The Nordic countries have joint ambition for creating a sustainable and competitive construction- and building sector. In sustainable construction, it is essential to look at solutions for the entire life cycle of a building, its materials and for all aspects of responsibility. It must include aspects ranging from the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency to considering water use, pollution, and waste reduction measures.
The Sustainable Construction program is based on five work packages. The five work packages are all part of the Nordic Sustainable Construction project, which is coordinated by the Danish Housing and Planning Authority.
The project partners behind the Nordic Sustainable Construction project are in charge of four work packages and Nordic Innovation is in charge of one work package.
The following work packages are run by the Nordic Sustainable Construction project group.
Nordic Harmonization of life cycle management
This work package is concerned with harmonizing Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) across the Nordics so that design and construction companies will be able to offer low carbon solutions in all the Nordic countries.
Sustainable construction materials and architecture
The aim of this work package is to function as a change agent that challenges the existing Nordic construction and architectural industry and identifies barriers and opportunities for efficient implementation, and debate practices for sustainable construction materials.
Emission-free construction sites
This work package aims to support a transition to emission free construction sites through policymaking and through building the required competency and capacity in the building sector. Currently, none of the Nordic countries have set normative criteria for emission-free construction sites and the Nordics thus have a unique opportunity to harmonize regulations and guidelines.
Capacity building within reuse of construction materials and international collaborations
This work package is responsible for the overall external and internal communication of the knowledge created in the project. This work package will also lead the capacity-building efforts across the Nordic countries to support selected parts of the construction value chain in gaining the skills needed to increase the reuse of building materials in the Nordic region.
The following work package is run by Nordic Innovation.
Circular Business Models and Procurement
This work package aims to integrate circular thinking into the business models of the Nordic construction companies and their value chains to support the overall goal of minimizing the environmental and climate impact in the Nordic construction industry while still maintaining their competitiveness.
The construction and real estate sector accounts for a significant part of society's environmental and climate impact. Reducing the climate impact of the construction and real estate sector and switching to sustainable construction is crucial to reaching the Paris Agreement.
Environmental measures in the construction and real estate sector have traditionally focused on energy efficiency measures to limit the climate impact during the operation and use of buildings, but an increasing part of a building's environmental and climate impact arises during the construction process, especially during material production.
Therefore, consideration of a life cycle perspectives and development of a more circular construction has become increasingly important for the sector in transition towards sustainability. To promote more circular construction, it is important to consider the whole value chain. At the same time, digitalization is an important prerequisite for being able to realize the sector's adjustment.
The program is one of eight initiatives lunched by the five Nordic ministers of trade and industry. The initiatives represent a determined advance towards a stronger and more sustainable Nordic region and support the vision for the Nordic region to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030.
The target of the Nordic region taking a leading position in sustainable and competitive construction- and building sector comes with an ambition for reducing environment- and climate effect. Important aspects to reach the target is to work with procurement and requirements for the construction of a sustainable building. To support the targets, it is also important to engage the whole value chain and promote new and innovative solutions and business models as well as market opportunities for sustainable solutions.
The Nordic countries will not achieve transformative change by acting alone. A Nordic approach to a sustainable construction will support and contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the 2030 Agenda and work to strengthen the ambitions of EU Green Deal. It will also allow for ecosystem partners to take part in the Horizon Europe missions.