To build sustainably

Text Isabelle Kliger Published 23 April, 2020
Care for the environment has always been a priority for Stockholm-based real estate company Wallfast. The sustainability initiatives start in the property development phase and continue through construction and management. And even beyond.  “We can’t stop building, but we can build more sustainably,” says Joakim Bejtoft, Head of Project Development, at Wallfast.  

There is no denying the effect that property development and construction have on the environment. According to a study by the Swedish Construction Federation and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, the total climate impact of construction processes in Sweden equivalently amounts to some 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year, caused by everything from the production of building materials to transport and construction processes. This is equivalent to the emissions produced by all cars in Sweden. 

In the meantime, however, the fact remains that people continue to need homes and businesses need premises. 

So what does building sustainably mean in practice? 

“Firstly, we aim to use more sustainable materials, like timber, for example. However, that is not always possible. Concrete is incredibly bad for the environment so, when we do have to use it, we look for a type of concrete with less climate impact if possible,” says Bejtoft.

Joakim Bejtoft, byggproduktionschef Wallfast.

“We also aim for climate-smart construction solutions, making the building more energy-efficient in its operational phase. For example, we install solar panels and drill for geothermal heating, which we are planning to do in the Persikan project, or install piping for aqua thermal heating, like we are planning to at Värtan. Insulation is also crucial to energy efficiency,” continues Bejtoft. 

Further, building close to already existing infrastructure and facilities enables future residents to use public transportation. 


ISO and the Swan Certifications

Sustainability is nothing new for Wallfast. The company has been ISO 14001-certified since 2002. These days, the minimum environmental standard followed by Wallfast regarding construction is that of Nordic environmental certification agency, the Swan. To receive this eco-label, real estate companies have to comply with strict limits on energy consumption, as well as chemical and material use, among other things. As a result, buildings certified by the Swan consume on average 10% less energy than specified by the building code, BBR. 

In some cases, Wallfast has taken its sustainability efforts up yet another notch. When combined, the Persikan solutions will make the building 45% better than the building code. Another example; the Värtan development in Stockholm’s Södra Värtahamnen will be the first Wallfast project to seek a prestigious “gold” certification from the Sweden Green Building Council (Miljöbyggnad Guld),which places strict demands on both living quality and sustainability.