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Challenges of the European Green Deal

Organizers of the 59th Home Fair held a discussion, “Buildings and the green deal: Challenges and trends” in Ljubljana (Slovenia), to explore the transformation of society towards a neutral economy.

The European Commission accepted the European Green Deal in which they address today’s climate and environmental challenges, mainly related to global warming and pollution. The deal set ambitious goals to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If successful, in 2050 there will be no net emissions of greenhouse gases. This will enable a sustainable and prosperous community. Measures that need to be taken to achieve these goals significantly affect the construction sector and will promote the transition to sustainable construction.

Some experts are sure that sustainable construction will be decisive for the quality of human life and the environment. For this, we need to develop new technologies and innovations, promote digitalization, implement the principles of circular use of resources and invest in knowledge and education throughout the construction sector.

Dr Andreja Kutnar, InnoRenew CoE director, took part in the discussion and presented the idea of connecting research with the economy and circularity of materials. The key to success in this lies in interdisciplinarity as it is necessary to connect modern expertise with the concepts of sustainable development and correct use of natural resources. Wood and other renewable materials represent an opportunity for circularity.

“If we take wood into consideration – it starts in the forest, goes further into a house, even further to compounds in the chemical industry and, at the end, we come back to the forest – the circle is closed, the beginning and the end are in the same circle,” said Dr Kutnar, also pointing out cascade use as an important aspect of renewable materials.

As an example of good practice, Dr Kutnar presented one of InnoRenew CoE’s achieved Horizon 2020 projects, “Underpinning the vital role of the forest-based sector in the Circular Bio-Economy (WoodCircus)”. WoodCircus aims to promote wood-based value chains and improve conditions and optimization of processes for reusing construction timber. Currently, InnoRenew CoE researchers are preparing a white book with suggestions and examples of good practice of this area. The white book will be used for EU-level policy preparation.

You can learn more about circularity of materials, reasons why renewable materials are enabling circularity and examples of good practice at InnoRenew CoE in the video of Dr Kutnar’s presentation at the Home Fair discussion. The video was prepared by the event’s organizers.