Stockholm has one of the world’s most ambitious goals of becoming a fossil-fuel free and climate positive city by the year 2040. However, in addition to efforts such as lessening fossil-fueled transportation and normalising eco-friendly methods like bike riding, sustainable construction is yet another way that Stockholm is leading the way in becoming as green a city as possible while combating the ever present issue of climate change. From geothermal techniques that reduce energy consumption to revolutionary passive housing and innovative projects, here’s how Stockholm is forging ahead in terms of climate positivity.
What is sustainable construction?
Simply put, sustainable construction is construction that puts the environment’s needs first by integrating eco-friendly and sustainable practices throughout the entire building process. Generally speaking, the goal is to create a building that is environmentally responsible throughout its entire lifespan — all the way from construction to operation, and even demolition. This can involve a myriad of innovative implementations, including those that include sustainable sourcing of building materials, all the way to sustainable building operation in terms of energy-reducing measures (like implementing solar panels).
Sustainable construction can also involve the use of recycled materials from the construction and demolition processes, which produces a massive amount of waste. By repurposing the waste into new products, landfill waste can be significantly reduced — not to mention the fact that recycled resources can cut costs and reduce natural resource consumption as well, thus positively contributing to both the environment and business. However, when it comes to sustainable construction practices in Stockholm, efforts are taken beyond the definition in order to not only maximise climate-friendly measures and benefits, but to lead the way in the industry itself.
An innovative project
There are a number of ways that Sweden is leading the way in the sustainable construction movement. For instance, at construction group Skanska, sustainability is taken into consideration at every step of the construction process, likely making it one of the major reasons why it was commissioned by the housing company Stockholmshem to collaborate on a unique project. The climate positive project aimed at “a holistic approach to energy efficiency and good living environments with an interesting and exciting architectonic expression”. This ultimately resulted in what is now known as Backåkra 2, an aesthetically pleasing development of two buildings that incorporate a number of unique and eco-friendly details. For example, the buildings feature glass-encaged balconies in order to reduce energy waste, as well as energy recovery heat exchanges — not to mention the fact that the development produces more energy than it can even use.
Other notable examples
One notable example of sustainable construction in the city includes Stockholm’s Central Station, which uses innovative geothermal technology in order to harness and effectively utilise the body heat from over 250,000 daily commuters, which is then sourced into water through a heat regulator. The heated water is then pumped into Kungsbrohuset in order to heat the building naturally. Another remarkable example of sustainable construction that can be seen in communities throughout the country includes what is known as “passive houses”, or houses that are built with low-energy consumption in mind. Similar to that of Central Station, these houses utilise heat from people, sunlight, and even that of household appliances in order to warm the building.
Sweden is well known for being a world leader when it comes to implementing eco-friendly and sustainable measures throughout the country, and the capital city Stockholm is no different, especially in regards to the construction industry.