Workshop on Climate, Circularity and Digitalisation in Nordic Construction from 2025-2030

+50 Stakeholders from across the Nordic Construction Sector Gathered to Discuss a Potential New Nordic Collaboration

Publiceret 07-06-2024

This week Nordic Sustainable Construction gathered stakeholders from across the Nordic construction sector. The aim was to share their knowledge on trends and initiatives happening in the Nordics, EU and beyond, and to give input to a new potential Nordic construction collaboration from 2025-2030.

+50 Stakeholders from across the Nordic Construction Sector Gathered to Discuss a Potential New Nordic Collaboration

With a view over the rooftops of Copenhagen, the Nordic stakeholders met to discuss important topics within current practices and visions for the future of the Nordic construction sector. The participants came with a variety of cultural and professional backgrounds, with the aim of giving input to a potential future Nordic construction collaboration.

Among the participants the different parts of the construction value chain was represented, and the different Nordic countries as well.

Here is an overview of the professions represented at the workshop. One of the categories not explicitly mentioned was construction federations, who were present from different countries.

What is happening in the EU?

To inspire and inform the following discussions, two representatives from the European Commission shared an overview of what is being implemented in the coming years. Brigitte Jaquemont from the DG Energy and Oscar Nieto Sanz from DG GROW dove into topics such as article 7 and Annex III in the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), carbon storage, Level(s) and Construction Product Regulation (CPR).

Some of the highlights were:

  • A focus on the part of the revised EPBD aiming to regulate the embodied greenhouse gasses from new buildings. Specifying that Member States shall ensure that the life-cycle GWP (Global Warming Potential) is calculated in accordance with Annex III and disclosed in the energy performance certificate of the building.
  • The timeline is:
    • By 1 January 2027 Member States shall publish and notify to the Commission a roadmap detailing the introduction of limit values on the total cumulative life-cycle GWP of all new buildings and set targets for new buildings from 2030, considering a progressive downward trend, as well as maximum limit values, detailed for different climatic zones and building typologies. Those maximum limit values shall be in line with the Union’s objective of achieving climate neutrality.
    • From 1 January 2028, for all new buildings with a useful floor area larger than 1000 m2;
    • From 1 January 2030, for all new buildings.
  • The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 32 to amend Annex III to set out a Union framework for the national calculation of life-cycle GWP with a view to achieving climate neutrality. The first such delegated act shall be adopted by 31 December 2025.
  • Carbon storage in buildings certification methodology
  • Level(s) - European framework for sustainable buildings
  • Construction Product Regulation motives digitalisation of data e.g. with the Digital Product Passport.
  • Avoiding emissions from insulation foams

Click here for the full presentation

Workshop: Giving input to a potential Nordic construction collaboration

One of the main objectives was to discuss the possibility of a new, Nordic collaboration on sustainable construction. Therefore, the participants gave their input to this at a workshop. They discussed four themes, defined by the Nordic Ministers of Housing and Construction: Climate, Circularity and Digitalisation. The fourth theme was EU, which was discussed as a cross-cutting theme.

Highlights from the input during the workshop:


Existing building stock and EPBD:

  • EPBD – Nordic frontrunners on implementation
  • Mandatory mapping or screening of embodied carbon in existing buildings
  • Set Nordic minimum recommendations for carbon storages in buildings (biogenic / industrial)
  • How should we account for demolished buildings in LCAs? It’s a debt not paid back yet if the building has not met its lifetime
  • Improve our knowledge on how potential climate changes will impact our buildings and their remaining lifetime
  • Improve data on the climate impact from technical installations
  • KPI on existing portfolio – not on new buildings.


