Top navigasjon

Towards new standards for green buildings

  • Publisert 24.02.2014
By being a standard maker in the building sector, the Nordic region can contribute to making it more sustainable and give a competitive advantage to Nordic businesses.

The building sector is key for reaching the European goals for sustainable growth. The market for sustainable construction and renovation is enormous, and there is a great need for common European standards.

 

By being a standard maker in this area, the Nordic region can contribute to a more sustainable building sector and give a competitive advantage to Nordic businesses.

 

As part of the Nordic Council of Minister's focus on green growth, Nordic Innovation was tasked with developing relevant projects and joined forces with the five Nordic standardisation organisations in three projects for green building standards:

 

  1. Sustainable renovation of buildings,
  2. Indoor climate and voluntary classification standards, and
  3. Nordic contribution to future EU regulations and standards in environmental product declarations and sustainable construction.

 

– The aim of these three projects, which started in September 2013 and will run to the beginning of 2015, is to develop a common Nordic platform and approach, that will form the basis for common European standards, says Einar Maitre Ekern, senior adviser in Nordic Innovation.

 

You can read more about the projects below, and in the Nordic Council of Ministers' web magazine Green Growth the Nordic Way.

 

Sustainable renovation - the Nordic way

 

The Nordic countries faces great challenges regarding both energy efficiency and the technical and social quality of existing buildings. In the first project, the Nordic countries cooperate on developing a simple tool for assessing when to renovate buildings or when not to (i.e. demolish), and define common requirements for a sustainable and energy efficient renovation of existing buildings.

 

Rather than focusing on individual components and products, the Nordic approach will be more holistic and focus on the process and final building performance.

 

– The European Commission is going to develop similar tools over the next two years. The Commission is therefore most interested in the Nordic model as a basis for the European approach, says the project manager, Ingvild Gisken Martinsen in Standards Norway.

 

Indoor Climate

 

Building and renovation buildings with nearly zero energy demand attract much attention, while the indoor climate in such buildings is often neglected. The second project is therefore developing a tool to assess the indoor climate with a holistic approach – taking into account both the buildings and its immediate surroundings.  The tool – a common Nordic classification standard for indoor climate – will be an important tool when energy saving measures are undertaken.

 

The aim of the project is that this common Nordic platform should form the basis for a new European indoor climate standard.  With the continuous urbanisation and increasing attention to air quality, there is a large market potential globally for solutions for indoor climate assessment. Being a frontrunner in this area can give Nordic businesses a competitive edge.

 

– We are all consumers of indoor climate. We cannot end up in a situation where we have to step outside to have a bit of fresh air. Therefore, we will develop a tool with harmonised criteria for evaluating the resulting indoor climate, taking the most important environmental aspects into account, says Erling R. Trudsø, project manager in Danish Standards.

 

Environmental product declarations and sustainable construction

 

The EU legislation on construction products and works pay close attention to environmental aspects and sustainability.  The EU legislation contain general declaration requirements on sustainable use of natural resources and on the release of dangerous substances of construction products, which will be specified in product categories These new specific requirements will have large impact on the construction industry.

 

For the Nordic countries, it is important to agree on specific requirements on the most important product categories for the Nordic countries, and advocate these as a basis for the process at European level. Therefore, the third project aims to transform the general requirements into specific requirements for the most important product categories for the Nordic countries, as a basis for the process at European level.

 

– For the Nordic countries, two important categories are thermal insulation and steel. It is of outmost importance that the Nordic countries define common specific product category rules on sustainability that can form the basis for the European work in this regard, says project manager Ari Ilomäki in the Finnish Association of Construction Product Industries.

Abonner på vårt nyhetsbrev

Focus on Green Growth

Green growth will be a key priority within Nordic co-operation in the years to come, and the Nordic Council of Ministers will focus on a wide array of activities within green growth.

 

The Nordic prime ministers have commissioned the trade ministers, in collaboration with the energy and housing ministers, to identify the 4–5 most important areas in construction in which technical norms and standards would be suited to co-ordination at Nordic level, and to develop proposals for how the barriers to this work could be removed.

 

Following a survey and a subsequent workshop, three areas were selected as suitable for Nordic co-ordination.

 

  • Renovation of existing buildings
  • Development of classification standards for indoor climate
  • Co-ordination of the region with regard to EU regulations for environmental product declarations and sustainable buildings
Nordic Innovation was tasked with developing relevant projects and joined forces with the five Nordic standardisation organisations in three projects for green building standards.

Kontakter