Thoughts on MEP and sustainability at Briab – interview with Frida Lindmark Starkenberg - Briab - Brand, Risk & Säkerhet


Thoughts on MEP and sustainability at Briab – interview with Frida Lindmark Starkenberg

Sustainability is an important issue that affects most of what we do and, conversely, most of what we do affects sustainability in our society and world. Not least in the construction industry, there are major challenges to improve sustainability and resource use. We chatted for a while about the topic with Frida who works on planning heating, ventilation and sanitation here at Briab.

Frida Lindmark Starkenberg

Frida, what aspects of sustainability do you work with in heating, ventilation and sanitation?

Oh, there’s quite a lot, I’d say, but it could always be better. Right off, I can think of the following:

  • How we choose products, i.e. we only prescribe brands that supply products without hazardous substances. Only SundaHus-approved A-class products as far as possible, for example.
  • We could also consider the useful life of the products. If the construction is planned to last a long time untouched, products that have a long life should be selected. If the construction is going to be rebuilt soon and products replaced, then recycled products/materials can probably be used to a greater extent.
  • Environmental certification of the building, primarily from an energy point of view
  • Save water when using products; measurement and product choice
  • Always try to use what we have, as far as possible
  • More efficient systems as a whole

Three basic concepts in sustainability are reduce, reuse and recycle; how do they fit with heating, ventilation and sanitation – in terms of planning and later also in operation?

Here too there are lots of solutions, and they should increase as the sustainability issue takes its rightful place in the discussion. But I’m thinking something like this:


  • Water-saving functions in taps, e.g. ‘Altered Nozzle’
  • Energy reduction (recovering heat/cooling), smarter installations (control and regulating technology), better insulation/solar shielding
  • Supply ‘Bill of Materials’, a list of exactly how much material needs to be purchased for what we have planned. Nothing unnecessary and no waste.
  • Lower and more efficient airflow! Inventiair already has a solution of 20% lower airflows + it is more efficient than regular ventilation. It should always be used where new devices are planned.


  • Bathroomware, ventilation devices and ducts, radiators and relining pipes where possible.
  • Systems for reusing grey water/rainwater
  • Plan local recovery of surface water


  • Copper and steel are certainly recycled today. Otherwise, I don’t know what contractors do when they demolish … but it feels like an open goal![AJ1]
  • Where do all the heating, ventilation and sanitation materials that are removed from buildings ‘disappear’? When existing installations are removed to suit the tenant rather than because they are old – where do they end up? Maybe there’s a place for that already, but that market should be bigger and more accessible to everyone, I think!?

Image: Shutterstock

What does the will and the conditions for more sustainable thinking look like in the heating, ventilation and sanitation discipline?

We can definitely improve! And all the prerequisites are there for that. Unfortunately, many people are too quick to use the ‘good old’ way/product choices. If we stay better informed about what’s really available on the market, the latest technology, we can dare to do more, I think! ‘Belt and braces’ make systems over-dimensioned; that’s something we can improve on.

And at the clients’?

Clients have the ultimate responsibility; that’s how it is! If they place higher demands on sustainability at all stages, it drives development in the right direction straight away!

I, and those of us at Briab, believe that there should be more requirements for ecological, economic and social sustainability in place when procuring contractors/developers

If you could wish for something that would drive development, what would it be?

It would be hugely inspiring and motivating to have a major national competition in sustainable heating, ventilation and sanitation construction! To get good examples!

  • Clearly targeted contributions from the state
  • First in Sweden with Nordic Swan Ecolabelled renovation!
  • Clearer signal from builders that we as developers should take responsibility for maximising Reduce and Reuse, and that they write in procurements that recycling of all heating, ventilation and sanitation materials is a requirement.

Do you have any other final thoughts?

Yes, absolutely. It’s important to keep this challenge in mind quite a lot, all the time. So there are some…

  • Why not stop change for the sake of change! A simple and tangible measure.
  • The things that cost most in energy to re-produce are the most important to reuse – keep an eye on that!
  • Rename Demolition Drawing to Recycling Drawing
  • Energy optimisation through control and regulation technology. Change to smart valves, not whole systems.
  • Educate ourselves all the time, e.g. ‘environmental building in operation’ and LCC analyses, what can and cannot be recycled, there’s loads!

We thank Frida for a fruitful conversation and agree to come back later for an update. It feels like there are ideas and ambitions to follow up. As I said, sustainability is not something you finish, just improve!


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