This was the question at a seminar on sustainable buildings in Dalarna in june 2014.
Mats Rönnelid from the University of Dalarna presented the pros and cons on the building sector in Dalarna concluding:
- In Dalarna exist a good cooperation between actors in the building chain. In addition enterprises, the university, municipalities and regional actors are networking, developing the sector and opening up for innovations.
- Dalarna works well on energy effectiveness in buildings and has most low-energy buildings per capita in Sweden. However Dalarna is not known for this work which leads him to the conclusion that we need to become prouder about what we have achieved and that we have to become better in demonstrating what we do.
- Dalarna is good in building and renovation of single family homes. Something that we could focus more on, and become experts on.
- Compared to Vorarlberg, a region with a long tradition on sustainable buildings, Dalarna can do more to improve quality in handcraft and the choice of materials and we certainly need more politicians that have the courage to be frontrunners.
An expert from Vorarlberg, Karl Torghele, Spectrum GmbH, got the task to compare a newly built school in Dalarna with schools in Europe/Austria and evaluate the performance regarding energy efficiency and ecological footprint as well as indoor air quality.
Karls answer was clear: Yes, you can build energy efficient, but you can become better in choice of materials!
The overall energy performance of the building (calculated 35 kwh/m2) was good, with high airtightness and good ventilation system. However the windows and walls could have higher U-values and the insulation of ducts for incoming air could be better. The biggest improvements can be made in the choice of materials. – Why didn´t you use massive wood instead of OSB, or cellulose fiber instead of mineral fiber in walls, was Karls questions to the audience who also got suggestions on how to replace the existing PVC-flooring and halogenated hydro carbon foams with more environmental friendly products. With these improvements done the building could get 850 out of 900 KGA points. A very good figure comparable with the best buildings in Vorarlberg.