Sweden Construction News
3 mins read

Construction sector's roadmap to net-zero emissions

25/04/2024, 07:41
Construction sector's roadmap to net-zero emissions
Svante Axelsson, national coordinator at Fossilfritt Sverige. Photo: Oskar Omne
Emilia Granberg Emilia Granberg
Like 0

Within the framework of Fossil Free Sweden, 22 industries have developed roadmaps for how they can become fossil-free or climate-neutral. Among them is the construction and infrastructure sector, which aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 with the help of the 2045 Roadmap. The roadmap was initially developed in 2018, but much has happened since then. Therefore, an upgraded roadmap was presented in February 2024, detailing new political proposals that the industry needs to implement to meet its goal.

Key Measures

The 2045 Roadmap brings together the entire value chain, from manufacturers of building materials and contractors to developers and managers. To succeed, the sector is working on measures such as changing the composition of raw materials, electrification, and efficiency improvements in production and transport processes, increased use of renewable fuels, more efficient transportation, circular flows, and optimization of energy and climate performance.

According to Svante Axelsson, national coordinator at Fossil Free Sweden, one of the most important actions to achieve climate goals is to start by attempting to halve one’s climate impact.

“There is a whole palette of measures one can take to halve their climate footprint. For example, one can optimize their use of cement by using the same cement mix for floors, roofs, and beams, or invest in new binders through climate-improved concrete. Today, we have come so far that there are good solutions that do not need to be associated with any higher costs,” he says, adding: “The time is also ripe to scale up all successful pilot projects so that halving emissions in new construction, renovation, and maintenance becomes the new normal.”

For manufacturers in the value chain, Svante Axelsson points out, many of the most crucial actions are about cement.

“The biggest climate impact we have is in cement production, so the goal is for it to become fossil-free by 2030. That’s the major shift because once that production is climate neutral, it’s easy to make the entire building climate neutral. At the same time, we’ve started to build a lot with wood in Sweden, and here we have a lot of experience that we can both teach and export.”

Builders, Contractors, and Installers

“When it comes to the actors who build, there is a lot to do. Not least, investing in climate-efficient building materials and circularity. At the same time, it’s often the construction companies that handle the procurement of subcontractors, which means that they can ensure that emissions-free workplaces are procured. That is, all machinery, including transport flows to and from the construction site, should be climate neutral,” says Svante Axelsson.

This, in turn, relates to the next group – the procurers and buyers.

“Here, the state and municipalities are incredibly important, and if the procurers set high ambitions, the construction companies have no problem solving these. In this way, technological development can be accelerated,” says Svante Axelsson, elaborating:

“Today, we have exciting experience of giving construction companies greater freedom in both time and design. It turns out that if you micromanage too much, creativity is stifled, and often, the construction company has a much better understanding of how to build a house than the procurer. If, instead, overarching goals are set, such as halving emissions, it turns out that construction companies can meet high targets while the construction can even become cheaper.”

Another key player in the transition, according to Svante Axelsson, is the installers.

“So far, we’ve talked a lot about building smart, but of course, the house has to function smartly as well. Therefore, investing in climate-smart installations is important. Here, insulation and energy efficiency are big players since about 34 percent of all energy used in Sweden comes from buildings,” he concludes.

The translation was written by an AI system, though the original text was authored by a human.

#fossilfritt sverige #infrastructure #net-zero greenhouse gas emissions