Since January 2022, Alexander Passer is the new Professor of Sustainable Construction at TU Graz. The professorship is endowed by the Austrian Building Materials Industry Association.
In the framework of the endowed professorship he is now devoting himself even more intensively to the key topics of climate neutrality in the building industry, modelling of the building life cycle and methods of life cycle-based sustainability assessment. Prof. Passer will continue to lead the research and teaching within the Working Group for Sustainable Construction.
How can Austria become climate neutral by 2040?
Until 8 May, citizens can vote on the Climate Council's proposals in categories such as transport & mobility, buildings & construction and clean energy. The ideas developed in the climate council meetings as well as suggestions submitted online can be evaluated.
Application for Green.Building.Solutions. Summer University 2022 (GBS; 7 ECTS) is still possible!
GBS provides world-leading insights into sustainable architecture and the built environment by experts in their fields. The program aims at architects, planners and engineers and takes place from 16 July to 7 August 2022 in Vienna. For the TU Graz scholarship apply until May 2 here and add "TU Graz" as your scholarship reference.
You are interested in applying for GBS, but have some questions left open?
Join the free Virtual Open House Session on 25 April – Registration via Eventbrite.
The project aims to help consumers understand the amount of ressources and energy behind products at the supermarket. By making this information visible, the project supports sustainable purchasing decisions and ultimately a sustainable management and growth.
A recently within the project published tool enables actors along the value chain all the way up to consumers to check and compare the environmental footprint of their products.
The tool was developed with the help of the Working Group and supports several vendors of organic produce so far.
Included in the footprint are manufacturing, packaging, transport, etc. ProNaWi displays the CO2 equivalent, as well as calculation details and information on data quality.
To speed up the assessment of products, a methodology has been developed that makes it relatively easy to combine existing product information and extrapolate it to new products using similarity analyses.
Find out more about the project on the official website.
The ProNaWi research project is co-funded by the FFG.
On 21 April, the business brunch "Zukunftssicheres Bauen" takes place at MuseumsQuartier, hosted by Franziska Trebut from ÖGUT. Various research projects in the field of sustainable construction will be presented.
Welcome by Theodor Zillner, Federal Ministry for Climate Action
Spielräume des dualen Weges, Vergleichende Analysen zu "Care for Paris"
Renate Hammer & Peter Holzer, Institute of Building Research and Innovation
Die Sichtbarkeit der Gebäudeökologie - Ökobilanzierung im Ernergieausweis
Bernhard Lipp, Austrian Institute for Building Biology and Ecology (IBO)
PEF4Buildings - EU-Methodik zur Bewertung von Umweltauswirkungen, Level(s) - Piloten für EU-einheitliche Gebäudebewertung
Alexander Passer, Graz University of Technology
Sommerkomfort einfach simulieren - Thesim 3D
Joachim Nacker, Architektur- und Bauforschung GesbR
Dekarbonisierung im Gebäudesektor
Interview with Stefan Schleicher, Wegener Center, University of Graz
Massivbaustoffherstellung als Impulsgeber für Regionen
Stefan Kirchweger, Studia
You can now register for the university's post-graduate training in sustainable construction!
Registration deadline is 28 August. Early birds get 10 % of until May 29th.
The course starts in October 2022 and offers insight into the latest developments in sustainable construction.
It focuses on current methods, theories, trends and tools in the building sector. Additionaly, certification as ÖGNI auditor is offered. The programme is an ideal postgraduate course for managers in the construction industry with a specialisation or an interest in sustainable construction.
(c) Karo Pernegger
How can Austria become climate neutral by 2040?
Mandated by the Austrian parlament, the new Climate Council, a representative group consisting of 100 people with various backgrounds and different opinions on sustainability and climate change, will work together on recommendations concerning climate mitigation and adaptation actions for Austria.
Gentle scientific support is essential for the independent work of the Climate Council. The council is therefore supported by a 15-member scientific monitoring committee, in which scientists from many different disciplines are represented, including Alexander Passer for the field of sustainability in the built environment.
The main focus (i.e. transport & mobility, diet, clean energy, social justice,...) as well as the exact method of decision making are yet to be agreed on.
Above all the success of the Climate Council will be measured by whether the measures it develops find their way into the political process and are taken into account by the government and parliament. The Federal Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology Leonore Gewessler promised to take the results very seriously (see press conference).
