published 08/05/2013 | Last updated 08/05/2013

Click here to see and download pictures from the Nordic Built Arena II


Click here to see and download presentations and illustrations



The objective of the Nordic Built Arena II was to stimulate innovative solutions for sustainable and energy efficient building – and, ultimately, create new business opportunities for the Nordic building industry.


Among the developed concepts were an industrial fund for testing sustainable building materials, innovative pilot projects and a new business model for renting office space.


- We are ready to take the step forward and just do it, said Lennart Lifvenhjelm, energy expert at Vasakronan.


Enthusiastic minister
After two days of intense work, the participants presented their concepts to Martin Lidegaard, Danish minister for climate, energy and building, who expressed great enthusiasm.


- I will bring your ideas home with me and present them to my ministerial colleagues in Denmark, and hopefully in the other Nordic countries as well.


Minister Lidegaard also gave a presentation at the Arena in which he stressed that we, in order to overcome grand challenges such as climate change and the increasing need for energy, must take the best from the private and public sector and from the civil society – and join forces to take sustainable building to the next level, without waiting for the rest of the world to act.


- All public buildings should be built using the Nordic Built Charter as a platform, he concluded.



From Charter to Action
The Nordic Built Charter was created one year ago when representatives from the building industry attended the first Nordic Built Arena in Copenhagen, and together developed a document with common Nordic values, ambitions and aspirations for sustainable building. Around 130 companies, organizations and municipalities have so far signed the Nordic Built Charter, and thus committed to following its 10 principles.


On this second Nordic Built Arena, it was time to take a step forward from vision to action. Trine Pertou Mach, senior innovation advisor at Nordic Innovation and the project manager for Nordic Built, underlined that the signees of Nordic Built Charter are the core of Nordic Built.


- The large interest for signing the Charter shows that we are on the right track.


General Electric signed the Nordic Built Charter in February 2013, with the main objective to extend their network of like-minded partners.


- I applaud this initiative to gather players from different countries and different parts of the industry and make them talk to each other, and hope to see a continuation of Nordic Built, said Fredrik Åkesson, strategic account manager at GE.


"What we sow today, we reap tomorrow"
Dagfinn Høybråten, secretary general of the Nordic Council of Ministers, stressed that we through an increased Nordic cooperation can take sustainable construction to a higher level.


- The Nordic model is about the five countries uniting around the things we have in common. We are all small economies, but together we become stronger.


Høybråten emphasized that the participants of the Nordic Built Arena II should see it as their task to prove that sustainability is more than just a trendy word, and that it actually can lead to concrete results.


- It's about realizing that what we sow today, we reap tomorrow.


Innovation is the key
One of the inspiring speakers at the Nordic Built Arena II was Adrian Wooldridge, editor at The Economist and author of the much discussed article Northern Lights. He explained that he was not particularly enthusiastic when he was told to write an article about the Nordic region.


- My first reaction was that I much rather would have liked to go to Indonesia or any other exciting emerging market.


He admitted nevertheless that it did not take long before he changed his mind. He said that he is deeply impressed by the Nordic model, which he calls a political and social revolution.


- In the Nordic countries the focus is on efficiency rather than ideology, and you top many desirable statistics. But for that to stay the same in the future you have to keep reinventing yourselves, and innovation is the key, he stressed.



Funding for Nordic projects
Nordic Innovation and national partners have launched a Nordic funding programme with up to NOK 130 million available for innovation, R&D and demonstration projects within sustainable retrofitting of the existing building stock. Nordic Innovation is very keen on seeing the concepts of the Nordic Built Arena II materialize, but welcome applicants from across the Nordic building industry.


- We want to contribute to turning many visions into action, says Trine Pertou Mach.



Click here to see and download pictures from the Nordic Built Arena II


Click here to see and download presentations and illustrations