Reference Group Meeting: Status, results and the road ahead

Nordic Sustainable Construction Entering the Final Phase of the Programme

Publiceret 26-06-2024

The Nordic Sustainable Construction programme has entered a period marked by numerous deliveries from all work packages, with only half a year remaining. This period ties together three years of extensive cross-sectional collaboration across the Nordic region. The current phase of the programme is coming to an end, and it is clear that significant progress has been made.

A Diverse Programme for Sustainable Construction

The programme's scope has been broad, as it aims to accelerate several elements in the construction sector. From LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) regulation to battery-driven building machinery, from educational materials to marine-based building materials, Nordic Sustainable Construction has addressed many diverse aspects of sustainable development. This was the clear picture presented at the last reference group meeting, where each work package, the secretariat, and the Nordic Council of Ministers provided status updates.

Work Package 1: Nordic Harmonisation of Life Cycle Assessment

  • Task 1: Completed with the report: Roadmap: Harmonising Nordic Building Regulations concerning Climate Emissions
  • Task 2: Databases and management of data
    The report “Nordic view on data needs and scenario settings for full life cycle building environmental assessment” was presented at a webinar on the 18th of June which also marked the completion of task 2.
  • Task 3: BIM for LCA
    BIM models have been created and are getting ready for testing and sharing. Educational material in the form of 9 introduction videos are in the making on how to use these Buidling Information Models to make informed and less carbon intensive choices in the design phase. The final report from this task is expected to be published just before the Nordic Climate Forum for Construction on the 11th of September.
  • Task 4: Limit values and monitoring the decarbonisation of the Nordic building stock
    Back in March the report “Harmonised Carbon Limit Values for Buildings in Nordic Countries” was published. Since then further updates have been made, since this regulatory field is a fast moving topic. Hence the report will give an in-depth overview of the Nordic countries and Estonias methodology for regulating embedded carbon in a whole life cycle assessment. Furthermore the report will provide recommendations on the methodology for regulating embodied carbon, setting limit values and how to monitor the decarbonsation of the building stock. The report will be launched on at 10.30 (CEST) at a webinar on the 5th of September. See the current regulatory overview here.
  • Task 5: Acceleration programme and knowledge sharing clinics
    This new project has just been started with SWECO as project lead. A launch webinar was hosted on 17th of June to inform stakeholders about the clinics and best case catalogue of low carbon buildings – including existing buildings – both of them open for application and submission. Deadline is 15th of July.

Work Package 2: Circular Business Models and Procurement

  • AFRY is currently working on a report gathering experiences on circular projects, using data from the pilot cities of Tampere and Stavanger. Furthermore Copenhagen and Stockholm is interviewed to share their lessons learned. The report aims to accelerate good lessons learned from pioneer cities on how to enable the public procurement towards a more circular construction. The report is expected to be published in the late summer.
  • The Marine-Based Building Materials Technical Playbook has been published. The report showcases the low carbon potential of using marine-based materials in construction, detailing the maturity levels of various materials and their potential for scaling.
  • New project Re-trade aims to develop the Nordic re-trade market for circular critical construction materials in a way that can make the value chains in the construction industry sustainable and make the circular business models for material use and modular building practices profitable and scalable on a Nordic level.

Work Package 3: Sustainable Construction Materials and Architecture

Work Package 4: Emission free construction sites

  • Since our last reference group meeting in March Work Package 4 has released 5 newsletters with the latest news from the field of emission free construction sites such as mapping resource consumption on construction sites, lessons learned from Australian experience and much more. Read the latest newsletter and subscribe here.
  • Work Package 4 is working on the last two deliverables. The first is a report on guidelines for planning, procuring, and evaluating emission-free construction sites and the second is a report on standards, rules, and regulations that either hinder or can enable emission free construction sites. They will be finished in the coming months with an upcoming launch webinar expectedly in September.

Work Package 5: Programme Secretariat and Competences for Reuse in Construction

  • Work Package 5 is working on the exit strategy of the programme both to summaries the many results from this collaboration, but also to look ahead on what would give great Nordic benefit to collaborate on within construction and housing towards 2030.
  • The programme has already delivered many results, which are of use both for the Nordic, but also the European and international construction sector. Work Package 5 shares this knowledge at selected conferences and webinars (see our webinar knowledge center for recordings).
  • The revised Energy Performance of Building Directive mandates the EU member states to make roadmaps for how they will implement LCA assessments. In the Nordic countries the industry have played an important role in the establishment and implementation of regulation to mitigate the climate impact from construction and hence often been part of such roadmaps.
    Work Package 5 has made this overview of these private/public initiatives across the Nordics.
  • Work Package 5 is currently disseminating the educational material Skills4Reuse.The feedback has been positive, with relevant media sharing the material. Teachers have found it relevant and easy to use, providing good feedback. To ease the uptake of the education material for teachers at vocational schools Work Package 5 has made a short video that explains it in 3 minutes. Watch out for it as we will soon share it on LinkedIn.

Status on a new potential Nordic collaboration on Construction

The Nordic Council of Ministers secretariat gave an update on the process of deciding, what the Nordic countries could work together on from 2025 towards 2030. The construction sector across the Nordic countries have given input and shared their knowledge at a sector workshop, where four topics defined by the Nordic Ministers of Housing and Construction were discussed, that will be central in the coming years: Climate, circularity, digitalisation and the EU. Though no final decisions have been made yet, it is clear that the Nordic Sustainable Construction programme has created a solid foundation for collaboration between the Nordic countries and beyond.

The final sprint

The upcoming months will be crucial as we finalise and consolidate the extensive work that has been done. The programme's impact is becoming increasingly apparent, with tangible outcomes that are building a strong knowledge foundation for transforming policies and practices across the Nordic countries.