The building and construction industry is one of the main industries in the Danish business sector.
The industry maintains and extends Denmark's buildings and infrastructure, which combined represent 80% of Denmark's assets.
The Danish construction industry plays a special role when it comes to finding alternative solutions to our energy shortage. The total Danish building mass accounts for 40% of the country's total energy consumption. The industry therefore helps develop new energy-friendly products such as windows, insulation and poles with earth heating. More than half of the manufacturers of building materials develop products that help optimise the energy consumption in buildings. In addition, 95% of all building waste is recycled. This reduces CO2 emissions in two ways. Firstly, waste is used as biofuel, thus replacing fossil fuel. Secondly, recycling of materials replaces the production of new CO2-emitting materials.
Furthermore, the Danish construction industry has always been good at employing many apprentices and including exposed groups such as former criminals and individuals with limited intellectual faculties. In the coming years, the challenges will be to get foreigners involved in the industry and adapt the positions so that older employees can remain in the labour force for longer.
The companies' focus on sustainability and good working conditions is supported by the Danish Construction Association. The Danish Construction Association comprises approximately 6,000 Danish companies in the building and infrastructure industries which combined employ around 70,000 people. The Danish Construction Association has taken the initiative to e.g. create an energy adviser degree programme, the InnoByg innovation network, and a work environment bus that travels from workplace to workplace, advising companies and employees on how to create a good work environment.
Many of the Danish companies are active abroad, and an analysis from 2010 shows that a minimum of nine out of ten staff members are employed locally. This creates a unique opportunity to ensure the transfer of knowledge about energy efficiency technologies, the Danish labour market model (flexicurity) and education.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2012, three sectors were identified as particularly important for the future: health, green technologies and infrastructure. The construction industry is an important player in the last two sectors. Population growth, limited access to resources and the prospect of more extreme weather provide new challenges for the construction industry and require a considerable amount of innovation.
Buildings must tolerate periods of high temperatures and large amounts of precipitation while contributing positively to the overall energy consumption of the building. In addition, building materials must be made from recyclable components that can either be broken down in a responsible manner, be recycled or reused so we minimise our resource consumption without lowering our standard of living.