We are happy to share that the final version of the "Monte Verità Declaration on a built environment within planetary boundaries" is now published!
It is addressed to several different stakeholder in the buildings and construction sector.
More than 40 scientists from 20 countries signed the declaration.
The declaration was presented to Andreas Eckmanns, a representative from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy and Swiss representative of the IEA EBC ExCo during the 10. expert meeting of the IEA EBC Annex 72.
The TU Graz Sustainabilty Report for the reporting period 2016 to 2018+ is now published and accessible for the public.
The university programme in Sustainable Construction is a cooperation between TU Graz (Life Long Learning) and TU Wien (Academy for Continuing Education). AGNHB's Alexander Passer is the programme director at TU Graz.
The purpose of the programme is to bring the students up to speed about the developments in sustainable construction. It focuses on current methods, theories, trends and tools in the building sector. Additionally, certification as ÖGNI auditor is possible. The programme is an ideal postgraduate course for managers in the construction industry with a specialisation or an interest in sustainable construction.
This year's course started the week before last.
A warm welcome to all students and good luck with your studies!
As part of the development of an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for Airium, a cementitious insulation foam, the Working Group visited a construction site in Zlatten, to investigate how the foam was being produced and applied in a new residential house. The Airium truck contains all the technological equipment allowing for an on-site production of the foam, which is then transported inside the house through the blue pipe. The foam is then, in this case, poured on the floor under the screed, covering the pipes and the electrical wires. The whole life cycle impacts of this technology, which can be used for example instead of plastics materials (EPS, XPS, etc.), are currently being assessed.
This year's Science Day under the title Climate and Energy takes place on 29 September at Alte Technik and online (the keynote speeches as well as the panel discussion and award ceremony will be streamed live here).
In the afternoon researchers will shed light on the future topic of climate and energy in 8 theme sessions hosted by the 5 Fields of Expertise.
They will focus on new research approaches and technologies in the context of their field of activity and discuss them with guests from science, business and society.
At 1 pm Alexander Passer is giving one of the four lectures hosted by the FoE Sustainable Systems. He will present the latest methodological and technological developments in Sustainable Construction.
To attend please register by sending an email with name and contact to email@example.com.
For detailled information see tugraz.at/research/fields-of-expertise/tu-graz-science-for-future/2021-climate-and-energy/
This new study by Martin Röck et al. presents a systematic review of both the latest scientific literature on environmental modelling of building stocks and related EU policy initiatives. The findings illuminate the strengths and limitations of existing approaches as well as the potential of such modelling and the required directions for future development to provide effective policy support.
Based on the assessment of 104 scientific papers, our study shortlisted and analysed 22 environmental building stock modelling approaches. While promising, these show various limitations on their effectiveness in supporting decarbonization efforts while avoiding burden shifting. Future building stock models should offer extended system boundaries and comprehensive life cycle assessment, improved hotspot analysis and impact monitoring across spatiotemporal scales. A long-term perspective on the entire building stock covering climate and other environmental impacts is needed, as outlined in the latest standards. By linking existing studies to related EU policy objectives, we identify various studies that investigate scenarios and strategies relevant to EU policy makers and highlight research gaps.
The publication can be accessed here.
From June to early August 2021, the Working Group Sustainable Construction is hosting Bernardette Soust-Verdaguer as a guest researcher. She works as a researcher at the Building Construction I Department of the School of Architecture of the University of Seville. Her expertise area is the Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment integration in the building’s design process and design tools.
At the moment, she is concentrated on working in the project the IEA Annex 72 project Subtask 2 and the project “Development of a unified tool for the quantification and reduction of the environmental, social and economic impact during the buildings life cycle in BIM platforms”. During her stay we will focus on working on both projects, and specifically on the development of scientific deliverables and scientific papers related. Moreover, other further collaborations will be discussed.
Like last May, this year's (H)TU Sustainability Day will take place online on 19 May.
Eva Schulev-Steindl, professor at the Institute of Public Law and Political Science (University of Graz) and head of the Research Center for Climate Law will give the Sustainability Lecture on the topic "Legal policy challenges on the way to climate neutrality".
The climate crisis as a massive social, legal and political task is omnipresent today and has reached the center of social discourse at least since the emergence of the Fridays for Future movement.
