Project Introduction

This project aims to evaluate how the transition towards sustainable architecture could evolve after the failure to reach many of the 2020 sustainability goals and how Danish architecture can develop beyond the status quo. Going beyond is crucial as the 2030 and 2050 goals are in jeopardy at the current trajectory of progress in areas such as emissions reduction, waste generation and energy efficiency. Clearly, old, narrow practices based on building energy reduction, recycling, carbon footprinting were limited in their success. However, recently there has been an apparent change in the discourse resulting in new design approaches such as 1. circularity, 2. UN Sustainable Development Goals, 3. climate adaptation 4. wellbeing and 5. participation. Hence, these five emerging sustainable architecture approaches will be the core drivers for this research project, which involves four phases: define –analyse –exemplify and –apply.


The Danish 2030 goals unfolded
how are they ambitious?

“Around 50 years ago, it was clear that humanity’s consumption of resources began to exceed what the Earth could produce and renew in a year, which means, since the 1970s we have been consuming and polluting the environment more than it can recover naturally. By 2050 it is predicted that the Earth’s population will reach 9.6 billion people if we continue with today’s current lifestyles it will take three Earth’s to provide the natural resources needed. Not only are we running out of resources, but it is becoming more apparent that the increase of carbon and greenhouse gases is changing our climate. - We are now facing a climate emergency.”


“The enormous release of CO2 into the atmosphere comes from industry, transportation, burning fossil fuels and even plants and living things. However, architecture is accountable for a considerable amount of the problem, especially energy use and global CO2 emissions.”


“In the EU, buildings are responsible for around 40% of the energy use with an associated 36% of CO2 emissions. Thus, it is evident the construction industry plays a significant part in the problem, reducing CO2 upfront is not enough. We must also consider embodied carbon which includes the sum of the effects of materials throughout their entire life cycle.”


© 2021 by DAB2020, Lab3, Aarhus School of Architecture