Round Table for Circularity Workshop

Icelandic construction sector going circular

Publiceret 07-02-2023

On 19th January, stakeholders of the Icelandic construction sector participated in a Round Table for Circularity workshop to discuss the transition towards circularity and sustainability – a pressing matter with urgent need for change in the eyes of the participants.

In Iceland the year started, not only with a lot of ice, but with the Icelandic construction sector gathering to discuss how to improve the sustainability and circularity of their sector. Here, the entire construction value chain was represented by engineers, architects, real estate agencies and the Icelandic government, who all want and need to work together to implement circularity. 

The participants received an overview on the ways the Nordic countries are collaborating on the green transition of the construction sector and recent examples of sustainable construction projects in Iceland. Helle Redder Momsen also introduced Nordic Sustainable Construction’s work on moving towards circularity across the Nordic construction sector.

A green construction roadmap with 74 actions to keep momentum

At the event, it was clear that the Icelandic construction sector is moving fast and on the right track towards sustainability, for instance through the roadmap to sustainable construction, which was launched in June 2022 and is available in English here. This roadmap informs about emission and waste from the Icelandic construction sector and sets goals for 2023 as well as 74 actions to reach these goals of a greener construction industry.

The Icelandic construction sector simply needs to keep the momentum which might be easier in a smaller community where it is easier to gather all relevant stakeholders and find ways forwards together, just as in this Round Table for Circularity workshop.

Some of the key take away from the workshop and following conference were:

  • The participants fully agreed on the urgency of transitioning towards circular and sustainable construction
  • A strong collaboration between stakeholders and a dynamic research centre for the construction industry are necessary
  • New buildings should be designed with an emphasis on reuse and flexibility
  • Older buildings need to be redesigned and reutilised, and for this a market square for used construction materials is needed
  • An emphasis on the need for bans and regulations regarding circularity in addition to the usual financial incentives
  • A green incentive system for the construction industry is necessary
  • A shift in cultural aesthetics from clean lines in moderns buildings towards seeing the beauty in imperfections and in the history of reused materials
  • A necessity of taking risks and allowing mistakes while transitioning to circular economy


The workshop was organised by Icelandic Design and Architecture, Efla engineers, Architectures Association of Iceland and Green Building Council Iceland in collaboration with the Federation of Icelandic Industries, The Government Property Agency and Reykjavík City. 

Read more about the workshop and conference here