Nordic reference group for sustainable construction

Nordic highlights on sustainable construction – sprinkled with an EU perspective

Publiceret 28-04-2023

This week representatives from Nordic authorities and organisations gathered to share and discuss the latest developments, ongoing projects, key learnings and next steps on our way towards sustainable construction. We also had visitors from the EU Commission who gave a fresh update on all the topics moving ahead on an EU level.

The Nordic perspective

  • We continue our work on Nordic LCA Harmonisation through creating a joint process for gathering generic data, data for existing buildings, bio based products and vegetation. We are also working to establish a process for setting GHG limit values and following the decarbonisation of the Nordic building stock, and enhancing the digitalisation of LCA and integrating LCA tools with BIM to obtain semi-automatic building LCA.
  • One of the next steps regarding Circular Economy and Procurement will be a playbook on usability, business models and examples on the use of marine based low carbon construction material while researching the environmental impact on the oceans.
  • Based on the knowledge gathering tour on Sustainable Construction Materials and Architecture, learnings and insights were boiled down into four themes:

The material loop

Place based design and architecture

The underrepresented voices in architecture

Onboarding legislation for a generative future

Through articles in trade magazines and roundtable discussions this year, the four themes will continue to challenge the existing Nordic construction and architectural sector and create debate on next practices for a sustainable approach to material use. They will also create the foundation for the Nordic representation at UIA.

  • Key learnings from the recent report on Emission-free Construction Sites are how broad and diverse definitions of constructions sites and their boundaries are, and that waste and transportation are two important emitters on site. At the same time, statistics on the carbon emission from construction sites vary, but a recent Swedish study claims that construction sites are accountable for 17% of the embodied upfront carbon of the construction of a building, when assessing the A modules of the LCA calculation.
  • The project on strengthening students’ hands-on competences within reuse of construction materials is moving along with a mapping of relevant legislation and education materials across the Nordics just around the corner.  Findings will be summarised and available here on our website soom

The European level on the road to sustainable construction

Many initiatives and directives relevant for the transition in the construction sector are currently taking place at an EU level. To ensure that our Nordic collaboration is well aligned with and provide value to what is going on at the EU level, we had the pleasure of getting a fresh update from Policy Officers Philippe Moseley from DG GROW and Brigitte Jacquemont from DG ENER from the EU Commission.

They enlightened us on the European level of sustainable construction through ongoing initiatives as the revision of Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), the Whole Life Carbon Reduction Roadmap, the Construction Products Regulation revision (CPR), the Transition pathway for Construction and the public hearing on the EU taxonomy regarding circularity.


One of the elements which is up for revision in the EPBD buildings is the climate declarations on buildings and limit values which is also a key harmonisation topic amongst the Nordic countries. The CPR lays down EU wide rules for marketing of construction products and integrating sustainability requirements. The CPR revision further seeks to improve functioning of single market for construction products and increase circular practices. The CPR is currently under negotiation under the Swedish chairmanship.

Whole Life Carbon Roadmap

One action under the Renovation Wave was to make a Whole Life Carbon Roadmap for the European building stock. Several studies have been carried out, and initial scenarios have been developed indicating a significant need for further action to reach the EU Green deal goals.

Transition pathway for Construction

To further a green transition of the construction sector, the report ‘Transition pathway for construction’ suggests six different roadmaps covering competitiveness, skills and talent, enabling framework, research, innovation and technology, funding and moving towards a fair and safe built environment.

EU Taxonomy

In the EU taxonomy, the objective is direct investments in sustainable projects. Regarding construction and renovation of buildings it addresses waste treatment, calculation and disclosure of life cycle emissions, design for adaptability and deconstruction, recycled content thresholds and use of electronic tools. Topics which is open for public hearing until the 3rd of May.

If you want to dig into the presentations from the EU Commission, you can find them here