Northern Connections

Living Lab Event opened new market possibilities

02 December 2019 - Published by Anne Katrine Arentsen
Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden, is undertaking its greatest development in modern history and will grow by nearly a third by 2035. The City of Gothenburg plans to invest €600 million a year in new schools and housing projects, all of which must meet strict sustainability criteria. The goal for the city of Gothenburg is to decrease their consumption-based CO2-emissions with 75% by 2050. The Hoppet pilot project will set a standard for these future developments and will be built with fossil-free materials and processes.

However, sourcing all of the necessary solutions for such an ambitious project was a challenge, and the project owner simply could not find the products they needed. This made Hoppet a perfect candidate for a Northern Connections Living Lab. By tapping into the North Sea Region’s strong cluster network, the City of Gothenburg was able to leverage the innovative capacity of six countries, bringing the project manager into contact with innovative suppliers with the potential to help realize the first fossil-free preschool in Sweden.

Suppliers came from Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, and proposed solutions ranging from plant-based building materials, building-integrated photovoltaics and organic paints & adhesives to fossil-free insulation.

The project manager had the following to say: “It was very worthwhile, and we are simply beyond happy! The event has been vital in connecting us with suppliers who can help us transition to fossil-free construction. We are interested in pursuing further discussions with all of the suppliers we met during the day.”

This cutting-edge project has opened up a thriving market for sustainable suppliers and will set the standard for future urban development in the city for years to come. It also highlights that when it comes to tough sustainability challenges, it is crucial to look beyond our home markets for solutions.

Although the Gothenburg Living Lab was aimed primarily at suppliers with innovative solutions for a fossil-free pre-school, many other stakeholders also participated. Among them was the municipality of Lund, which presented the Brunnshög development project. About 40.000 people will eventually live and work in Brunnshög, and the development aims to set a high standard for sustainable buildings.

The success of the Gothenburg Living Lab inspired Northern Connections partner Sustainable Business Hub to work with Lund and other local municipalities of Sweden’s Skåne region to explore the potential for the Living Lab concept to harness the North Sea Region’s innovative capacity to solve tough sustainability challenges such as those faced in Brunnshög.

Although it is still early days, Sustainable Business Hub hopes to implement two or three local living labs in Skåne before the summer of 2020. This unexpected spinoff of Northern Connections shows that challenge owners see real value in using Living Labs to tap into innovations from across the North Sea Region.