EGURALT project promotes the use of wood in building construction

The Interreg SUDOE project EGURALT aims to identify and apply new processes and technologies for the optimal use of wood, as a local and renewable product, in the construction of mid-rise buildings.

The EGURALT Consortium will work in a coordinated way in the following areas: the promotion of public housing in wooden buildings, the development of new technological products in wood and the transformation of the wood sector, which are necessary aspects of the paradigm shift in construction in the SUDOE area, towards a more sustainable construction based on the use of wood as a local and renewable product. This exchange of knowledge will enable the application of new products, processes and technologies, and thanks to its dissemination, the knowledge accumulation, the awareness of society and the international positioning of the participating agents and entities.

Planned activities include three transnational roundtables, seven study visits, a guide on timber construction, regional workshops and a seminar in April 2023.

Visit the EGURALT website

More information

Opinion article – Let’s tackle the carbon emissions hiding in plain sight: neutralising embodied carbon in buildings

Any practitioner on climate action knows the importance of addressing emissions from our buildings and construction, as they are significant contributors to climate change and account for 39 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 28 per cent of these emissions originate from operational energy use, and 11 per cent represent embodied carbon – carbon emissions associated with materials and construction processes throughout the whole lifecycle.

Alliance to advance innovative mass timber building research

Climate change is increasing pressure on the built environment and building sector to transform from a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central solution. The development of mass timber technology and the use of wood to construct mid- to high-rise buildings can serve as a pathway to a more sustainable future, meeting rapidly growing global urban population needs while decreasing carbon emissions and increasing human health benefits.

International networking and collaboration with researchers at the cutting-edge of mass timber technology, wood science and data-driven infrastructure safety is key to achieving the much-needed breakthroughs to advance innovative mass-timber buildings.

InnoRenew CoE and the Faculty of mathematics, natural sciences and information technologies at the University of Primorska is partnering with researchers at The College of Forestry at Oregon State University and the Faculty of agriculture and forestry at the University of Helsinki to create an international, informal alliance to share mass timber technology data related to structural health monitoring. Structural health monitoring refers to analyses of data generated from sensors and information technologies that observe and monitor changes over time in buildings.

For a wide and systematic use of data from mass timber buildings, there remains a need for standardization and collaboration among researchers. The alliance will utilize first-hand data from three mass-timber projects, the George W. Peavy Forest Science Center (PFSC) in Corvallis, Oregon, USA, InnoRenew CoE in Slovenia, and the Hyytiälä forest station in Finland (University of Helsinki), to help create standards for structural health monitoring. The alliance will collect unique and innovative structural systems data, develop benchmark data for further applications, and cross-reference with other projects.

The PFSC is a three-story building completed in 2019 at Oregon State University and utilizes mass-timber structural elements. These include self-centering, rocking, cross-laminated timber (CLT) shear walls, CLT-concrete composite floor systems, a mass plywood panel roof system, and glulam beams and columns. To determine if the building is performing under static, dynamic, and environmental loads as expected, the PFSC serves as a full-scale living laboratory equipped with sensors. The sensors monitor outdoor and indoor climate conditions, heat and moisture transfer in CLT assemblies, moisture content of structural elements, movement of CLT floor and wall panels, tension losses in CLT shear walls, and global dynamic behavior of the structure.

The InnoRenew CoE’s building, the biggest wooden building in Slovenia, is a hybrid combination of timber, concrete and steel. It was designed according to state-of-the-art principles of contemporary sustainable construction following the principles of REED (Restorative Environmental and Ergonomic Design) based on research outputs from the InnoRenew CoE.

In Finland, four new mass timber buildings at the Hyytiälä forest station, Faculty of agriculture and forestry of the University of Helsinki, are under construction and will be completed in 2022. The structures and walls are CLT, while flooring and roofs are laminated veneer lumber (LVL) based. The buildings are 1-2 story comprising a large catering and studying/conference hall and three accommodation buildings with studio-type rooms. Wooden (walking) bridges and platforms connect the facilities. Two of the buildings will be used to collect data, research structure and material characteristics, and monitor indoor air quality. The buildings offer an opportunity to research human health and well-being, both perceived and experimentally measured.

