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Wood and wood products over a lifetime – WOOLF

  • TITLE OF THE PROJECT:  WOOD AND WOOD PRODUCTS OVER A LIFETIME – WOOLF
  • LEADER OF THE PROJECT:  M SORA, TRGOVINA IN PROIZVODNJA, D.D. (Principal Consortium partner/for the partner in consortium InnoRenew CoEIztok Šušteršič, PhD)
  • PERIOD: 1. 12. 2018 (36 months)
  • RESEARCH ORGANISATIONS:

Principal consortium partner: M SORA, trgovina in proizvodnja d.d.

Partners in consortium: Gozdarski inštitut Slovenije, InnoRenew CoE, L-TEK elektronika d.o.o, REM montaža in kleparstvo d.o.o., Univerza v Ljubljani, Biotehniška fakulteta, XLAB razvoj programske opreme in svetovanje d.o.o., Zavod za gradbeništvo Slovenije

  • FINANCED: European Union – European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Call for proposals “to support Research and development projects (TRL 3-6).

  • BUDGET: 2.945.250,00 EUR (234.281,25 EUR for InnoRenew CoE)

Summary of the Project

On average, EU citizens spend 90 % of their time indoors which is why the quality of indoor environment is of utmost importance, wherein the active and passive roles of a building hold a key role. The former is achieved through various systems in the building and the latter by the building’s design, where the material used are crucially important. The construction materials, which remain hidden to the user, and the cover materials influence the wellbeing of the people within a building through a number of conscious and subconscious factors. A special mention must go to wood, which is a traditional construction material with proven beneficial influence on wellbeing when used in construction. Another important aspect where buildings play a key role is the use of energy and natural resources. Building usage in the EU is responsible for roughly 40 % of energy consumption and 36 % of greenhouse gasses emissions. Furthermore, the construction industry is behind 32 % of waste material produced and more than 50 % of use of non-renewable raw resources. Use of wood in construction is almost the perfect answer to these challenges. Wooden buildings are typically very energy efficient; the emissions incorporated into such buildings are lower than in solid constructions and wood is a renewable building material that can be both recycled and reused.

The WOOLF project addresses all these key challenges through the development of elements for wood construction, and integration of information communication technologies (ICT) for active management of wellbeing within a building as well as the building sustainability.

Construction of wooden buildings in Slovenia and Europe is exhibiting significant growth; the export volume of Slovenian manufacturers of prefabricated wooden buildings increased by almost 48 % between 2013 and 2015, by which the revenue from sales in foreign markets surpassed those from the domestic market for the first time. Modular construction is gaining in popularity as a result of the market demand for fast and reliable construction, additionally driven by the migration issues. Modular construction enables fast, precise and adaptable building execution and also enables multi storey wooden construction. The latter is recognised within the Strategic Research and Innovation Partnerships, Smart buildings and homes, including wood chain (SRIP PSiDL) framework as a key strategic orientation of the Slovenian construction and wood industry.

The proposal for the WOOLF project arose from the Strategic Research and Innovation Partnerships, Smart buildings and homes, including wood chain (SRIP PSiDL). Most of the project partners are active partners on the SRIP PSiDL and have actively contributed to the SRIP PSiDL Action Plan. The WOOLF project directly addresses the topics of the S4 priority section: Smart buildings and homes, including wood chain, subsection: Wood and wood chain.

Construction with wood is not simple and errors occur in practice which are mostly the result of bad examples in construction. Often, the users of buildings attribute these shortcomings to the type of construction in general and not to the specific example, because wood has traditionally been perceived as a non durable material. Wood rot and flammability are the two characteristics often pointed out by the broader public as the key weakness of wooden construction. This is why the WOOLF project is developing solutions that will help prevent the errors that could lead to sub optimal performance of a building, through in depth understanding of the degradation processes, construction in controlled conditions and ongoing monitoring of the condition of various parts of the building.

In addition, the WOOLF project is addressing the impact of climate change on wooden construction by researching the possibilities for use of alternative wood types that are not currently being used in construction. For various reasons such as ice damage, bark beetle, etc. the share of spruce wood, which is usually very commonly used in construction, has been decreasing in the Slovenian forests and has fallen from 33 % to 10 %. This is why it is imperative to identify other tree species that will be able to replace the spruce in the future.

Relevance of the results expected from research project

The basic goal of the WOOLF project is to develop wooden structural and window systems that will enable the construction of multi-story modular wooden buildings and to integrate newly developed sensor technology into them. In combination with the newly developed ICT smart system it will be possible to monitor the quality of wood and wooden objects in real time and to predict their service life-time.