THEME: Renovation and transformation

Construction accounts for up to 40 per cent of the world’s resource and energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Using healthy, durable materials and the transformation of buildings offer potential for better resource utilisation.


Every time we release ten tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, more than one tonne comes from the production and handling of building materials. Almost three tonnes come from the operation of buildings. This means that there is plenty of potential for major climate gains – and often also high architectural value – in upgrading and converting existing buildings rather than building new ones.

Transformation is the theme of this page, where you can learn about concepts such as life cycle costings (LCC) and life cycle analyses (LCA). You can also read about a number of successful examples of transformations in which architects have been able to strike a successful balance between original details and new features.

Photo: Darewhan Amin

Næste wants to change the construction industry’s view of recycled materials

To see what a more circular building could look like, let's take a look at secondary constructions. Circular design and construction specialists Næste demonstrate how sheds can be built on a large scale – exclusively using recycled building materials and waste from the primary construction sector. "The potential is enormous," says founder Niels Jakubiak Andersen.


Photo: Olaf Wiechers, arkitekt

From industry to homes: five successful transformations

This can require fewer resources and add a high design factor when developers preserve and renovate rather than build new. Take a look inside a number of successful examples from Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the UK. What they all have in common is that the owners have transformed former industrial buildings – and supplemented them with Troldtekt acoustic solutions.

Photo: Erik Nord Arkitekter/Ejendomsselskabet Olav de Linde

Olav de Linde: renewal and preservation go hand in hand

Property company Olav de Linde is especially well-known for its special approach to building transformations, for which it received the 2023 Developer Award. Read an interview with the company’s founder, Olav de Linde, who also talks about the Mindet office building in Aarhus.


More articles on the theme of renovation and transformation

The architect behind Maltfabrikken: "For us, it's about stepping into the background and letting the building do the talking"

Praksis Arkitekter conceived the transformation of the old malt factory in Ebeltoft, which is now used as a cultural centre and meeting place. Read about the studio's approach and the experiences the architects gained from the project.

At the end of their service life: how Troldtekt acoustic panels can be recycled

Troldtekt works with return models that can give acoustic panels one or even more extra life cycles.

Programmes for cement-bonded wood wool leftovers from Troldtekt’s own production and customer building sites have been established in Denmark. Our ambition is also to reuse, recycle and upcycle panels from demolition sites.

Here, residents are able to choose recycled materials for their future homes

Future residents of the new building and cohousing community Sjællandsk Muld have the option to choose recycled materials and offcuts for the construction of their homes. In theory, more say for residents means more sustainable choices.

Let building materials live on after a transformation

A significant part of the world’s CO2 emissions comes from the production of building materials. So, there's massive potential in extending the lifetime of materials rather than switching to new ones.

Troldtekt acoustic panels have a service life of at least 50–80 years – and can be painted without this affecting their acoustic properties. See how old Troldtekt ceilings have been given new life after renovation and transformation.

An 18th-century farm has been transformed into energy-efficient housing

People have lived at Stenberg farm in Hudiksvall since the 1700s. It has now been converted into eight apartments built according to the Passive House standard and which have incorporated energy-optimised solutions to an impressive extent.

The buildings of tomorrow must be designed for disassembly

Construction must change from a linear to a circular approach, in which more materials are reused at the highest possible value level. That is the view of Kasper Guldager Jensen, founder of GXN and member of the Danish government’s advisory board for the circular economy.

Service life is a key factor in sustainable construction

Will a building material last for 50 years or have to be replaced after 15? The answer will have a major bearing on the cost and environmental impact of your building.


See more current themes

See also our other current themes, where we focus on trends in acoustics, indoor climate, architecture and sustainable building.