This could help explain why Sweden is consistently reported as one of the happiest, most sustainable countries in the world. One example: Sweden’s government has issued a goal of increasing energy efficiency in buildings by 20 percent in 2020 and 50 percent by 2050. Another: Sweden has a well-earned spot on USGBC’s annual Top 10 Countries for LEED list.


This year’s Top 10 Countries for LEED also comes at a time when the world is bracing for what many believe will be the most significant climate negotiations to date. In the run-up to the UN COP21 climate negotiations this December, each nation has been asked to produce an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), a legally binding statement of intent to limit greenhouse gas emissions. With most of the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters on USGBC’s Top 10 Countries list, this year’s announcement provides us with a unique opportunity to demonstrate how the green building movement can help catalyze the sort of green economic revolution that our broader society and our shared planet so desperately need.


The majority of projects in Sweden pursuing LEED often go on to earn the highest levels of certification, Platinum and Gold. With more than 2.6 million square meters of LEED-certified space, that’s a lot of green building activity for such a relatively small population, clocking in at just over 9.5 million people.


Entré Lindhagen: Sweden’s “Triple Platinum” project and headquarters for Skanska globally and in Sweden


Skanska, one of the largest multinational construction and development companies in the world, is based in Sweden and has taken a leadership role in green building from the very beginning. Their headquarters, Entré Lindhagen (pictured above), is prime proof that they walk the talk. The building was designed to be one of the greenest and smartest workplaces in Europe, featuring innovations that go even beyond the LEED scorecard. The building boasts utility costs at 50 percent lower than a conventional Swedish office building, and the project diverted nearly 95 percent of the 85,000 tons of material that came from the compact building. Interestingly, on the roof you can find active beehives in the urban landscape. The cooling system that services the building is so advanced, Skanska has received a patent for it in Sweden and in the U.S. and in the markets within the European Union where Skanska is present.


One of the best parts of the project, though, is the intense focus on employee happiness and productivity. Employees enjoy access to daylighting (and indoor lights that emulate daylight), solar protection, and optimal indoor air quality, as well as many options for places to work throughout the day depending on what task they are focusing on. Additionally, carpools and bike parking is available to encourage greener commutes.


Bra jobbat, Sverige!