ESG analysts: Green buildings and materials aren’t more expensive. How to increase demand.

Green buildings receive a lot of attention, but do they live up to the hype? Yes, according to Nordea’s Environmental Social Governance analyst Martin Zistler, who explains why green buildings are the future.

Photo: Greenbuilt Dialogue Conference – Partner Oslo European Green Capital 2019.

“We haven’t succeeded until we stop talking about buildings as green when it has become the norm to build that way,” says Zistler (1).

Sustainability and more resource-efficient solutions are among the significant trends for the construction industry in 2024, according to Autodesk interviews. Environmental measures and innovation are not necessarily more expensive.

The Green Building Alliance, which oversees the BREEAM-NOR certification in Norway, and Swan-labeled construction consistently show that environmental measures or innovation are not necessarily more expensive, but rather the opposite because the process is often better.

The construction phase, including preliminary phases, accounts for only 1/3 of the construction cost over a building’s estimated 50-year lifespan with maintenance and repairs but is prioritized to a small extent.

Materials – an overlooked ESG factor

Buildings account for 40% footprint – including social aspects – worldwide and is crucial to include in sustainable development. Materials account for approximately 70% of the footprint in the construction industry, and climate measures with materials do not necessarily cost more, according to the Building Alliance and city architect.

Imported goods account for over 60% of the consumer and climate partner footprint. Incorrect measurement methods need correction, and double importance becomes part of the EU taxonomy (scope 3 and 4).

Purmo Termopanel has ISO14001 environmental leadership certification and EPD

Photo: Thermopanel Purmo has ISO14001 certification and EPD delivered to buildings with high sustainability ambitions.

Competency gap between sustainable jobs and measures.

Studies show a competency gap between sustainable jobs and sustainable measures. Lack of knowledge hinders sustainable buildings, as indicated by city architects. Sustainable development is highlighted as an important part of the value base, fields of expertise, and as an interdisciplinary theme for kindergartens and schools. However, research shows that education related to sustainable development is limited, fragmented, and heavily dependent on individual teachers.

A McKinsey study in 2018 shows that actors in the construction industry mostly deal with known and local materials. The construction industry stands out extremely with larger global constellations in building materials, especially for concrete. Only 20% of companies account for 90% of the profit. It is unfortunate for the economy to have too much economic power in a few hands, as demonstrated by “the father of capitalism” Adam Smith.

A study in neighborhoods showed that what significantly made a difference for energy-saving measures was when neighbors succeeded rather than just saving money, and their children could have a better future. Competition can thus be a strong driving force.

 Glasopor lightweight fill material for foundation delivered to The Plus BREEAM Outstanding project.

Photo: Glasopor lightweight fill material for foundation delivered to The Plus BREEAM Outstanding project.

Massive communication in cooperation for ESG scaling.

Communication should be part of the ESG strategy and planning, Forbes claims. To achieve goals on time and to scale by showing that others can do it, we need massive and intense communication. Collaboration will naturally have the greatest effect.

Written communication and marketing are not the main focus in the construction industry where building owners and consultants do not get paid for this work. Communication requirements are part of environmental management certifications and the EU taxonomy for transparent and verifiable sustainability measures. Sharing ESG information across multiple channels is recommended by marketing leaders. Marketing is considered an investment by market leaders today, but marketing budgets are prioritized little in the conservative construction industry.

By this, we mean that BREEAM, Swan, and similar certifications for building materials, buildings, and construction must require communication of measures in a consistent and transparent manner. The Greenbuilt online portal takes action on sustainability (ESG*) scaling with massive ESG communication with all types of actors in the construction industry in Norwegian and English. We believe online communication in cooperation is exceptionally effective for reaching the right audience at the right time when Norwegians, including professionals, make 40 million Google searches every day.

To achieve a systematic approach to increased knowledge, we have proposed a template for communication that you are welcome to test and comment on. ESG Building Catalog – Environmentally verified building products, buildings and resources (

Contact us to publish ESG building materials, buildings, and resources from NOK 0! / +47 47847774

Our revenue comes solely from pre-qualified ESG actors in the construction industry who want to contribute to scaling and advertise with us. Job articles are one of several opportunities to contribute to development. Our goal is to become the preferred portal for ESG buildings, building materials, and resources in the English language.


*Environmental Social Governance (ESG) – finansielt utrykk inkludert verifisert dokumentasjon som årsregnskap.

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(2) 2024 Construction Trends: 30+ Experts Share Insight – Digital Builder (

(3) Innlegg: Bærekraft – det er forskjell på rett og riktig • Byggeindustrien

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(5) Circular Ecodesign, Materials and the Value Chain (

(6) NTNU Open: Strategisk samarbeid mellom byggherre, entreprenør og underentreprenør

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(8) Utdanning for bærekraftig utvikling – mellom intensjoner og praksis (

(9) Value creation in European building materials—where do the opportunities lie? | McKinsey

(10) Adam Smith, the Competitive Process, and the Flawed Consumer Welfare Standard | GRUR International | Oxford Academic (


(12) Why Communications Should Be Part Of ESG Strategy Planning (

(13) The role of communication in ESG initiatives | UNLEASH

(14) Don’t Cut Your Marketing Budget in a Recession (