Low carbon construction – what and why?

The purpose of low-carbon construction is to minimize CO2 emissions from construction. This is of great importance for mitigating climate change, as more than a third of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings and construction. Low carbon will become part of building regulations and an entity that aims for Finland’s carbon neutrality by 2035. 

The purpose of low-carbon construction is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at all stages of construction. In 2017, the Ministry of the Environment published a roadmap for low-carbon construction, stating that reducing the carbon footprint of buildings will be part of building regulations by the mid-2020s. Low carbon is also part of the reform of the Land Use and Construction Act, which aims to bring the government’s proposal to an end by 2021. Low carbon is reflected in several entries in the government program. Road maps for low-carbon construction will be accelerated and carbon neutrality and the importance of green spaces in the development of residential areas will be emphasized. 

An assessment method has been developed for low-carbon construction, which is intended to facilitate the calculation of the climate impact of construction. The assessment takes into account, for example, energy use and consumption, the carbon footprint of transport, the choice of building material and material efficiency. The key is that the assessment takes into account the entire life cycle of the building. The carbon handprint of the building is also taken into account. The carbon footprint refers to the climate benefits of a building that would not arise without the construction project. This takes into account, for example, “Greenhouse gas emissions avoided through the reuse of building components or the recycling of materials”. The evaluation method for low-carbon construction is being further updated. 

Low-carbon construction is the new normal for future, in which Finland is already on its way. Taking into account the climate impact of construction has an important role to play in ensuring a more sustainable future.