Photo: Munch Museum in Oslo is a FutureBuilt project
To support climate friendly urban development, six municipalities in the Oslo region and the City of Bergen in Western Norway are collaborating on the FutureBuilt programme. Our vision is to show that climate neutral urban areas, based on high quality architecture, are possible.
Since the start of FutureBuilt in 2010, pilot projects have been used as a strategy for changing the way buildings and urban areas are developed, believing that good examples are important for making a change. Our goal is to complete 100 pilot projects that cut carbon emissions by at least 50% compared to current regulations and common practice. This is measured by a greenhouse gas accounting tool, and the reductions must be within the fields of transport, energy and materials.
Each pilot project needs to fulfil certain criteria. In addition to transport, energy and materials, the projects need to work with topics such as water management and biodiversity. To succeed in reducing the construction sectors´ climate footprint it is also crucial to shift the industry from linear use and production towards a more sustainable production based on recycling and reuse of existing building stock.
FutureBuilt ZERO sets criteria for maximum emissions for a building’s contribution to global warming potential over its lifetime and includes potential emission gains from carbon sequestration, reuse of materials, material recycling, and energy exports. Our goal is to always be 10 years ahead and 50% better than the rest of the construction industry. If you would like to know more about the FutureBuilt ZERO criteria, please download the PDF below.
But building sustainably is not only about measuring greenhouse gas emissions – it is also about making attractive and livable neigbhourhoods and engaging residents and users in the development process.
By March 2023 FutureBuilt includes 71 pilot projects – both public and commercial – dealing with neighborhoods, housing, schools, kindergartens, office buildings, cultural centres and cycling projects.
Our main target group are the developers, but finding new solutions first of all depends on a project group who is willing to go that extra mile looking for what is new. All FutureBuilt projects must have innovative showcase qualities, and for each project we discuss what new solutions can be explored and where there is a potential for breaking new ground. We aim high, but not so high that the goals are out of reach.
So what is the FutureBuilt receipe? The process with the pilot projects follows more or less the same path:
- The first step is to establish contact between FutureBuilt and the developer, and the municipality also takes part in this dialogue.
- Then we start discussing the ambitions for the pilot project. If the project is ambitious enough the developer applies to join FutureBuilt.
- A committee led by the municipality decides if the project can join, and an agreement is signed between the developer, the municipality and FutureBuilt. The building application is given high priority by the municipality.
- Throughout the project period FutureBuilt serves the developer and the construction team with workshops to help the projects achieve their ambitious environmental targets.
- The developer uses a greenhouse gas accounting tool and estimates the carbon footprint for the pilot project. This is done for a reference building, the building as designed, as built and in use.
- And last, but not least – communication is central throughout the project period – not only on our website, but also through seminars and visits to the pilot projects.
So what is the lesson learnt from FutureBuilt?
Testing out new ways of building and constructing through pilot projects is an inspiring way of driving change. The pilot projects get a lot of attention, and we see a ripple effect where experiences from pilot projects have an impact on other projects.
The pioneers are eager to contribute to the change to the low carbon society, but the attention they get from media, politicians and professionals is of course also motivating. Many developers have chosen to do several FutureBuilt pilot projects because they see it as a useful process to improve their business, to attract highly qualified employees and to build an image as a responsible and forward thinking company.
We don´t say it is easy to be a pilot project, but it is not necessarily difficult either. Through FutureBuilt the developers are challenged to think differently, and with a little support from the best practioners, all the FutureBuilt pilots have given a contribution to the development of a low carbon construction business.
FutureBuilt has seven partners: Oslo, Bærum, Asker, Drammen, Nordre Follo, Lillestrømand Bergen. In addition FutureBuilt collaborates closely with The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, the Norwegian State Housing Bank, Enova (Norwegian energy national fund), the National Office of Building Technology and Administration, the Green Building Alliance, the National Association of Norwegian Architectsand DOGA – Design and Architecture in Norway.
Why is FutureBuilt important?
The green economy affects the growth of human well-being and social equality while reducing environmental threats and the use of natural resources.
Green jobs, also known as clean energy jobs, are employment opportunities that focus on sustainable development and environmental conservation to solve the immerse climatecrisis and naturecrisis. These jobs are in high demand as the world pushes towards a more sustainable future. However, there is a global skills gap in the green jobs market, particularly in the field of lifecycle assessment (LCA) and standarized eco-certifications verified by third party.
Today it is difficult for consumers, companies and other market actors to make sense of the many environmental labels and initiatives on the environmental performance of products and companies. There are more than 200 environmental labels active in the EU, and more than 450 active worldwide; there are more than 80 widely used reporting initiatives and methods for carbon emissions only. Some of these methods and initiatives are reliable, some not; they are variable in the issues they cover. EU.
Dissonance in obtaining green job cohesion is evident in the 2021 “Global Learner Survey: Climate Change” from Pearson, which revealed that 59% of people in the US feel they have little to no knowledge of “green skills.
One of the main reasons for the skills gap in eco-documentation is the lack of education and training opportunities. Many individuals are not aware of the career opportunities available in the field, and even if they are, they may not have the necessary skills or qualifications to secure a job in the industry.
Another reason for the skills gap is the widespread misunderstanding that green jobs are limited to the renewable energy sector only. This perception causes many people to overlook the broader range of opportunities in the green jobs market such as LCA, green building, sustainable buildingmaterials, transportation, and more. It also causes many businesses and organizations to focus their recruitment efforts solely on the renewable energy sector, leaving a gap in other green industries.
In conclusion, green jobs are in high demand as the world pushes towards a more sustainable future. However, there is a global skills gap in the green jobs market, particularly in the field of lifecycle assessment. Governments, businesses, and organizations are taking steps to address the skills gap in LCA. Education and training programs, as well as employee training and development programs, are being put in place to ensure that workers have the necessary skills to meet the demands of the LCA field. With the right investment, the skills gap can be filled and the LCA industry can continue to grow and thrive. It is important to note that green jobs are not limited to the renewable energy sector only, and it is important to consider the broader range of opportunities in the green jobs market.
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