March 2021

Construction goes even more sustainable in the Arctic

Published: March 26, 2021

Global climate change challenge and aspiration to improve living conditions in the High North have inspired a group of researchers from Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden to initiate a project in the field of construction – “Green Arctic Building” (GrAB). What do buildings have to do with the climate change? One part of the answers is that maintaining comfortable indoor conditions accounts for almost 40% of energy consumption of a building.  Reducing energy costs for our buildings will not only significantly save, but also considerably reduce CO2 emissions, which will ultimately soften the impact on the environment and help slow climate change.
One of the main focuses of the project is on improving the sustainability of urban areas and buildings in the High North. The project team desires to create and promote environmental innovation in the field of “green” building adapted for the Arctic region. It is obvious that constructing a building with low carbon footprint in the High North is more challenging than in temperate climate further south.

There are around 250 sensors in the pilot houses, measuring temperature and humidity. Students had the chance to assemble part of them.

Kicked-off January 2019, the project has already achieved some tangible results – the construction of two identical houses (model objects) in Murmansk and Petrozavodsk within the same timeframe. Researchers have carefully chosen the materials that match “green” building criteria: being reused and recycled later on. By applying double-log and frame-based construction technologies, different insulation materials, 250 temperature and humidity sensors the project researchers look forward to finding out the best possible solutions for the harsh climatic conditions of the Arctic. Both 70m2 model objects were successfully finalized in strikingly short time – 3 months of construction – by the end of 2020.





The model objects will serve as laboratories for facilitating research in the field of eco-friendly and energy-efficient construction technologies.

Design, large-scale construction and model objects launch are already behind, but the most interesting things are still ahead. The project group is buzzing with a lot of stuff: indoor and outdoor urban environment quality, efficient energy systems, building technologies issues, UAV thermal imaging. The researchers are carrying out comparative study on “green” standards and regulations in the construction sector in Russia and Nordic countries. This work will result in a set of recommendations for the Arctic construction.