STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN Our future is affected by various phenomena. Economic crises, social unrest and war are having, and have had, major consequences for global development and human wellbeing. There is, however, a phenomenon whose consequences we have not yet fully experienced, and that is climate change. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, floods and rising temperatures are only the start of the problems we face. We therefore have to consider what impact our actions have on our climate.
At Rikshem, we are investing in reducing carbon emissions through energy savings in our housing stock. In 2013 and 2014, we cut our carbon emissions by around 2,000 tonnes per year. We take our role in the public housing sector seriously, not least, in this time of a major housing shortage, by beginning extensive renovations of rental apartments. We prioritise industrial building in wood and last summer we placed the biggest newbuild order since the days of the Million Programme. The agreement with Lindbäcks Bygg involves building 2,500 apartments. Work on the first 370 apartments began in Uppsala on 18 June. Rikshem’s order from Lindbäcks and the deal with Folkhem will bring lower carbon emissions since the buildings are being constructed in wood. Folkhem has also recently signed an agreement with Martinsons. It is important for us to build sustainably for the future, in environmental and economic terms. We therefore prioritise collaboration with manufacturers, architects and structural engineers.
I am convinced that in the future people will demand even higher standards from their housing. Not just whether the feature wall should be purple or grey, with or without a balcony, but also how the climate and our environment are affected by the construction process and material choices. The fact is that people who buy apartments in wooden buildings enjoy a better indoor climate and are happier than those who live in concrete buildings. I therefore believe we’ll see more and more newbuilds using wood over the coming decades. Research supports the claims about happiness and the indoor climate in wooden buildings.
The journey of building in wood has only just begun, and I look forward to Rikshem and Folkhem breaking ground on Sweden’s tallest wooden building, rising 22 storeys in Sundbyberg. For the sake of the climate, if nothing else.