Learn about reuse of materials and be part of the climate transition in the construction sector!

11 February 2021

Too much material is used in the construction sector, both in new build projects and when renovating buildings. Many serviceable materials and products are thrown away unnecessarily when buildings are demolished, which is a big waste of resources. The Byggutmaningarna (Construction Challenges) initiative focusing on the theme of Reuse has provided Bengt Dahlgren, Riksbyggen and Vasakronan, three companies in the construction sector, with concrete tools and solutions to conduct climate-smart daily operations.

“If serviceable products of the right quality already exist, there’s no real point in buying new ones. By reusing existing products and materials, we can make more efficient use of resources in the construction sector. The reusable materials market needs to mature in order for demand to increase. Clear standards and marketplaces need to be introduced to make purchasing reused building materials as easy as purchasing new ones,” explains project manager Tim Jonsson at Riksbyggen. The company took part in the recently completed first round of the Byggutmaningarna construction challenges, where the theme was Reuse.

Participating in Byggutmaningarna’s challenge gives companies greater insight into property owners’ needs and the possibilities of materials reuse, along with a practical understanding of which materials can be reused in the construction process and how this can be done. A key part of successfully reusing materials is for organisations to set themselves clear goals and targets at local and regional level, which then enables them to regularly discuss and compare experiences with each other.

“Reuse in the construction sector is too large and complex a matter for individual companies to resolve on their own. The only way to succeed is to form partnerships and collaborations within the sector. To consolidate and develop this knowledge in our own organisation, we have scheduled an internal technology-themed lunch and an internal workshop on reuse, which we are really looking forward to,” says Maria Perzon, senior sustainability consultant and sustainability manager at Bengt Dahlgren AB.

“Above all, I’ve learned more about how to approach the issue of materials reuse, both with regard to goal-setting and what materials are actually suitable for reusing in construction projects. It’s also been valuable to discuss the process of reuse and the difference between new build/conversion and renovation and how this affects the possibilities for reusing materials. At Riksbyggen, I will go over the knowledge gained from participating in the Byggutmaningarna challenge with our local steering committee for sustainable development here in Gothenburg. I hope we can also take this knowledge with us to other projects than those we specifically discussed during Byggutmaningarna,” says Tim Jonsson, project manager at Riksbyggen.

Having the opportunity to focus more closely on one area together with other companies and experts in the field helps us maintain a high level of ambition regarding sustainability in general, as well as raising our collective level of knowledge in that specific area.

“In the longer term, reusing materials will lead to greater accessibility and a wider selection of available products as demand grows. This would result in more stocks being kept of reusable materials and products, which in turn could encourage the development of better logistics and transport solutions as well as a better guarantee system than the one that exists today,” says Anton Zita, innovation leader at Bengt Dahlgren AB.

“We need to get better at incorporating long-term thinking into our new build projects and at reusing existing materials. I hope more companies will see the benefits of the Byggutmaningarna challenges, and going forward I also see potential for getting politicians involved at local, regional or perhaps national level. This an incredibly exciting initiative that more people should be involved in. The word ‘challenge’ is exciting in itself. Maybe we could egg each other on and make more of a competition out of it,” concludes Amanda Höjer, assistant project manager at Vasakronan.

The next round of Byggutmaningarna on the theme of Reuse will start in April, and will offer companies the same help and knowledge about how to develop their working methods.

Från vänster: Peter Selberg, Amanda Höjer, Anton Zita, Maria Perzon, Tim Jonsson och Anton Franker
Left to right: Peter Selberg, Amanda Höjer, Anton Zita, Maria Perzon, Tim Jonsson, Anton Franker


Read more about Byggutmaningarna and take up the challenge! (Swedish)

Behind the is Klimat2030 (Region Västra Götaland) and Byggföretagen with the roadmap for a climate-neutral and competitive construction and civil engineering sector. In the theme of Recycling, we collaborate with the project Återbruk Väst within Centrum för Cirkulärt Byggande.


For more information, please contact;

Peter Selberg, Research Strategist Positive Footprint Housing - Brf Viva Riksbyggen

+46 730 57 26 25 peter.selberg@johannebergsciencepark.com LinkedIn