All the Nordic countries have ambitions about mitigating the climate changes by reducing the total amount of carbon emissions. Reductions in the building sector are a key element in achieving these targets.
Since 2018, the Nordic building authorities have been discussing future regulation on climate emissions, sharing experiences and working together towards harmonised Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methods for buildings.
LCA of buildings is quickly gaining ground in the Nordic countries as the method assesses the whole life climate emissions of buildings, and all the Nordic countries are developing methods and investigating how to include this in the national building regulations. Sweden, Norway and Denmark have already implemented their first set of regulation, Finland will follow in 2025 and Iceland and Estonia are currently considering the same.
A unique window to align approaches
However, working with normative climate declarations for buildings is relatively new in all countries, and practices are not yet well established. At this stage, the Nordic countries have a unique window to align approaches, exchange knowledge and research how to create and specify the regulation concerning climate emissions together.
In this work package, ‘Nordic Harmonisation of Life Cycle Assessment’, Nordic Sustainable Construction works towards harmonising normative methods for building LCAs in the Nordic countries so that design and construction companies will be able to offer low carbon solutions in all the Nordic countries.
Furthermore, similar approaches will benefit policy-makers on national and municipal levels so that we can support each other’s climate ambitions in regulation and in green public procurement, but also in the European policy development.
Finally, in order to digitalise the Nordic building design, construction and management processes, it is of high importance that we set joint criteria for digital LCA as well.
Analysis of Nordic LCA-practices
In the first project period, the ‘Nordic Harmonisation of Life Cycle Assessment’ work package has focused on analysis of Nordic LCA-practices, including a feasibility study and facilitation for harmonisation.
This work will lead up to the publishing of a harmonisation roadmap elaborating on each countries’ status and setting the strategic aims for the harmonisation.
Roadmap for harmonising Nordic LCA regulation
During 2023 a report providing an overview of the Nordic countries’ status on the development of regulating the buildings’ climate and environmental impacts, the strategic focus areas and what steps to take, will be published.
Data for LCA
Data is essential to follow the climate impact of our buildings, and databases that provide typical emission and other environmental data have an important role in the processes that should enable the assessment of buildings with the help of unified, or at least comparable, methods and practices. Therefore, a task has started in 2023 focusing on data, where the following reports will be the result:
- Process for gathering typical data
- Data for old buildings
- Data for bio based products
- Data for vegetation
Digital tools and Building Information Models in building LCA
Right now, a procurement is out on how to digitalise LCA, including guidance for BIM and development of online training models for BIM-based LCA.
See the tender here.
GHG limit values and reporting decarbonisation of Nordic building stock
Right now, there is call for submissions on a tender focusing on the following:
- Process for setting limit values
- Nordic impact assessment
- Following the decarbonisation of the building stock
See the tender here.
Work package responsible
The Environmental Ministry of Finland is responsible for the work package on Nordic harmonisation of life cycle assessment.
The Ministry is represented by the project leader, Senior ministerial advisor, Matti Kuittinen. Matti Kuittinen is an architect and professor at Aalto University.