Buildings and construction processes cause about 40% of all CO2 emissions and can therefore make a significant contribution to tackling the biggest problems of our time - climate collapse and loss of biodiversity. This requires a variety of paradigm shifts, which this research project addresses in a little-researched segment of the planning and real estate sector: the countless retail and commercial properties that have been built primarily on greenfield sites and connected to motorized private transport in recent decades: The research project "Counterintuitive Building Typologies" investigates whether these considerable material and infrastructural resources of commercial properties - more than 13 million squaremetres of retail space in Austria - could also be developed in a more ecologically and economically sustainable way, not least because stationary retail is continuously losing economic traction (furthermore fueled by the pandemic). Could a conversion and further development of these building stocks integrate more circular economy approaches? Even if for most of these sealed mortgages of hardly sustainable spatial and municipal planning only demolition, recycling and re-naturation seem reasonable, this project shows the ecological and economical potentials of selected properties that build on the materially existing resources and their high-quality infrastructure connections and innovatively and function wise counterintuitively rebuild them towards more sustainably positive energy, use, life cycle and social balances. On the basis of five real properties, case studies will be elaborated that achieve a more efficient spatial utilization of the existing space and resources through multiplication of use. The research project shows "redensification possibilities" of retail areas and provides both spatial planning indicators relevant for municipalities and state policy and technical-economic and design-functional data in the area of costs, energy and sustainability relevant for development and operation.
Strengthening the competitiveness and securing the location of companies through a know-how lead in decarbonization. Establishment of a best practice community of climate pioneers who act as multipliers. Implementation of the innovative learning format as a pilot with subsequent rollout.
Dam structures in the infrastructure sector as well as in hydraulic engineering and flood protection are predominantly made out of coarse-grained or mixed-grained fill materials. The use of fine-grained fill materials is only in the case of zone dams as a sealing core at hydraulic engineering and flood protection projects more common. The reason for using mainly coarse-grained and mixed-grained fill materials in dam construction lies primarily in the higher shear strength that can be achieved as well as the easier installation and compactibility of such fill materials. If the water content is too high, for example, fine-grained soils can hardly be compacted, or only at great additional expense, so that it is difficult to prove that the quality meets the current guidelines. Current regulations, such as RVS 08.03.01, also regulate the installation and quality requirements for fine-grain-dominated fill materials, but in practice it has been shown that the required quality can often only be achieved to a limited extent during installation. Furthermore, the proof of quality of the installed soil body itself is usually more demanding than with coarse-grained fill materials. This observation is also reflected in an increased number of dam failures made out of fine-grained soils, with typical damage symptoms being erosion, stability problems in the embankment area and, in some cases, settlements in the fill itself. The use of fine-grain-dominated fill materials for dam construction will play an increasingly important role in Austria in the future in order to conserve resources of higher quality like increasingly costly coarse-grained earth materials. Additionally, fine-grained embankments benefit sustainability and environmental protection by shortening transportation routes when using the in-situ, fine-grained materials directly on site. For this reason, the improvement and further development of dam construction using those soils is of fundamental importance. The planned research project aims to significantly expand and improve the applicability of fine-grained soils for dam construction. On the one hand, the usability of such materials and any necessary soil improvement measures are to be investigated and, on the other hand, the methods of quality assurance are to be expanded and optimized in terms of effectivity. In addition, these considerations and the methods and concepts developed are to be investigated and validated by installing monitoring systems and constructing test dams on a large scale.
EE4M addresses the increasing needs for training, re-, and upskilling of engineers in the mobility value chain from raw material to recycling and back into the loop. In recent years, the mobility value chain in Europe is significantly influenced by a multitude of hyper-dynamic factors, like changing consumer behavior, disruptive technologies, the need for decarbonization initiatives, hyperlocal mobility, etc. which leads to the fact that a continuous realignment of engineering education is indispensable for the long-term success. EE4M focuses on operations management (OM) as the main area of activity for engineers in the mobility value chain which is changing due to the two predominant drivers Industry 4.0 (smart OM) and Sustainability (sustainable OM). EE4M focuses on the professional development of smart and sustainability competences of engineers in the mobility value chain through innovative vocational educational modules supported by a transnational platform between the main drivers of the European mobility value chain (Austria, Greece, Italy, Spain). The innovation of EE4M can be explained by the fact that the entire value chain in the mobility sector serves as the basis for the empirically-based realignment of engineering education to create requirement-orientated competence profiles. During the EE4M project, more than 1,000 VET teachers/trainers, practitioners, and students from all over Europe within EQF levels 4-8 will be enabled to acquire transdisciplinary skills in the field of smart and sustainable OM through innovative teaching and learning environments. A foundation for inclusive and borderless European VET education is to be laid to produce competent and well-trained VET students, graduates/professionals, and teachers. Boosting (inter)national skills ecosystems will successfully increase European competitiveness and employability, professionalize the European VET engineering education, and contribute to economic, ecologic, and social wellbeing.
