Challenges and solutions discussed at the Nordic GBC’s conference

“Even though there are technical differences, our mindset and the way we approach things are very similar. In short, we share a relatively homogeneous Nordic market – and we should take advantage of this.The Nordic Built funding program gives the Nordic building sector an opportunity to really work together across borders and use the strongholds that each country has to offer.”
Published 03/02/2013 | Last updated 03/02/2013

- The Nordic Built Charter is an excellent platform for Nordic collaboration projects. By signing the Charter you not only commit yourself to its 10 principles, but you also automatically become a part of a simulated partnership, said Ilari Aho, Vice President, Indoor Climate Business Group at Uponor and Chairman for the Finnish Green Building Council.


The joint Nordic funding program for innovation, R&D, demonstration and networking projects will be launched in the first half of 2013. It was possible to get some information about the call and meet new Nordic partners at the Nordic Built networking event at the Nordic Green Building Councils' joint annual conference in Helsinki from 31 January to 1 February 2013.


Nordic Innovation’s Managing director Roger Bjørgan opened the Nordic GBC’s conference by emphasizing the advantages of collaborating across Nordic borders in sustainable building.


- A Nordic home market for sustainable building will have a critical mass big enough to help businesses grow. Thinking Nordic is the next step in the national efforts.


Bjørgan also said that Nordic Innovation supports the idea of uniting the five national Green Building Councils into one single Nordic Green Building Council.



EU and sustainable building

Ferenc Pekár from the European Commission, DG Environment, presented sustainable building in an EU context. He started out with praising the conference venue for being a great example on using an existing building for new purposes.


The resource efficiency roadmap shows the EU path towards green growth, with housing being one of the main focus areas. By the end of 2013, the Commission will map out the most important issues and actions for sustainable building, such as a coherent assessment framework and support of data development and availability.


Signe Kongebru from Henning Larsen Architects listed existing European trends within sustainable building. Basically, there is little money and lots of need for investment.


- Everybody wants more for less, asking for an added value that cannot be seen with technology only – even though the toolbox is full of technologies. We need to renovate not only for the renovation in itself, but for actually producing a better building.



Nordic market trends

Mikko Hyytinen from Pöyry presented the Green Market Study 2013, pointing out Nordic, or mainly Finnish, market trends for sustainable building – one of these being more and more user driven solutions.


- We need new service models to increase collaboration between owners, users and maintenance, he stated.


James Drinkwater from the World Green Building Council pointed out the importance of data.


- We need to make national portfolios of the existing building stock to be able to identify cost-effective approaches to renovations relevant to buildings and climate zones. In addition, we need an evidence-based estimate of expected energy-savings and wider benefits.


Drinkwater also underlined the need of policies and measures to stimulate cost-effective deep renovations of buildings, and continued by praising the Nordic Built Charter for setting up a clear and ambitious goal, which is reducing the net energy consumption by at least 50 %.


Finally, he pointed out the importance of collaborating with the governments.


- We must create common targets and sustainable strategies that look beyond energy use to stay competitive in a global perspective.