Buildings and urban areas
The world’s cities are growing, and growing fast. Today, half of the world’s population lives in cities, many of which are transforming to become more sustainable, digitalised and resilient. Circularity, climate adaptation and energy efficiency are areas that are increasingly driving demand for Sweco’s services.
Developing the built environment
Sweco develops what has already been built and what does not yet exist. Understanding the big picture is essential for long-term success, and Sweco offers a wide range of services in buildings and urban areas with sustainability as a key component. Architects, engineers and environmental experts work side by side in tightly knit teams to find solutions to the most challenging and stimulating questions. Whatever the challenge, sustainability goal or project size, Sweco
has all the expertise under one roof. Special attention is paid to climate adaptation as well as to emissions reduction, circular material flows and energy-efficient systems.
Social sustainability is a key component in promoting a more equal, safe and inclusive society. Biodiversity is actively supported with work that includes planning cities’ ecosystem services, working with blue-green infrastructure and conducting inventories of nature conservation value. In housing and urban development, sustainability and digitalisation go hand in hand, with new technology often a means of analysing, simulating and shaping the best solutions. The more complex clients’ challenges become, the more frequently Sweco’s teams span multiple disciplines and geographies. In buildings and urban areas, Sweco’s main contribution is to UN global goals SDG 11: Sustainable Cities, and SDG 13: Climate Action.
Working with property investor Vesteda, Sweco developed a software tool that specifies the risk of flooding and heat waves for the company’s entire property portfolio, along with initiatives that can be taken to reduce these risks.
Urban planning in transition
Climate change is placing increasing demands on city and urban planning to prevent and mitigate its effects. This involves everything from transitioning to fossil-free energy sources and improving energy efficiency to conserving resources and planning urban areas that are more resilient to phenomena such as floods and extreme weather.
Sweco’s consultants use digital tools in their complex calculations and visualisations of climate-related risks and costs for new construction projects as well as existing buildings. Our working method often reduces material and energy consumption, producing direct climate benefits and reducing costs. Sweco has developed a Carbon Cost Management service, where climate and cost are weighted equally in construction and infrastructure projects. Making a road one metre narrower or expanding the use of environmentally friendly concrete or wood are examples of measures for reducing a project’s climate impact.
Sweco has developed a cloudbased platform for digital twins, Sweco’s Twinfinity®. Using this platform, Vasakronan created digital twins of all of its 170 buildings.
Sweco carries out projects in Verviers, Belgium, and Tromsø, Norway, to improve resilience to climate-related problems. In Verviers, which suffered major flooding in 2021, Sweco is helping not only to restore the city’s streets, but also to integrate more green spaces to increase resilience to future flooding. For coastal cities like Tromsø, climate change can lead to rising sea levels and more frequent extreme rainfall events. Sweco worked with Tromsø Municipality in developing an urban analysis with a climate perspective to identify measures that can be taken in buildings to withstand the consequences of climate change.
Smart solutions for reuse and circular flows create major environmental benefits – and are a strong trend in many areas. Thanks to new technologies, it is possible to create closed, self-supporting systems or build new ones based on existing material. A good example of the latter is Sweco’s work on renovation of the One Exchange Square office building in London. Reuse of the foundation and 90 per cent of the construction material has saved 6,798 cubic metres of cement and enough iron to build half of the Eiffel Tower.
Sweco was responsible for overall design of Lidl’s pilot store with a wooden construction in Riihimäki, Finland.
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Sustainability forms an integral part of Sweco’s business and strategy.
Sweco’s sustainability work
Sweco’s group-wide sustainability goal is to achieve climate neutrality by 2040.
This is Sweco
We are Europe’s leading architecture and engineering consultancy.