Director of Environment and Energy
tel. +358 50 469 2021
Low-carbon roadmap for the Finnish construction industry
In Finland the built environment accounts for over one third of the greenhouse gas emissions and consumed energy. Although the majority of the sector’s emissions come from energy during use, emissions can also be reduced during construction achieving avoided emissions in the future as a result of sustainable design.
Current and target state
The built environment and construction industry’s life cycle carbon footprint, including emission of energy used in the operating phase, is 17 Mt CO2 where 76% comes from the energy consumption of buildings. The remaining emissions divide followingly; 15% emissions are from construction materials (buildings, transport networks, civil engineering), 7% from logistics and worksite functions and the rest 2% from deconstruction and waste. In the ambitious emission reduction scenario, the built environment and construction industry’s emissions drop to 3.7 Mt CO2 by 2035 and 0.9 Mt CO2 by 2050.
The greatest potential exists in reducing the energy consumption and emissions from existing building stock.
Key means for reducing emission from built environment is to decrease the energy consumption of existing buildings through energy efficiency measures that is enabled by the supply of low-carbon energy. Energy efficiency measures in existing buildings include energy renovations whereas new buildings are assumed to be significantly more energy efficient. In addition, in local heating the use of fossil fuels will be eliminated.
In the construction phase, main potential for reducing emissions is found in worksite functions (site machinery and logistics), the use of regional soil and rock materials to reduce transport, and the use of recycled and recovered materials. Emission reductions can also be achieved by selecting low-carbon concrete and steel as well as wooden materials. However, building’s lifecycle emissions are set in stone already in the planning and construction phase and therefore the role of sustainable design of buildings and land use is underlined. Reducing the demand for construction materials can be achieved by lightening the construction structures and developing alternative building materials.
Needs and requirements
The public procurement has a principal role in creating demand for low-carbon construction solutions and the roadmap suggests that actors must prioritise low-carbon options in a predictable manner without any material or technology bias to maintain neutrality and foster innovations. Furthermore, the expert pool of low-carbon construction solutions is required to strengthened, which also supports sector’s international competitive edge.
Future and positive impacts
The construction industry will continue its active work with stakeholders to make large-scale emission reductions in built environment by setting a project referred as Carbon neutrality dialogue. The goal of the dialogue is to deploy low-carbon solutions recognized in the roadmap and inspire value chain actors in the urban development, property ownership and use, infrastructure, materials and their use, and worksite to raise their climate ambition.
Did you know that...?
• The construction and property business covers 15% of Finland’s GDP and employs over 500 000 persons