  • Harmonisation of tests or standardisation so new materials can be accepted in other countries
  • What can be developed from “bio-spill” (waste) – for instance a PhD. Project in tight collaboration with production industry
  • Accelerated tests developed for new materials to overcome lack of experience
  • Presenting pilot cases with new materials


  • Endorsing a culture for lifelong learning in the sector
  • Experiences with building owners or contractors demanding certain skills on their projects
  • Best practice case catalogue of old building methods that are more sustainable and have been forgotten - old handcraft methods should be re-taught to the handcraftsmen



  • Establish Nordic processes and value-network for logistics and marketing of reused products
  • Tax on waste. Economic incentives to prevent waste of materials and prevent a long transport of waste
  • Demands for materials producers to list what their products contain of chemicals in the same way as is the case for food and cosmetics, so it will be easier to know what we have in terms of circulation

Preventing demolitions:

  • Coordinated effort on legislation to prevent demolitions. Focus on how we reuse “complicated”, newer materials such as concrete.
  • A suggestion could be focusing on city centres and look into how landuse regulation is hindering multiuse of buildings
  • New solutions for optimising or automating selective demolition. Are there examples of business models that endorses the workers to take their time and be thorough in their handling of the materials?
  • Promote preventative maintenance and proper material care




  • Circularity index for buildings
  • Common declaration or data template for reused products based on standards (e.g. the word “reuse”) and common digital language

Changing practice and mind set:

  • How do we change the perception that the good life equals huge living spaces? A suggestion could be a Nordic design competition with a “less is more focus” (e.g. “use the existing building stock in the big cities to make an alternative and compact living space”)
  • How do we rethink buildings as usable floors 24/7 – 365 days a year? Rethink existing offices, parking lots and other buildings to be multifunctional
  • Increase skills and collaboration between different parts of the value chain. Make the different professions work together on reusing and choosing the best methods to avoid mistakes and unnecessary waste



  • The potential in AI and robots on building sites: How do we ensure that the handcraftsmen see it as a help and not a burden or threat? A suggestion could be an anthropological study of how robots are perceived among handcraftsmen (looking e.g. at Swedish experiences)
  • Big data and AI for the improved knowledge on material properties vs. reusability
  • Harmonise the way of calculating LCA and other emissions digitally. Use AI to identify materials and products.
  • Couple 3D models with AI to quickly optimise carbon - and resource footprint
  • Can AI help to reduce the cost of making an EPD?

Data and platforms:

  • More data on existing buildings in terms of CO2, costs etc. (price of refurbishment)
  • Develop joint platform for material-mapping, and / or e.g. a Nordic digital market place for reused products
  • Develop digital twins in GIS that work similar to BIM but on whole projects

International perspective:

  • Outlook on the international solutions. E.g. a webinar or conference with good cases or an international mapping with digital solutions for circular construction

Besides input to the three themes (and EU as cross-cutting), the participants also had the chance to comment on what topics was missing from the framework. Here, the participants mentioned themes such as biodiversity, landscapes, value chains beyond boarders, infrastructure, better co-operation between different professions (breaking down silos) and social



Inspiring Site Visit: Transformation of KB32

Group photo at KB32

The official programme of the day ended with a site visit to KB32 – a former freight terminal transformed into a modern office space. The transformation process was finished in 2021 and led by Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects. Today the building is home to the Government attorney and the Danish National Archives.

Seeing the potential in a neglected building

The 180 meters building from 1967 was neglected for many years and had a worn-down concrete façade. However, the bearing structures were built in a time where public contractors used high-quality materials, why the project team could easily reuse the core of the building.

The future users of the building, the Government attorney, were involved early in the process and chose to keep many of the original features after having seen the building and floor areas in person. Acoustic ceiling panels, concrete pillars and much of the room structure has thus been preserved.

As part of the renovation, the project team decided to expand the building by adding a layer on the outside of the existing skeleton of the building. In this way, the outer shell of the building with new windows was built outside of the existing concrete pillars that are still visible from inside.

In the process, the construction team made a great effort to have the users in mind. In collaboration with representatives from the Government attorney, the space was designed with details to the office setup made specifically to make the change from cubicles to an open office space easier. For instance a great effort was put into thinking in m3 instead of m2, having open space above the desks as well as long views and few traversing walls.

KB32 is a great example of the new mind-set required to change the way we build: That we must be better at using and transforming what we have, and seeing the potential in the existing building stock.