An urgent need for change

January 30th, 2023

On 19th January stakeholders in the building industry came together for the workshop Round Table for Circularity and had a meaningful conversation on how to implement a circular system in the industry. This is a pressing matter as there is an urgent need for change. 

The workshop was organized by Iceland Design and Architecture, Architectures Association of Iceland, Efla engineers and Green Building Council Iceland in collaboration with the Federation of Icelandic Industries, Reykjavík City and The Government Property Agency.

Around forty important people from all of the value chain of the building industry took part in the workshop. There were representatives from real estate companies, contracting firms, engineering firms, institutions, architect firms and the government.

The conclusion from the workshop was very clear: 

Compared to the neighboring countries, Iceland is behind when it comes to implementing circularity within the building industry and there is urgent need for change. 

What needs to be done?

  • New regulations for circularity
  • A market square for used construction products
  • A dynamic research center for the building industry
  • Design new buildings with an emphasis on recycling and flexibility
  • Redesign and reutilise older buildings
  • A green incentive system for the building industry
  • A strong collaboration between all stakeholders

It is clear that there is a great need for a focused conversation and collaboration across all invested parties. All participants at the workshop agreed how important it is that the whole building industry unites in actions needed to implement a circular system across all fields of the industry. These issues are already being worked on in many parts of the field but the entire chain must work together in order to ensure success. 

At the beginning of the meeting participants got inspiring talks by Helle Redder Momsen, Head of Secretariat for the Nordic collaboration on Sustainable Construction in Denmark and Alexander van Leersum, director of Build to Impact in Rotterdam, Netherlands, who shared their experience of implementing circular systems in the building industry. Arnhildur Pálmadóttir, architect, and Áróra Árnadóttir, from Green Building Council Iceland, went over recent examples of sustainable projects in Iceland and what the current status is of implementation of a circular system in the building industry in Iceland. 

After the workshop there was an open meeting in Gróska where guests got insight into this important conversation. A lively panel discussion was a part of the meeting. Participants in the panel were Borghildur Sturludóttir, head of department at Reykjavík’s planning office, Friðjón Sigurðsson, director of development at Reitir real estate, Halldór Eiríksson, director of Samark, Hermann Jónsson, director of HMS and Kristrún Tinna Gunnarsdóttir, director of strategy and sustainability at Íslandsbanki. 

The project Round Table for Circulation is produced with support from Askur research fund for construction. 

January 30th, 2023
Álfrún Pálsdóttir
Víðir Björnsson


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