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Survey of green legislation and standards in the construction area in the Nordic countries

  • Published 10/10/2012
The objective of the survey materialised in this report is to identify and describe areas of green building that may be suitable for Nordic co-ordination.

Background

The Nordic prime ministers have charged the Nordic relevant ministers with developing a number of specific areas of cooperation to enhance growth and welfare in the Nordic countries. The assessment is that the Nordic countries can and should be a pioneer in dynamic green and sustainable solutions. The areas to which the Nordic countries must pay particular attention is cooperation on the development of test centres for green solutions, training and research into green growth, promotion of flexibility for consumers in the Nordic electricity market, green technical norms and standards, green public procurement, etc. All areas are described in detail in the report "Norden - leadership i grøn tillväxt" ("The Nordic Region - leadership in green growth"). Paragraph 4 of this report is dealing with green building, and a target has been proposed to nominate 4-5 areas that are suitable for Nordic co-ordination. The aim is to support the development of a leading global market for green building in the Nordic countries; especially seeking an overview of the trade barriers and opportunities that currently exist in the form of different requirements in legislation, standards and norms.

The reason is that the Nordic countries are to some extent influenced by nationally defined markets within construction, while increased trade and regionalization could potentially improve the possibilities of developing a larger, innovative and dynamic market for green building. Another aspect is that the Nordic countries will be stronger together in relation to among other things EU and EU legislation, if the Nordic countries will coordinate efforts and the various demands on green building.

 

Objective

Thus, the objective of the survey materialised in this report is to identify and describe areas of green building that may be suitable for Nordic co-ordination. Further to this, the goal is to point out approx. 10 areas with associated actions which could ultimately improve the Nordic industries' competitive situation, including eliminating or preventing new barriers to trade in the Nordic countries in these areas.

 

The task is performed partly by literature studies, information searching on the Internet and through interviews with 16 Nordic experts in the period from 16 April to 6 June 2012. The result of the survey has been presented at a workshop with relevant Nordic actors, where it was discussed which of the proposed actions are to be pursued further.

 

Results

The following items are identified in the survey:

  • Overview of green building - a concise overview of the major areas within construction that can be characterized as green has been established. In this task, this is defined and limited to energy, water and resource consumption, indoor climate and building materials.
  • Survey of technical norms and standards for green buildings in the Nordic countries and the EU. Because of the relatively limited extent of the task, a screening of the area has been carried out, focusing on the essential norms as well as standards; voluntary as well as statutory. But the magnitude of standards and norms in the four areas in the 5 Nordic countries and the EU is huge, and it has therefore not been possible to conduct a complete survey of such national annexes to the European standards.
  • Identification of the major national stakeholders as well as already existing Nordic projects and co-operation relations in green building.

 

The report has been prepared in May 2012 by:

Henrik Sand, Kirstine Hjorth Lorenzen and Christina Burgos Nittegaard, COWI A/S

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