NREP is building the first of three prototype buildings across the logistics, office and residential real estate sectors that are fully CO2 neutral, in line with actions called for by COP27. 

The Nordic real estate investor is to build a 20,000sqm logistics facility that is net zero across operational and embodied carbon – without external offsetting – in Bålsta, 50km from Stockholm.

The facility’s carbon neutrality will be achieved by using low-carbon construction materials: traditional steel walls and roofs will be replaced with a cross-laminated timber structure and façade. This will be coupled with a new type of organic, hemp insulation that binds more CO2 than it emits during the production process.

Green cement will be used for the foundations, enabling around a 30% CO2 reduction compared to typical warehouse foundations, NREP said.

Lifetime CO2 emissions will be achieved by following a ’disassembly design principle’, ensuring a high re-use factor of biogenic materials, preventing CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere by the end of the building’s lifetime.

Net zero operational carbon will be achieved by utilising 100% renewable green electricity. During the operational phase, NREP’s hope is that the building will become “energy positive”, by using bespoke solar, heat pump and battery storage solutions to return surplus energy back to the grid.

Claus Mathisen, CEO of NREP, said: “We have collaborated with the industry’s leading innovators to push new boundaries and deliver the world’s greenest logistics development. Drawing from the most advanced products available, this project will be a test bed for emerging solutions, creating a whole new, commercially viable paradigm in carbon-neutral real estate.

“This [logistics] project is a great example of how to convert insights into real actions, now. And it demonstrates that doing the right thing is also good business. A property like this one will attract better financing and more customers.

“As a business, we believe decarbonising is a superior business approach. This prototype shows what is already possible today, and we hope that others will soon follow, enabling the scale-up of green solutions and bringing down costs.”

Victoria Burrows, director of advancing net zero at the World Green Building Council, said: “The goal of decarbonising the entire built environment is monumental and something that cannot be achieved alone.

”We need strong leadership from companies like NREP that are taking urgent and innovative action to explore what solutions are possible today, to get us closer to a carbon-neutral future. It’s time to accelerate climate action and NREP’s breakthrough net zero project, which accounts for every kilo of carbon in the build, and provides a clear template for others in the industry to work towards.”

The Bålsta facility will be operated by NREP’s logistics brand Logicenters, a developer and operator of modern logistics properties in prime locations across the Nordics, managing nearly 2m sqm of space.

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