About - Centre for Green Shift in the Built Environment
About the Centre
About the Centre
The Green2050 Centre
The Green2050 Centre
Changes in climate, demography, society and technology force us to rethink how we design, construct, operate, and renew all our infrastructures to cope with these external pressures.
The process of change is not static, it is more a transitional loop of always improving and [re]-thinking. There are four phases within the transitional loop: design, construct, service and renew, which are connected through management processes and actions. Constant [re]-inventing and [re]-thinking of our infrastructure and built environment in all four phases and processes elevates our infrastructures to the next level towards the future better state, where the built environment has minimal negative impact on nature. This development further towards the green future is what we see as the green shift.
In a green shift:
- Resources will be shared, and waste reused, for the benefit of citizens and society, as well as businesses and industry (that can realize new production processes, services, business models and new markets) and for the sustainable usage of the resources themselves.
- The majority of greenhouse gas emission connected to transport will be reduced through smart solutions.
- New technologies detecting threats early will contribute to reductions in damages to the built environment, recovery time and mortality, resulting in considerable positive socio-economic effects.
The success of the centre will be measured by supporting existing initiatives and contributing to the launch of new research and development projects in the field of engineering, construction, and infrastructure.
This will reduce CO2 emissions from the construction and civil engineering sector by focusing on the research areas related to resource efficiency, mobility and resilience. This will provide a positive contribution towards achieving the national CO2 targets and support the green shift. It should be possible to measure and demonstrate the results of that research in the form of significantly reduced CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions from the building and Infrastructure sector in Norway by 2030.
You can read on about the Impact of Green2050.
We need to be resource-efficient during the whole life cycle of each element of the built environment, managing our limited resources including materials, land, water, time, human, as well as energy ensuring their utilization usage in a sustainable manner while minimizing negative impacts on the environment as a resource on its own.
We need to shift from the currently used ‘’linear economic model’’ of take-make-use-dispose to a ‘’resource-efficient circular model’’. To ensure such a green shift, resources need to be shared, and waste needs to be reused. Additionally, people can benefit from improved quality of the built environment and hence improved quality of life, environment and well-being with reduced costs, disruption, and emissions.
The concept of a green shift in the built environment is a major success factor within the roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe (COM (2011) 571) that outlines how we can achieve the necessary transformation of Europe's economy into a sustainable one by 2050. Despite this, there is little and/or insufficient knowledge or appropriate methods and tools for supporting this concept and its wide scale applications, as well as for an assessment of the outcomes. Knowledge, methods and tools need to be developed and brought from research via knowledge transfer, education and innovation into industry, economy and society.
Renovation waves: The government owned built environments in Norway are worth over 7300 billion NOK. According to RIFs report: state of the nation (2021), the estimated total maintenance/upgradation cost of this infrastructure is 3200 billion NOK (Buildings 225 BNOK, Railway infrastructure 600 BNOK, Water and Wastewater Infrastructure 770). This is 1/3 of the total oil fond (worth approx. 1100 billion NOK in 2020) and 8 times the GDP of Norway. Similarly, more than 220 million building units, representing 85% of the EU’s building stock, were built before 2001. 85-95% of the buildings that exist today will still be standing in 2050. The extreme weather events are accelerating the aging of infrastructure as well as demanding frequent renovations. There is a need for knowledge to develop smarter renovation strategies to resource efficient, cost saving, and environmentally friendly solutions.
The transport sector is the major contributor to greenhouse gases and therefore all transport modes need to become more sustainable, with green alternatives widely available and the right incentives put in place to drive the transition. The green shift requires reducing emissions and increasing the share of public transport and bicycle transport. What is required to make it more attractive to use a bike instead of the car?
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, said: “To reach our climate targets, emissions from the transport sector must get on a clear downward trend. Today’s strategy will shift the way people and goods move across Europe and make it easy to combine different modes of transport in a single journey. We’ve set ambitious targets for the entire transport system to ensure a sustainable, smart, and resilient return from the COVID-19 crisis.”
The world is becoming more vulnerable to the impacts of natural and anthropogenic hazards for all sorts of reasons, including:
- population growth
- various types of environmental degradation
- aging infrastructure
- changes in patterns of exposure due to climate change
These disasters are costing lives and threatening to undermine society’s efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals as well as peace and welfare in the world.
According to EU commission “Weather-related disasters could affect around 66% of the European population annually by 2100, potentially resulting in a 50-fold increase in fatalities compared to today”.
UNISDR (2018) quotes “Nearly 87% of disaster related spending goes on response, reconstruction and rehabilitation and only 13% goes towards managing the risks, which are driving these disasters in the first place.
Even with all the focus put on budgets, timelines, and processes, safety throughout the whole lifecycle of a construction shall still come first. As per the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (Arbeidstilsynet), every fifth of all accidents in Norway is related to construction sites. Despite the decreasing trend in the incidence of both fatal and non-fatal accidents during constructions in Europe, the construction sector remains the most hazardous commercial workplace environments in terms of nonfatal job accidents and is also one of the three most dangerous fields in terms of fatal accident.
From a safety perspective, further knowledge is needed to establish smart working places to act in a pre-emptive way against on-site accident risks. In this context automated systems such as collision avoidance of construction equipment is becoming increasingly popular.
To progress the state-of-the art further an enhanced and integrated system supported by massive IoT, edge computation coupled with on-site communication between, construction equipment, construction elements, workers, and soil/ground responses is highly needed. By means of this, real time warnings can be issued to workers to avert potential accidents and be a pronounced contributor to reduce the gap between perceived risk and actual risks.
NHO's perspective report suggests that there is a demand for the creation of at least 1 million new jobs in Norway in the next decades. Due to expected downsizing of petroleum activities, exports from mainland Norway must as a minimum double. Several international studies confirm that the water sector as one of the fastest growing economic sectors for future growth.