NERO - Nearly Zero Energy Wooden Buildings in Scandinavia

NERO promotes large-scale market uptake of the developed nearly Zero Energy Wood Buildings low-carbon solutions, applicable for construction industry design and procurement process.

NERO develops and demonstrates technical solutions, which significantly reduce the costs of new nearly Zero Energy Wood Buildings and districts compared to the current situation. On site and nearby renewable energy system solutions are studied in order to provide real addition of renewable energy production and to provide solutions, which are optimal on local grid and energy system level.

NERO implements a life cycle analysis (LCA) in chosen cases in order to quantify the effect of embodied energy in energy balance.

Project partners:

  • Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland
  • Tallinn University of Technology, Nearly Zero Energy Research Group, Tallinn, Estonia
  • Sintef Building and Infrastructure, Architecture, Materials and Structures, Trondheim, Norway
  • Växjö Kommunföretag AB, Växjö, Sweden
  • Kouvola Innovation Oy, Development Team Biovalley, Kouvola, Finland


Project duration from 1.9.2017 to 30.8.2020


  • "NERO focuses to nearly zero energy buildings (nZEB) in a cold climate with a good coverage in Nordic countries. In such a severe climate, heating is clearly dominating and the cost of heavily insulated nearly zero energy buildings is evidently challenge. There are two other issues that are common in Nordic countries. In all of these, developed energy calculation methodologies relying on dynamic simulation offer a large degree of freedom in design, promoting the development of cost effective solutions. Wood is another common thing in Nordic countries, as there are massive resources and good skills to manufacture and construct wooden buildings. Wooden buildings may have an edge to keep the wall thickness under control in highly insulated nZEBs as capable to combine loadbearing frame and insulation within the same wall layer. Prefabricated wooden buildings could provide solid option to achieve nZEB requirements in a cost effective manner – that’s the main objective of NERO project to be demonstrated with best practice case studies." Jarek Kurnitski, professor of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings, Aalto University, Finland


  • "Since both energy efficient buildings and buildings with wooden construction are of great importance in Växjö Municipality we look forward to this NERO project for important knowledge contribution!  We have been working within these areas for many years and have received a lot of attention. The NERO project will be one of the measures that helps us to reach our target with zero fossil carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, help us to continue developing and to keep the position as a front runner.” Johan Thorsell, verksamhetsutvecklare trä/byggnation, Kommunledningsförvaltningen & VKAB, Växjö, Sverige

  • “Kouvola has already anticipated the requirements of the new FInZEB legislation. All of the new wooden frame public service buildings being built in this decade largely follow this new legislation to come. With the NERO project this accumulated level of knowledge will strengthen, and as wooden construction projects will be enlarged and diversified this will open up to our advanced actors a wider market. It is great to have recognition given by the EU and opportunity to continue our work, together with our competent Nordic partners." Tero Hasu, coordinator, specialist, Circular Economy, Kouvola Innovation Oy, Kouvola, Finland

  • "Estonians have long historical traditions in producing wooden buildings. Today the manufacturing of wooden buildings has developed to one of the key industries in Estonia with 140 enterprises and around 85-90% of houses are exported. The Estonian wooden houses industry is the most successful exporter in Europe; and the seventh largest overall. The NERO project helps to step forward to more energy efficient and moisture safe wooden building with reduced cost." Targo Kalamees, professor of Building Physics, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia

  • "SINTEF Building and Infrastructure has a long-lasting experience on wood constructions and instituted several streams of research covering architectural possibilities of wood-based building products, laboratory testing of thermal and hygrometric properties of wood products, and optimization and research in wood construction systems. A long-lasting collaboration with the Research Centre on Zero Emission Buildings and the Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighborhoods in Smart Cities strengthened the knowledge and expertise in nearly zero energy buildings where wood is the main construction material. The NERO project is therefore an excellent opportunity to contribute with past experience and acquire knew knowledge in wood constructions and nearly zero emissions buildings." Nicola Lolli, research scientist at SINTEF Building and Infrastructure, Norway



Photo: Ove Fransson

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