The country of Norway, which is similar in size to the State of California in the US, is making progress toward a more sustainable construction industry. With strong government demand for construction coupled with an abundance of raw materials, Norway is setting the bar high for green construction in the future.
The Explorer (Business Norway) published an article in 2021 that described efforts in Norway that are leading to a greener construction industry there.
- Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
The Norwegian government is working with companies to implement projects for carbon capture at two industrial sites and carbon storage at another site. A carbon capture plant will be built at a cement factory in Brevik to capture up to 400,000 metric tons of carbon-dioxide annually.
Because Norway is heavily forested, a movement is underway to replace steel with mass timber in construction. The world’s tallest timber building – an 18-story prefabricated structure made with glue-laminated timber – has already been built in eastern Norway. The Explorer article reported it was built at a rate of one story per week.
Another project, at Oslo Airport, made use of recycled materials, formaldehyde-free insulation, and concrete that was partially manufactured by incorporating waste and residual construction materials.
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A nanotechnology company in Bergen, Norway, is specializing in concrete that can absorb organic pollutants from the air. A 2022 article in the Journal of Nanomedicine & Nanotechnology describes the new type of concrete technology, which embeds nano- and micro-titanium dioxide in cement powder. The resulting concrete product made with the powdered photocatalyst mixture can break down pollutants in the air around it. The company is also working with surface treatments using the nanotechnology that can be applied onto existing surfaces like pavement and traditionally-produced concrete walls.
- Cutting emissions
As the largest construction client in Norway’s capital, the City of Oslo has implemented strict emissions standards on construction sites. The goal is that all sites will be emissions free by 2030. As a result, many jobsites employ electric machinery. Using cloud-based software, there is also an emphasis on increasing collaboration to reduce wasted labor and inefficient use of resources.
- Energy efficient buildings
Construction projects in Norway are pioneering zero-energy buildings – those that do not consume more energy than they generate. There are also buildings that produce more energy than they use and can push it back to the energy grid. New modular homes are also being designed to require about half the energy of a standard home and reduce emissions. Planners are also using artificial intelligence to design smart urban areas, including the best use of infrastructure.
With CCS, alternative building materials, emissions standards, and energy efficient buildings, the efforts in Norway are leading to a greener construction industry. Norway is setting the bar high for green construction in other countries.