Putting a price on green

Mads Mysen and Kristin Holthe, SINTEF Building and Infrastructure, believe GLITNE  will encourage industry to adopt environmental measures much more rapidly than we have seen until now. Photo: Ståle Andersen © SINTEF

Mads Mysen and Kristin Holthe, SINTEF Building and Infrastructure, believe GLITNE will encourage industry to adopt environmental measures much more rapidly than we have seen until now. Photo: Ståle Andersen © SINTEF

The most environmentally friendly product in the building materials store could soon be the cheapest too.

Many people have thought of it before. Now it is coming to pass: a system that will reward decisionmakers and building owners who adopt environmental measures in their buildings. The system provides a tool that will document hazardous emissions produced by construction components, such as the window or door you might be thinking of buying.

The Snøhetta architects partnership, the Bellona environmental pressure group, SINTEF and 14 construction companies are working towards this end.

They want the environment to be taken seriously by the building industry, and they intend to make environmentally efficient buildings more competitive.

Negative image

The building industry has a negative image where the environment is concerned, and it is responsible for no less than 40 percent of Norway’s environmental footprint.

The roots of this lie as early as in the planning and design of buildings, and continue with the manufacture and transport of construction materials. And while paper, battery and glass manufacturers are accepting responsibility for treating and recycling their waste, there are no equivalent schemes in place for when buildings are renovated or demolished.

“We want future building owners to be more conscious of the situation, and to make choices that will have the least possible impact on the environment,” say Kristin Holthe and Mads Mysen of SINTEF Building Research. The two have set up a research group that is leading a project called GLITNE.

They believe that the solution is to set out requirements for adequate information all along the value chain, so that environmental impacts can be documented.

Read more on: NTNU’s Magazine Gemini

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