Over their whole life cycle, buildings account for around 40% of CO2 emissions in the EU as recent studies using bottom-up modelling of the building stock indicate. Reducing emissions from the building sector and construction ecosystem will therefore play a key role for achieving the targets of a climate neutral Europe by 2050, as set out in the European Climate Law. There is a growing recognition of the need to tackle embodied emissions and carbon removals alongside a continued focus on reducing emissions from the energy used to operate buildings. Recent policy initiatives on the EU and national level have highlighted the importance of such a whole life carbon (WLC) emission approach. At present, however, only limited information on whole life carbon emissions of buildings is available in a format that allows in-depth comparison between countries, building types, and emission reduction strategies including design and policy choices. This is especially the case when considering the larger scale, at the level of national and EU building stocks. Establishing an accurate picture of Europe’s building stock To address this, the European Commission has initiated a preparatory action aimed at developing a better understanding of WLC emissions and carbon removals of buildings and construction in the EU. This analysis will help establish a more accurate picture of the climate impact of Europe’s building stock and the associated construction activity. It will also aim to inform the design and proper implementation of effective building- and construction-related policies. The work in this project builds upon efforts and findings from the study ‘Supporting the development of a roadmap for the reduction of whole life carbon of buildings’, launched by the European Commission in 2021.
The aim of the research project is the scientific monitoring of the construction project "Graz Center of Physics" from the perspective of sustainable and climate-friendly construction. In order to ensure the ambitious sustainability goals of the project, a continuous scientific evaluation of the project is planned. One focus of the project will be on the topics of climate change and biodiversity. Already in the early planning phases, the ecological quality of the project is to be promoted through ambitious targets and evaluated and subsequently optimized in the further course of the project through close-meshed monitoring. The results of this process will be scientifically evaluated and processed and will serve as a basis for future university construction projects. The results of the scientific sustainability project support will also be incorporated into ongoing research and teaching at the research focus area of Sustainable Construction and disseminated in scientific journals and at conferences.
With a share of 37% of the global GHG emissions, the construction, maintenance and operation of buildings has a key role to help meet the 2015 COP21 Paris Agreement, which focused on achieving the overarching goal of limiting temperature increase. The International Energy Agen-cy emphasised that to achieve net-zero carbon emission buildings by 2050 it is important to increase the renovation rate, the number of heat pumps, the number of BIPV-systems, the share of renewables and to reduce the energy and electricity demand of the building. But these measures, along with other climate adaptation and resilience solutions, affect material and en-ergy flows and potentially further contribute to embodied carbon of buildings. Legally binding requirements to limit the whole life carbon of new constructions and refurbishments of existing buildings should be set and ambitious climate mitigation and adaptation, or whole life decar-bonisation, pathways should be established to support the transition to a climate-neutral socie-ty. Annex 89 will pursue the above aspiration by supporting the key stakeholders and decision-makers in developing and implementing effective Paris-goal compatible schemes and solutions to achieve NetZ-WLC buildings at multiple scales, through the following work program: (i) de-veloping guidelines and recommendations on establishing whole life carbon targets for the building and real estate sector at various scales and perspectives and identifying critical carbon reduction pathways and actions; (ii) establishing Paris-goal compatible assessment frameworks and evaluating the suitability and application(s) of different assessment methods to achieve NetZ-WLC buildings at various scales; (iii) mapping and assessing the relevance and effectiveness of a range of tools, aids and instruments available to different stakeholders in their decision-making contexts and objective(s); (iv) understanding the conditions that are conducive for in-practice uptake and more effective implementation of context-based solutions and actions by key stakeholders; and (v) ensuring efficient and effective engagement and knowledge exchange with diverse stakeholder groups and disseminating Annex 89 outputs that maximise opportuni-ties to “get it to the ground” – from local to global scale. The ambitious project is being implemented by 84 experts from 27 countries under Austrian leadership.
Achieving climate neutrality requires close coordination across all economic sectors and societal actors, aligning individual strategies, targets and measures. This project co-develops cross-sectoral integrated pathways in an in-depth science-stake-holder dialogue. Scientific analysis and evaluation support consistent policy packages to be jointly developed by scientists and stakeholders. Particular focus is placed on regulatory, infrastructural, energy and material preconditions, the role and devel-opment of the financial sector, and distributional implications.
Resource scarcity, exploding raw material prices and energy costs as well as an increasing shortage of skilled workers are currently major challenges for the construction industry. Driven by population growth and changing lifestyles, the demand for housing is increasing at the same time. Currently, 11% of global energy and process-related GHG emissions are caused by building products, which highlights the relevance of this sector. However, solving the issue of sustainability through the choice of building material is too short-sighted.