Northern Connections

Innovative collaboration forms the basis for the first fossil-free preschool

22 February 2019 - Published by Anne Katrine Arentsen
Hoppet is a unique preschool in Gothenburg, with the goal of being as fossil-free as possible. Construction is scheduled to start in the autumn of 2019. The Northern Connections project must now find innovative companies from a number of countries that can provide sustainable solutions for materials and the construction process.

Building a pre-school entirely fossil-free has its challenges. It is something that the client, the local government in the City of Gothenburg, is well aware of.

They are really going a step further than the majority would go. They are asking questions such as: Have the trees for the construction timber been harvested in a fossil-free manner and have they also been transported to the construction site in a fossil-free way? - and so on”, says Fredrik Grund, Project Manager Innovatum.

In order to find these innovative suppliers, Northern Connections has stepped in to assist, bringing with it its network and resources. Active partners on the Swedish side are Business Region Göteborg, Innovatum in Trollhättan and Sustainable Business Hub in Malmö. 

The project is running for four years and is EU-funded. It coordinates a total of seven countries and 21 clusters, companies, cities and regions around the North Sea. The aim of the project is to strengthen cross border innovation collaboration on sustainable solutions by encouraging the participation of more companies. An important part of Northern Connections is the establishment during 2018 and 2019 of real challenges known as Living Labs, which require sustainable solutions from each participating country or region. Now in the spring, more specifically on the 8th of May 2019 in Gothenburg, it is Sweden's turn. Then all eyes will be on the Hoppet preschool, which has been selected as Sweden's challenge.

We have recently opened the registration for companies that are able to present the best solutions within fossil-free or climate neutral construction. There are two tracks: Partly materials and partly the construction phase itself”, explains Carina Nowak, Project Manager Business Region Göteborg, who is responsible for the entire event on the 8th of May 2019.

After the registration closes in mid-March, a selection process will begin where we select the companies that best match the needs. The selected companies will then come and present their solutions during the event in Gothenburg”, she continues.

Carina Nowak emphasises that those who participate and are selected have much to gain. It is a chance for small businesses that in a similar context may not have enough muscle to be involved, to be able to present themselves.

There will be great opportunities for collaboration with other companies from other countries and regions, where they can become stronger and more powerful together, promote their business concept and who knows – maybe even get a contract for the Hoppet preschool or another future construction project in Gothenburg?”  she says.

The Hoppet preschool is an initial project in a much larger investment initiative by the City of Gothenburg, which is linked to the city's climate strategy. The hope is that the city will lead the way in driving the transition to a future of sustainable urban development. In response to this, a number of representatives from the construction industry, politicians and other important players will also be present on the 8th of May 2019 to present their own projects and be in a position to take advantage of the innovative solutions that the companies will offer.

The vision of the client that there must be sustainability throughout the chain, impresses me considerably. This means that only those suppliers who are prepared to go all the way will be considered. It will therefore be very exciting to see what kind of solutions we will see,” concludes Fredrik Grund from Innovatum.

The living lab process is how we put to use project knowledge from the cluster training and the tool box development into action and create international business opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs of sustainable solutions,”  says Carina Nowak.

FACTS / Hopppet
The Hoppet preschool in Gothenburg is Sweden's first fossil-free construction project. The goal is the construction of a preschool that is achieved as far as possible by the use of fossil-free materials and methods – from the abstraction of raw materials and the construction site to the operation of the building. It is planned that the Hoppet preschool will be completed by 2021. 

Read more about the specific challenges HERE!

FACTS / What is Living Lab?
Living Lab is a research and innovation concept that in simple terms is about developing, testing, implementing and evaluating innovative solutions in collaboration with researchers and both public and private actors in real-world environments. At the same time, the approach also makes it possible for all stakeholders to consider the development and upscaling of the product/service for the potential users.

Read more about how it works HERE!  

Would you like to take part?
Would your company like to take part and present solutions for fossil-free or climate neutral construction at Living Lab Hoppet, on May 8, 2019? If so, then please contact:

Carina Nowak, Business Region Göteborg –

Fredrik Grund, Innovatum –