LCA in Iceland

Iceland Introduces New LCA Requirements

Publiceret 17-04-2024

From September 1st 2025, life cycle analyses will be required for a large amount of all new building permitted structures in Iceland. A formal transitional period has now begun to promote a successful implementation with a focus on gaining experiences in preparing and submitting life cycle analyses before the obligation becomes a reality.

74 actions in a roadmap is guiding the transition

The Icelandic construction sector and government is working towards a circular transition. This became clear in 2022 with the Icelandic roadmap to circular construction and in 2023 with the Round Table for Circularity workshop, where key actors met to discuss how to improve the sustainability and circularity of their sector.

Now Iceland has introduced new LCA requirements in their building regulation coming into force from September 1st 2025 influencing a large amount of the Icelandic new building projects. The requirements do not include small new constructions such as storage facilities, agricultural buildings, summerhouses and extensions to existing structures

74 actions from the icelandic roadmap
Actions from the Icelandic Sustainable Constructions Roadmap to 2030

Implementation Process of New Requirements

To prepare the sector for the new requirements, a formal transitional period has started. In collaboration with the Icelandic Federation of Industries and other stakeholders, the Icelandic Housing and Constructions Authority will work for a constructive use of the transitional period to educate and support stakeholders preparing the industry for new LCA-requirements.

In that respect, various educational institutions have been encouraged to offer courses on the preparation of life cycle analyses for buildings. There is also a strong focus on making public work buyers and actors like the City of Reykjavík role models in submitting life cycle analyses to the authority’s electronic portal.

Learning from Experiences and Good Solutions

There is no doubt that there is a lot to learn from the front runners within regulation of the climate impact from construction, with Iceland being one of the good examples. Other Nordic countries as well as the rest of Europe can benefit from the experiences that Iceland will gain over the next years. The newly revised Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) also focuses on how to tackle the whole life carbon emission from buildings. Iceland is a head of the EPBD as they have already made a roadmap and now has decided to demand climate declarations from 2025.

Read more about what the EPBD focus on regarding embodied carbon here.

The influence that new regulation like LCA requirements has on construction processes and the impact across the value chain will be interesting to follow closely – to see if the new ways of documenting carbon footprints can contribute to further innovation within the sector and push the industry in a greener direction.

Watch the video with Björn Karlsson from Ministry of Infrastructure Iceland to learn more about the Icelandic work towards a circular approach.

What is LCA?

Life Cycle Analysis is a method used to assess the local and global environmental impacts of a good or service across the whole value chain. This takes into account the inter alia, raw material acquisition, production, use and disposal.

Many of the Nordic countries are working on implementing low carbon policies and LCA requirements as a part of their building regulations. 

See an overview of the regulation in the Nordic countries here.