With high spirits and Corona safety measures, we held the SUSTAINABLE BUILD Accelerator Forum for the fourth time on 17-18th of September, this time in the beautiful setting of The Lab.
Over these two intense and enriching days, the SUSTAINABLE BUILD partnership gathered with selected experts across the industry value chain in a Council, to help this year’s innovators with sparring and ideas on how to scale and accelerate their innovative solutions.

In the late summer of 2019, we started the search for solutions that can create sustainable lives in buildings under the theme “CHANGING LIVES: CHANGING BUILDINGS”. We received no less than 56 applications from 22 different countries. After a competitive selection process, and a corona break, we are now happy to finally present this year’s SUSTAINBLE BUILD innovators!

How can we make better use of buildings’ space and square meters? Can flexible spaces and solutions extend the life span of buildings? What will it take for us to share more and live smaller?

CHANGING LIVES : CHANGING BUILDINGS is the title of the 2020 SUSTAINABLE BUILD Innovation Challenge, which was announced at Building Green in Forum, Copenhagen. The Innovation Challenge is an open invitation to entrepreneurs and companies that calls for solutions for the next generation of buildings to create settings and encourage us to live more sustainable lives.

Social sustainability must be incorporated into construction

In this year’s Innovation Challenge, the SUSTAINABLE BUILD partnership seeks solutions for greater incorporation of social, environmental and economic sustainability when we build and renovate buildings. Hanne Juel of Circular Economy Central Denmark Region, a SUSTAINABLE BUILD partner, hopes to see innovations that can bridge the gap between environmental and social sustainability:

“We spend many hours of our lives inside flats and behind closed doors. We need buildings to make room for informal spaces where people can come together and, when building, we also need to think across social groups. What we need is much more social sustainability in the build environment concurrent with increased sustainability in terms of environmental impact and the use of resources.”

Smaller living spaces, more communal areas

Martin Thue Jacobsen, a SUSTAINABLE BUILD partner and Urban Developer at PensionDenmark, seeks new solutions that focus on the life that people live in buildings and solutions that can connect people – neighbours, companies and other users – in communities that share resources and facilities in new ways:

“We need to design and construct buildings to accommodate new ways of living, breaking the boundaries between what is yours, mine and shared. We need new solutions to create gathering points that make sure we can share what can actually be shared, thereby reducing overall resource consumption: for example, via new digital and physical platforms that can encourage communities and sharing between residents and neighbourhoods.”

Flexibility and multifunctionality as key elements

In order to build and renovate in a way that supports greater flexibility and multifunctionality, we need new solutions. The SUSTAINABLE BUILD partnership also includes Henning Larsen Architects, represented by Signe Kongebro, Head of Sustainability. What she would like to see is new, smart solutions that address how existing spaces can accommodate multiple needs and purposes at the same time:

“We know that 2019’s sustainable construction industry is not about building more, but smarter. We talk a lot about how to recycle a wall. But the fact of the matter is that the wall should remain – and the space should be recycled instead. In other words, it is not the wall we should regard as a resource, but the space. How can we ensure that more people can use the spaces we create in a smarter way?”

Marlene Haugaard, Director of Engineering at NCC Building and a SUSTAINABLE BUILD partner, agrees:

I can’t wait to see solutions for making buildings smarter and more flexible. I’m thinking not only about how more people can use the buildings we create, but also how we can make it more attractive to live in the building through various stages of life. Or new solutions that accommodate these changing needs in a different way.”

Buildings with a longer life span

Better utilisation of buildings’ spaces will help extend their life span, thereby reducing their overall consumption of resources. Michael Aastrup, Global Account Director at Tarkett and a SUSTAINABLE BUILD partner, hopes to see solutions that accommodate increased usage, while supporting recycling and circularity:

What will it require of our buildings if they are used 24/7? At the same time as we open the boundaries of what is yours, mine and ours, and thereby wearing out the same square metres?” he asks. “It places much higher demands on the durability of components and flexibility in terms of renovation, while not compromising on either sustainability, health or circularity.”

Søren Mejer of The Landowners’ Investment Foundation agrees. He hopes to see solutions that address how we can renovate and adapt existing buildings to suit the lives we live in them.

In Denmark, when we talk about ‘the buildings of tomorrow’, it primarily revolves around renovating the existing building stock, so it can accommodate the needs of the future. That is why it is essential to find new and better solutions for adapting existing buildings in a way that is both sustainable and preserves the building’s aesthetic and user value.”

This is the fourth Innovation Challenge held by SUSTAINABLE BUILD since the project initiated in 2015, as part of The Danish Industry Foundation’s focus on sustainable production.