The academic partners agree to cooperate in exchange for the mutual advancement, support and development of joint projects, publications and scholarship opportunities. Partners will develop standard practices for future structural health monitoring projects by creating standardized data collection, processing and management protocols, and establishing a common methodology for reporting project outputs. To inform transparent governance, ownership and regulation, the network will develop a repository and website with information about projects, data and outputs.

The alliance aims to further expand by attracting researchers from around the world to contribute to new knowledge and future developments in the field of the built environment.

For more information about joining the alliance, contact:

InnoRenew CoE and University of Primorska:

Andreja Kutnar, andreja.kutnar@innorenew.eu

Oregon State University:

Mariapaola Riggio, mariapaola.riggio@oregonstate.edu

University of Helsinki:

Ritva Toivonen@helsinki.fi

Laura Alakukku@helsinki.fi

Wood industry aims to double the amount of timber used annually in the European built environment by 2050

The European Confederation of the Woodworking Industry held its winter 2021 General Assembly on
Friday 26th November 2021 in an online format. During the meeting CEI-Bois presented its Advocacy Report, a comprehensive overview of its activities undertaken in 2021.

Mr Sampsa Auvinen the Chair of CEI-Bois ended the Advocacy Report by looking to the future and
noting: “We see significant potential to increase the amount of wood used in both new build and renovation.
Currently 0.5Gt of CO2 equivalent is taken out of the European forest each year in the form of
sustainable timber, of which we believe approximately 15% ends up in Long Life Harvested Wood
Products. CEI-Bois thinks we should be aiming to at least double this figure by 2050 so that wood can
play its full role in tackling climate breakdown by making a significant contribution to decarbonising the
built environment. There is a very simple way to respect the environment and to preserve it for future
generations: simply by choosing wood products one reduces greenhouse gas concentrations in the
atmosphere which has great benefits for the environment.”

The Assembly was addressed by guest speaker architect Anthony Thistleton of Waugh Thistleton
Associates an architectural practice based in London specialising in building in wood. Earlier this month,
on the eve of the COP in Glasgow, his colleague, architect Andrew Waugh launched the GLOBAL WOOD
MANIFESTO
, produced by a collaboration of European, North American, Australian and New Zealand
wood and forestry organisations led by CEI-Bois. The manifesto makes the case for a significant increase
in the use of wood in both construction and renovation as the only sustainable structural material that
grows worldwide which can enable a substantial decarbonisation of the built environment – based on
existing business models and proven technology; providing vast carbon sinks in our rural areas and
carbon stores in our cities.

During the General Assembly, Anthony Thistleton challenged CEI-Bois members to:
“Accelerate the production of Cross Laminated Timber to have the capacity to drive the timber
revolution. Timber is not only good for the environment timber is the way out of the climate crisis. The
Woodworking Industry must work together more than ever to help deliver clear and simple messages
that can correct existing misperceptions.”

The Assembly also ratified the composition of the CEI-Bois Board Members for the year ahead and welcomes a new staff member Mr Sonda.

Timber Construction Award Eifel 2020

Admire modern timber architecture – opening of the touring exhibition for the timber construction award Eifel 2020.

The reinterpretation of traditional construction materials are important impulses for sustainable and climate-friendly construction with the building of modern, multi-storey wooden houses in private and public settings. The ability to combine high-quality architecture, climate protection and regional added value in wooden houses is displayed by the touring exhibition of the timber construction award, Eifel 2020.

Solar Decathlon Europe 2021/22

Solar Decathlon Europe 2021/22, Wuppertal, NRW, Germany: a special prize for university teams – the Timber Construction Award.

As part of the international university competition, Solar Decathlon Europe 2021/22, the Studiengemeinschaft Holzleimbau e.V. and six other organisations are awarding a special prize for innovative living and energy concepts with wood – the ‘Timber Construction Award’.