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UiA research on the building of a new vocational school in Grimstad

The county municipality and the University of Agder are collaborating to gain knowledge about eco-friendly construction methods.

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Illustration of the new bulding in Grimstad
This is what the new vocational school and dental clinic in Grimstad will look like. Image of the winning entry ‘Technologia’ from BRG Entreprenør, drawing by Filter Arkitekter AS.

“The construction of the new vocational school and dental clinic in Grimstad offers innovation in both materials usage and technological solutions. In this research project we will, among other things, document the CO2 emissions associated with the materials chosen for the building”, says Tom Viggo Nilsen, professor at the Department of Engineering Sciences at the Faculty of Engineering and Science.

Photo of Tom Viggo Nilsen is a professor at UiA.

Tom Viggo Nilsen is a professor at UiA.

In the construction planning, Agder County Municipality has taken major steps towards a more sustainable and green building project. It is, for example, required that the contractor keep a fossil-free construction site. This means that they will not use fossil fuel in any parts of the project. The building will be a so-called plus house - a house that generates more energy than it uses.

UiA researchers are engaged through ‘Scandinavian Sustainable Circular Construction (S2C)’ - a three-year (2020-2023) EU project. UiA and Agder County Municipality are the Norwegian partners, and the vocational school building is a pilot for the Norwegian partnership.

More knowledge is needed

In both the public sector and private sector, there is need for more knowledge and competence about sustainable and energy-efficient construction methods. In the industry, there is talk about building green and being environmentally responsible. But according to Nilsen, there is little scientific documentation about what solutions are actually eco-friendly.

“UiA has expertise in construction, energy, renewable energy sources and energy systems, and will follow the construction of the vocational school and dental clinic at Tønnevoldskogen between Vesterled and Terje Løvåsvei in Grimstad, which will start immediately. In the project, we will make the public sector better equipped to request more sustainable, energy-efficient and circular construction methods in the future”, says Nilsen.

Haidar Hosamo is a PhD research fellow at the Faculty of Engineering and Science and will follow the construction process closely. He will analyse the solutions, methods and materials and study the environmental impact and energy efficiency.

Haidar Hosamo is a doctoral research fellow at the Faculty of Engineering and Science

Haidar Hosamo is a doctoral research fellow at the Faculty of Engineering and Science

From 2016-2019, UiA was involved in a similar environmental project, Green Building A-Z, which focused on the construction of Tvedestrand upper secondary school.

“I carry with me the experiences from Tvedestrand upper secondary school. I will identify the construction solutions that actually provide a sustainable building. In short, I will give a scientific presentation of building materials and energy solutions”, says Hosamo.

The experiences from the project will also be part of the engineering education at UiA. A number of bachelor's and master's theses for UiA students will be connected with the construction project.

International project

The vocational school in Grimstad is one of three construction projects that are part of the collaboration. The other two are in Gothenburg and Aalborg.

UiA and Agder County Municipality are the Norwegian partners in the project that is supported by the Interreg Øresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak programme. Other partners are Aalborg Municipality (DEN), Network for Sustainable Business Development North Jutland (DEN), Hjørring Municipality (DEN), Innovatum Progress AB (SWE), Gothenburg City (SWE) and the Alexander Institute (SWE).

The EU supports UiA’s participation with 2.5 million.