November 29, 2023Read more
Sustainability is at the core of InnoRenew CoE’s values, principles and activities. The institute works on research and innovation in renewable materials and healthy built environments; therefore, sustainability and related topics are of great importance, and InnoRenew CoE’s researchers strive to make an impact environmentally, socially and economically.
InnoRenew CoE prepared a chapter highlighting these activities in their 2021 annual report.
In 2021, InnoRenew CoE continued its work on 36 research projects that contribute to sustainable development and the circular economy (page 42, InnoRenew CoE annual report). For example, the “Reverse logistics network of residual wood biomass” project investigates the optimization of supply chains considering environmental impact and energy cost with special attention to the field of reverse logistics, where raw materials can partly come from recycled sources instead of being used as energy resources. Also, the “Wood and wood products over a lifetime” (WOOLF) project explores the development of wooden structural and window systems to enable the construction of multistorey modular wooden buildings.
InnoRenew CoE researchers published 319 scientific papers related to the topic of sustainability (page 132, InnoRenew CoE annual report).
Additional activities aimed at protecting the environment included:
- Collaboration with the Municipality of Izola, Slovenia Forest Service, Komunala Izola as well as Slovenia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food and Ministry of Education, Science and Sport to finish planting 3,000 oak trees in Izola to contribute to the environmental protection and mitigation of climate change for society’s sustainable development. The 3,000 oak trees will grow 1450 cubic meters of wood in 200 years, storing 2647 tons of carbon dioxide.
- Construction of the new InnoRenew CoE building, the largest wooden building in Slovenia, built from natural, renewable materials and designed based on sustainable building principles and restorative environmental and ergonomic design (REED), which emphasizes the use of natural materials to create ergonomic, accessible, adaptable and sustainable buildings.
InnoRenew CoE’s 2021 activities ensured that social sustainability was not neglected:
- Completed and adopted InnoRenew CoE’s Gender Equality Plan and further integrated the gender dimension into the institute’s research.
- Evaluated for Slovenia’s 2021 Business Excellence Award; recognized by EFQM with four stars (Recognized by EFQM 4 Stars certificate).
- Promoted wood with the “Let’s explore wood” youth workshops and collaborated on a documentary about woodworking professions geared to a young audience.
- Offered possibilities for employees to attend professional trainings and workshops to assist their professional and personal development (page 92, InnoRenew CoE annual report).
- Organized weekly meetings to share the institute’s activities, research projects and special topics.
- Used and promoted online channels for internal communication between all employees and encouraged their social interactions.
- Attended events, such as Charm of Wood and Slovenian Wood Days, to engage in broader discussions and connect with stakeholders.
- Maintained memberships in organizations and associations that contribute to sustainable development (page 111, InnoRenew CoE annual report).
- Promoted and engaged the public in topics related to sustainability and created awareness and calls for action with the institute’s presence in the media and social media (page 91, InnoRenew CoE annual report).
- Collaborated with the local community; for example, developed a solution for the protection of bronze monuments, assisted in the renovation of Koper’s Servite monastery and created the LOOSE CELLS – Innovating at the Crossfield of Art and Science project.
- Collaborated with policymakers; for example, prepared the “Fit for 55″ strategy, a green public procurement, implementation plan for the Slovenian industrial strategy, became a New European Bauhaus partner and developed industry and policy guidance on supporting the role of the forest sector in the circular bioeconomy (WoodCircus project).
InnoRenew CoE works on research and development projects with industry through publicly financed projects and direct collaborations. The institute’s 116 industrial partners in 2021 created new knowledge in the fields of wood modification, acoustics, environmental impacts and civil engineering. Researchers also trained companies within the framework of the KOCles 3.0 project. Impacts from InnoRenew CoE’s 2021 activities will be indicated in upcoming yearly reports.
Check out the online version of InnoRenew CoE’s Annual Report 2021, available now!