Therefore, the lecture will focus on the obstacles that still need to be overcome on the way to the climate neutrality aimed for by the federal government by 2040 and where the impulses for a climate-friendly future are coming from.
The lecture will be streamed live from 16 to 18 o'clock on TUbe and is also available as recording afterwards.
The 2nd International Online Conference CoMS, co-organised by Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute ZAG, University of Zagreb, University of Novi Sad and Bundesanstalt für Materialprüfung und -forschung BAM, took place from 21 to 22 April 2021.
Alexander Passer is one of six Plenary Speakers. His talk is titled Sustainable Construction – New Chances for our Future?
The keynote addresses the latest methodological, technological and policy related developments as well as presents good examples that show that it is possible to create a net-zero GHG-emission built environment. In addition to addressing climatic and environmental concerns, these projects also engage with wider societal concerns expressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These positive examples are proof of technical, social and economic feasibility. It is imperative to adopt these practices widely.
The International Sustainable Energy Conference - ISEC 2022, organized by AEE INTEC, sees itself as a promoter for innovative ideas in the areas of renewable energy systems and resource efficiency and is intended to be a forum for research, industry and energy policy.
Alexander Passer, head of the Working Group, is part of the Organizing Comitee of the 2nd edition of ISEC.
Unfortunately, the International Sustainable Energy Conference 2020 (ISEC 2020) had to be postponed by two years to April 2022 due to the effects of the corona pandemic.
The Call for Abstracts will be open from September 13 to October 10. Abstracts, that have been submitted in the last call, will remain in the system and will be reviewed for 2022.
Registration will be open soon.
For further information see aee-intec-events.at/events/isec-2022.
Green.Building.Solutions Summer University is a three week master-level training for architects, engineers and urban planners. This year, it takes place online from July 17 to August 8. Austria's leading building experts provide in-depth knowledge on passive house standard, sustainable urban development, clean energy technologies, ecological architecture and construction in talks and interactive sessions. The program can be found here.
Apply until May 1 at summer-university.net/gbs-vienna/application/.
At GBS, one scholarship is exclusively reserved for a TU Graz student.
As part of the HERMES-project, Endrit Hoxha et al. published a paper on the Life cycle assessment of roads. To overcome the problems in identifying low-carbon solutions for urban roads, a Systematic Literature Review was conducted. Only 18 % of the total 417 road case studies were classified as transparent and reproducible. Based on these results, the authors proposed several improvements of the life cycle assessment to ensure a harmonized calculation of the environmental impacts of roads.
Open access publication.
Because of the current situation, the 21th Climate Day was postponed again12 to 14 April 2021. For the first time it will take place online under the motto "Clash of Cultures?-Climate research meets industry!". The Climate Day is hosted by the Climate Change Center Austria (CCCA) and is the most important networking event of the Austrian climate research community and promotes, among other things, the exchange and dialogue between scientific and non-scientific groups.
The current program including scientific contributions and framing events, as well as all other information about the Climate Day 2020 can be found here.
In each of the scientific sessions there will be 4 selected lectures on current climate research including discussion. In addition, there are thematically appropriate posters assigned to each session, but these are not presented directly in the session. In order to give the posters sufficient presence during the Climate Day, audio poster presentations will be made available on the CCCA website.
Barbara Truger's audio-presentation of a poster on the project ParisBuildings as part of the ACRP-Poster-Session 1 is available here.
A review of the 21st Austrian Climate Day can be found here.
Based on the results of the Greenhouse Gas Accounting of Graz University of Technology, the University has adopted a roadmap to climate neutrality by 2030. With specific measures and in cooperation with all employees and students, Graz University of Technology plans to fulfill its social responsibility in terms of climate protection and is thereby one of the pioneers among Austria's universities.
In this interview, they explain the strategy of TU Graz and what measures each employee can take to support Graz University of Technology on its path to climate neutrality. The university is essentially pursuing three strategies: increase in efficiency, eco-effectiveness and eco-sufficiency. The focus is on switching to electricity from renewable sources, low-emission heating and cooling systems, sustainable construction and reducing carbon emissions from transportation.
Biking or using public transportation and travelling by train instead of airplane on business trips is highly encouraged. The university subsidizes e-bikes, tickets for public transportation and the charging of electric cars and supports research projects especially in the area of sustainable construction.
