Photo: PEAB – Borgundfjorden Panorama BT2 in Aalesund Norway is Eco-labelled.
Published March 5th, 2023. Editorial team.
Where people thrive and feel good, good societies are developed. That is why JM is committed to developing good and sustainable residential areas, where people can live and thrive throughout their lives. This means both large and small apartments, townhouses and detached houses, proximity to shops and services.
-For example, we have some projects where three generations within the same family have chosen to settle, says Cecilie Noedtvedt, Head of Sustainability at JM.
JM Norway is a housing developer that builds swan-labeled homes near public transportation hubs in Trondheim, Bergen, Vestfold, Oslo and surrounding areas. Since 2018, JM has swan-labeled everything they have built, both in Finland, Sweden and Norway.
Strong increase in Norway and the Nordics
Swanmark is the official eco-label in Norway and the other Nordic countries. Eco-labelling Norway manages the label system in Norway and is subject to the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs.
“We are an independent third party that now verifies that builders are able to build in accordance with our requirements,” says Bjorn Strandli in Eco-labelling Norway.
“We have experienced a strong increase in interest in Svanemerket in Norway in recent years. The number of Svanemerked homes and other buildings is now almost nine times as large as in 2018. In total, there are over 3,500 Svanemerked buildings and homes that have been completed or are under construction in Norway.”
In the Nordic region, there are soon to be 50,000 Svanemerked apartments, houses and day institutions that are either completed or under construction. The building industry in Sweden and Denmark has had a head start for a long time, but even Norwegian players have recently realized the importance of eco-labeling.
Svanemerket places great emphasis on new homes promoting good health. Several substances are completely banned because they can cause asthma and allergies, be harmful to reproductive ability, or carcinogenic.
The most important thing about eco-labeling homes is holistic thinking, according to Strandli.
“Our main mission is to set comprehensive requirements for all relevant environmental impacts throughout the building’s life cycle. This includes the raw materials used in the materials and chemicals added. We have requirements for energy efficiency and encourage the use of local energy sources. We have requirements for safe waste management. For all the years the building is in use, it should contribute to good health and a low environmental footprint. And when the time comes for renovation or disposal, the materials should be recyclable or reusable,” says Bjørn Olav Aarø Strandli, a marketing advisor at Svanemerket.
PEAB sustainable homes in Norway
Peab is a large Nordic corporation with a broadly composed and interdisciplinary competence environment. We are dedicated to developing new concepts and product solutions that meet the ever-increasing demands for environmental efficiency and profitability in all critical phases of the acquisition and development process.
All new apartment buildings and homes developed and built by Peab will be Svanen-certified. Prior to Christmas 2021, Peab Bygg was granted a basic license for Svanen certification. This means that Svanen, the government’s own environmental label, has given its approval to the conditions for the environmental labeling of future homes.
Norheim Terrasse in Tromsø will be the first to be Svanen-certified. Among the next housing projects to be certified are Osebakken Park in Porsgrunn, Inga Sparbos vei in Tromsø, and Sandefjord Hageby.
“Svanen certification is an important part of our climate and environmental work, and we have worked on obtaining the basic license for a long time,” says Marit Vassmyr, environmental manager at Peab Bygg Norway.
“The Svanen certification obliges us to build energy-efficient homes with good indoor climates and the absence of environmentally and health-hazardous substances. In addition, the building process is quality assured from planning to delivery.”
Leading role in housing construction
“As a local community builder, it is important for Peab Eiendomsutvikling (Property Development) to take a leading role in addressing environmental and climate concerns in housing construction. That is why we decided that all our homes should be Svanen-certified,” says Kristian Høines Mathisen, regional manager at Peab Eiendomsutvikling Nord.
Svanen certification was chosen because the scheme is well known among consumers and sets strict requirements for the building’s environmental impact and sustainability.
“We see many benefits for homebuyers. We know that they want to take responsibility in a time of many environmental and climate challenges. It is also good consumer economics with a Svanen-certified home. It provides a better indoor climate, has lower energy consumption, and more durable materials. A home that lasts longer and is used for several years is good for both the environment and the owner,” says Mathisen.
He is confident that it will become more attractive to buy Svanen-certified homes as environmental requirements are tightened by the authorities and environmental issues become more prominent in people’s consciousness. Peab Eiendomsutvikling considers the start-up costs for Svanen certification to be a profitable investment for the future. Svanen-certified homes from Peab will not be more expensive than others.
Challenging to obtain license
To be approved as a builder of Svanen-certified homes, a basic license is required, followed by approval of each individual building project. The basic license is linked to the Norheim Terrasse building project in Tromsø. This apartment complex is also the first to be eligible for project licenses.
“It has been a comprehensive process and more labor-intensive than we had imagined,” says Daniel Skjønsfjell, site manager for Peab Bjørn Bygg at Norheim Terrasse.
“The Svanen certification has a long list of mandatory requirements for products and procedures. This means that we have to check everything that will be used in the building. If we discover that something is not approved, we have to look for alternatives. And we must ensure that our subcontractors comply with the same requirements. Thus, we need to provide more documentation both in the planning and construction phases,” says Skjønsfjell.
He is collaborating with project engineer Ingrid Sølverud in Peab Bjørn Bygg on the Svanen certification process. Both agree that environmental labeling has many benefits for homebuyers and society.
It’s a big plus that the apartment is environmentally friendly and that we don’t use products containing health and environmentally hazardous substances. This applies, for example, to parquet, floor coverings, paint, adhesive, and grout. The residents will notice it in their bodies through better indoor climate,” says Sølverud.
More bikes, more light
There are also clear advantages for outdoor areas. For example, we are building a bicycle garage with space for two bicycles for each apartment, which is far more than usual. In addition, there are several fractions in the waste sorting process.
Other requirements involve a proportion of the building materials being recyclable, and a logbook must be kept of all materials included in the building. Energy consumption should be 10 percent lower than required in building technical regulations, and there are stricter requirements for daylight.
“We did advanced daylight calculations early in the project. It had a major impact on how we built Norheim Terrasse. To get enough light, even in the dark season, we had to switch to another type of window glass,” explains Daniel Skjønsfjell.
He believes this is a good example of how the requirements of the Svanemerket provide healthier homes and a higher quality of life for residents.
Norheim Terrasse consists of 80 apartments and is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2023. Peab Bjørn Bygg will be visited by inspectors from Svanemerket during the year, as the interior work progresses.
JM sustainable new homes in Sweden, Norway and Finland
JM has long worked to build better from a sustainable perspective. In 2018, they started to environmentally certify their new homes with the Nordic environmental label Svanemerket. This makes them the first Nordic housing developer to have all of their residential production certified with Svanemerket across the entire group, in both Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
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