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1st Nordic Conference on Zero Emission and Plus Energy Buildings

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The conference presents state-of-the art research and practical solutions that pave the way towards a low carbon built environment, with a focus on Nordic countries.

The Challenge

It is now widely known that the construction sector has a key role in contributing to the mitigation of global greenhouse gas emissions. In Europe, the construction and use of buildings are responsible for 42% of our final energy consumption, 35% of greenhouse gas emissions, and more than 50% of all extracted materials (European Commission, 2011). Acknowledging this, in 2011, the European Commission put forward the following ambition in the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe:


‘By 2020 the renovation and construction of buildings and infrastructure will be made to high resource efficiency levels. The Life-cycle approach will be widely applied; all new buildings will be nearly zero-energy and highly material efficient, and policies for renovating the existing building stock will be in place so that it is cost-efficiently refurbished at a rate of 2% per year.’


An important instrument to achieve this ambition is the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD, Directive 2002/91/EC). The directive aims to improve energy efficiency in buildings and encourage building renovation. By 2020, it requires that all new buildings should be ‘nearly zero energy’ in their operation. The directive also promotes cost-effective renovation work, introduces a smartness indicator for buildings, simplifies the inspection of heating and air conditioning systems, and promotes electro-mobility by setting up a framework for parking spaces for electric vehicles.


The Nordic countries have traditionally been frontrunners in implementing energy efficiency in buildings. Since 2008, researchers and professional within the Nordic building industry have come together bi-annually in the Nordic passive house conference PassivhusNorden. The vision of the founders was to increase the construction of energy-efficient buildings and energy-efficient renovation of existing buildings in the Nordic region. The common goal of the PassivhusNorden initiative was co-operation and coordination of national and local activities in the field of passive houses and energy-efficient buildings:


  • To initiate and operate common research and development projects
  • To act together for a continuous knowledge increase around energy-efficient buildings and to spread experiences from projects to the whole Nordic Region
  • To coordinate standards, definitions and terms for passive houses and energy-efficient buildings
  • To act for a coordinated commercial Nordic platform for increasing the market of products and systems for energy-efficient buildings

These goals, formulated over 10 years ago, are still valid today. However, over the years, the ambitions for energy efficient buildings have increased, and the scope has widened. We have progressed from passive and low energy buildings to nearly zero-energy buildings, carbon neutral buildings, and even plus-energy buildings. The scope has gone from focusing on single buildings, to taking a neighbourhood or even district level perspective. At the last conference in Helsinki in 2017, it was therefore decided to change the name and focus of the conference. The result was the Nordic Conference on Zero Emission and Plus Energy Buildings. However, the overall goal remains; to accelerate the transformation towards a carbon neutral building sector. We look forward to continuing the fruitful dialogue and valuable knowledge exchange!


During the conference you will experience more than 70 presentations from practitioners and researchers in the field. You may also visit exhibitions, participate in workshops, and join excursions to realized Zero Emission and Plus Energy Buildings in the area, e.g. the PowerHouse Brattørkaia.


Confirmed keynotes

6 November

09:30-10:15 ‘The development and management of carbon neutral buildings: Challenges and opportunities’
Anna Denell, Sustainability Director at Vasakronan, Sweden


17:00-17:45 ‘Is Heaven a Place on Earth?’
Kjetil Thorsen, Partner of Snøhetta, Norway


7 November

09:00-09:45 ‘The world needs a new approach. Buildings as key players in the transformation to a low carbon society’
Harald Schnur, Division Director, Siemens Smart Infrastructure, Finland and Baltic countries


09:45-10:15 ‘How to deal with the users? Consumer roles and everyday practices in Zero Carbon Built environments’
Kirsten Gram-Hanssen, Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark


17:00-17:45 ‘Is this enough to save the future? The added value of buildings with integrated sustainability concepts’
Matthias Schuler, founder of Transsolar KlimaEngineering, Germany



There are several ways to participate in the conference:


The Research Presenter Track

You submit and present a scientific paper, accepted papers will be published in IOP Science Conference Series, which provides open access and is indexed by Scopus. There will also be the possilbity to present only a poster without a formal oral presentation.


The Practice Presenter Track

You submit and present some experiences from working with projects in your professional life. You do not have to write a full paper, only a one page abstract. The abstract and presentation may be in English or in a Nordic language. There will also be the possibility to present a poster or an exhibition, without a formal oral presentation.


The Spectator Track

You only register for participation at the conference, without presenting anaything. You will listen to presentations of research and practical experiences presented at the conference. You may also attend excursion and workshops that will be arranged during the conference.

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