Nordic reference group for sustainable construction

23 Nordic stakeholders collaborate on the sustainable transition of the Nordic construction sector

Publiceret 30-11-2022

Yesterday, the work package leaders and government representatives from the Nordic Sustainable Construction programme met online to work towards a Nordic sustainable construction sector. Each work package shared their progress, current issues and future steps, and Marta Lewis, from Henning Larsen Architects, gave an inspirational talk on Unboxing Carbon.

How will we reach the goal of making the Nordic construction sector the most sustainable?

We believe that all the focus areas in the work packages are enabling factors to this transition. To benefit from the knowledge the programme partners create, we regularly unite government representatives from the Nordic countries and our work package leaders at reference group meetings to evaluate and discuss current topics and challenges. Yesterday, all the Nordic countries once again joined in the collaboration towards a sustainable construction sector, and each work package provided an insight into their current status, progress, issues and future steps: 

WP1 – Nordic Harmonisation of Life Cycle Assessment – informed about their main activities in the first half of 2023: launching the Data kick off, LCA learning materials and the acceleration programme, and having a focus on the New European Bauhaus Academy and Festival.

WP 2 – Circular Business models & Procurement – shared their upcoming work focusing on pilot projects on sustainable circular construction planning processes and buildings and on a report summarising the learnings from their workshops on circular business models in the construction industry.

WP 3 – Sustainable Construction Materials and Architecture – shared their main takeaways from their participation in the Nordic Democracy Festivals, New European Bauhaus Festival, Arctic Circle Assembly and COP27. Furthermore, they informed about their activities during 2023 where they will create a policy workshop and participate in UIA 2023.

WP 4 – Emission-Free Construction Sites – informed about their upcoming work focussing on the criteria for defining the boundaries of construction sites and creating an online event for excursions to emission-free construction sites.

WP 5 – Secretariat and Capacity Building activities – shared the status of their capacity buildings activities and their communication platforms where they share knowledge and information about the work packages’ activities and events. Additionally, they pointed to an upcoming task of arranging debate forums throughout 2023.

Unboxing carbon and reassessing the triple bottom line

The reference group meeting also included a presentation from Martha Lewis on the Unboxing Carbon project from Henning Larsen Architects. This project works to convey the urgency of the chemical and climate crises with a focus on embodied carbon, and it aims towards familiarity with and understanding of carbon in materials.

Throughout her presentation, Martha Lewis pointed to several possible solutions from the industry. Some of the key points were a shift from mineral based construction materials to bio-based construction materials. Martha Lewis also called on taking biodiversity into consideration, thinking about the future’s resources and not only reducing carbon emission per square meter but also reducing the amount of new build and their total square meter. 

Furthermore, Martha called for a reassessment of the triple bottom line to provide the planet with a grander focus than people and profit as the current distribution is no longer viable.