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Grown-up climate ambitions for Swedish preschool as EU's first electrified building site

While creating space for a new generation of children, a preschool in central Sweden is also pioneering a novel method of construction. Breaking ground this month, Ottfjället preschool in Östersund will be the EU's first fully electrified building site. The project is the result of a collaboration between Östersund municipality, Fossilfritt Sverige, Volvo Construction Equipment and Skanska.

Svante Axelsson, nationwide coordinator at Fossilfritt Sweden, says: "The construction and property sector accounts for approximately 20% of Sweden's total emissions, of which machinery accounts for a significant portion. By requiring zero-emission machines, we can accelerate development and benefit companies that are leading the way. Now we are rolling up our sleeves so that this will be the first of many future emission-free construction sites around Sweden."

Construction is set to be completed by late 2024, and the preschool will accommodate 140 children aged 1–6 years.

A Volvo EC230 electric excavator at work on a building site

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Going electric will allow the construction of Östersund's new preschool to save an estimated 64 metric tons of CO2e emissions — as much as emitted annually by 6.5 average EU households. Just two of the machines used (a Volvo EC230 electric excavator and an L25 Electric wheel loader) will contribute around a third of those savings.

The key move here? The municipality of Östersund included a zero-emission target in its bidding process. Procurements drive change! As Fredrik Tjernström, Electromobility Solutions Sales at Volvo CE, points out: "Effective climate requirements in public procurement can accelerate the transition to net zero and create a level playing field for more sustainable products, services and solutions." By setting ambitious CO2e reduction requirements, frontrunners like Östersund demonstrate that fossil-free alternatives can be implemented today — no need to wait for the future ;-)