Do you have an innovation or solution that could contribute to more sustainable lives in buildings? If so, then submit your SUSTAINABLE BUILD Innovation Challenge entry application now, or no later than February 1st, 2020 on:


If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact:

Maria Hyllehøj (Project Manager) on +45 30600858 or mahy@dac.dk

SUSTAINABLE BUILD is a partnership between key stakeholders across the Danish building industry: Central Region Denmark, Henning Larsen, NCC, PensionDenmark and Tarkett. The initiative has been made possible with support from The Landowners’ Investment Foundation (GI) and The Danish Industry Foundation (IF) and was launched in the wake of The Danish Industry Foundation’s call for themes related to sustainable production. Besides the above-mentioned partners, the initiative also includes municipalities and stakeholders across the value chain of the building industry along with related industrial companies.

Our lives in cities and buildings are changing. In 2030 around 60% of us will be living in cities, at the same time, we must lower our carbon footprint radically. In addition, around 210.000 Danes feel lonely, while 7 out of 10 would like more community where they live. These challenges require significant changes in the built environment, urging us to start focusing a lot more on both social, environmental and economic sustainability. How then, do we build and renovate buildings so that they support and embody all the aspects of sustainability at once? This is the question SUSTAINABLE BUILD is focusing on, in our Innovation Challenge 2020:


It is crucial that we find new solutions that support and enable us to live more sustainably, and as we spend 80-90% of our lives indoor, a great potential lies in finding parts of the solution here. During August and September, we have been around Denmark and together with dedicated stakeholders across the value chain of the building industry, we have explored how our homes, buildings and neighborhoods can inspire, support and urge us to lead more social, active lives, whilst also lowering our use of resources. The discussions have been lively and rewarding. Everything from smart buildings and rooms that can adjust to different needs and seasons of life, to services and platforms that foster trust, safety and community, have been discussed and recommended as an integrated part of building sustainably.

These, and many other perspectives, have been included to shape our Innovation Challenge 2020, which we are excited to announce at Building Green in Forum Friday the 31st of October from 15:00-16:00. It takes place at the VIP DISCUSSIONS stage – join us!

The innovation challenge is open for entrepreneurs and businesses in Denmark as well as globally. The goal is to identify and accelerate innovations which can solve some of the big challenges we face within the built environment and encourage sustainable living in our buildings.

Join us and attend when we debate and launch this years’ Innovation Challenge, along with:

We look forward to seeing you!

SUSTAINABLE BUILD is a partnership between key stakeholders across the Danish building industry: Central Region Denmark, Henning Larsen, NCC, PensionDenmark and Tarkett. The initiative has been made possible with support from The Landowners’ Investment Foundation (GI) and The Danish Industry Foundation (IF). Besides the above mentioned partners, the initiative also includes municipalities, stakeholders across the value chain of the building industry along with related industrial companies.

Attend the debate and the announcement of this years’ Sustainable Build Innovation Challenge

For the fourth year, SUSTAINABLE BUILD is focusing on the challenges of the construction industry, while at the same time looking for solutions that can help to make the construction industry radically more sustainable. We invite you and your company to follow the process and invite you to the areas where you have special knowledge or skills to contribute.

This is the fourth time that SUSTAINABLE BUILD’s innovation program has been launched. We start by bringing together the industry across the value chain of so-called Build-Up’s to delve into the theme and identify the core challenges and missing solutions that put a stop to sustainable change.

It will take place from August to September, where we invite players across the industry and the country to help identify the most important challenges and areas of focus for Build-Up’s in Aalborg, Fredericia and Copenhagen respectively. Next, the innovation challenge is designed, where we call for the lack of solutions from innovators around the world.

Focus for the upcoming year

SUSTAINABLE BUILD’s themes always come from the construction industry itself and are determined in collaboration with the steering committee. There has been a broad consensus that we are not done with having the users and life in our buildings downtown. We are therefore building on the theme from last year, “The Good Indoor Life” and looking at how we ensure that our buildings can create a much more sustainable framework for living.

Our lives in cities and buildings are changing. By 2030, 60% of us will live in cities, so we will have less space to live in, which increases the need for flexible use and interior design in residential, commercial and public buildings. Solutions are increasingly needed that can facilitate sharing of what we can share, reducing overall resource consumption, and solutions that meet the increased pressure on materials and components when using the same areas more .

Our lives indoors are increasingly subject to worrying statistics about disease-promoting inactivity, loneliness, and depression, increasing the need for integrated solutions that encourage us to move and make the sustainable and social choices of everyday life.

These are some of the areas we will be exploring for our Build Ups and we look forward to meeting players from our network again in the coming months and thereby sharpen our understanding of the industry’s challenges in these areas.

You can follow the process

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Join us!

If you would like to contribute to anchoring sustainable construction solutions, you are also welcome to contact us and hear about your opportunities to become part of the SUSTAINABLE BUILD network. Contact Maria Hyllehøj, Project Manager for SUSTAINABLE BUILD at mahy@dac.dk or +45 30600858