At the end of January and the beginning of February, Alexander Passer and Antonija Wieser, hold interactive online workshops for schools on the topic of climate change and greenhouse gas reporting. The workshops are part of the project makingAchange.
makingAchange is a cooperation project between science and schools. The CCCA - Climate Change Centre Austria, together with the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, invited secondary schools to participate in that project on climate change and sustainability in Austria. The AGNHB is conducting the workshops for schools in the Southeast of Austria, namly in Styria, Carinthia and Burgenland.
The overall aim of makingAchange is to contribute to the transformation of society, to raise awareness and integrate the topics of climate protection and sustainability into the school environment as well as in the everyday life of pupils. More about other topics is to be found on the website.
We are looking forward to a great interesting insights, lively discussions as well as many greenhouse gas reportings of schools.
For schools interested: Soon another Call for the second round of schools participating in the school year 2021/2022 will be announced. For updates check the website.
The team of the Working Group Sustainable Construction wants to thank you for the fruitful collaboration in the past year. We are looking forward to continuing our work on exciting projects to jointly create a sustainable (built) environment.
Merry Christmas & a happy new year!
On 25 November, Dr. Marcella Ruschi Mendes Saade, who is an employee at the Working Group since July 2020, held a lecture on how to perform a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) as part of a series of seminars organised jointly with the Institute of Business Economics and Industrial Sociology.
The seminar series deal with Techno-Economic Research Methods, which are crucial to every scientific discipline as they ensure rationality and verifiability of scientific findings.
In the seminar, participants were taught the different steps involved in performing an SLR to enable them to differentiate between narrative and systematic reviews, to develop answerable research questions, to design a search protocol and to organize and combine search outcomes.
Two more seminars will take place in December and January. The second one is also co-organised by the Working Group and will be held by Prof. Karen Allacker from KU Leuven on the topic of "Research methods with focus on Sustainability". Registration is open until January 25th 2021. Biking or using public transportation and travelling by train instead of airplane on business trips is highly encouraged. The university subsidizes e-bikes, tickets for public transportation and the charging of electric cars and supports research projects especially in the area of sustainable construction.
Can appropriate carbon metrics in combination with carbon budgets be developed and used by built environment professionals, clients and civil society? Is it feasible to have a scalable approach? Can governments provide clear, useful targets to the products / construction / real estate industries?
Based on the paper "Latest developments in the assessment rules of GHG emissions: biogenic carbon“ published in Buildings & Cities special issue on Carbon Metrics, new findings are presented.
All videos can be watched at buildingsandcities.org.
The increasing pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings has motivated specialists to develop low-carbon products incorporating bio-based materials. The impact of these materials is often evaluated through life-cycle assessment (LCA), but there is no clear consensus on how to model the biogenic carbon released or absorbed during their life-cycle. This study investigates and compares existing methods used for biogenic carbon assessment. The most common approaches were identified through an extensive literature review.
Deviation between the results obtained from different methods was 16% at the building scale and between 35% and 200% at the component scale. Of all the methods studied, the dynamic approach of evaluating biogenic carbon uptake is the most robust and transparent.
Find the detailed review of current approaches in the open access publication.
This new study by Guillaume Habert (ETH Zurich), Martin Röck, Alexander Passer, Endrit Hoxha et al. explores the processes for establishing a carbon budget for residential and non-residential buildings. Target values for creating carbon budgets for buildings are important for developing climate-neutral building stocks. A lack of clarity currently exists for defining carbon budgets for buildings and what constitutes a unit of assessment—particularly the distinction between production- and consumption-based accounting. These different perspectives on the system and the function that is assessed hinder a clear and commonly agreed definition of ‘carbon budgets’ for building construction and operation.
Find the detailed review of current approaches to budget allocation and the propsed framework to accommodate these different perspectives and spatio-temporal scales towards harmonised and comparable cross-sectoral budget definitions in the open access publication.
To foster sustainable development, the environmental impacts of the construction sector need to be reduced substantially. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the established methodology for the quantification of environmental impacts, and therefore has been increasingly applied to assess the environmental performance of buildings. By coupling LCAs with digital design tools, e.g., building information modeling (BIM), the identification of environmental hotspots and their mitigation is possible during the design process. The objective of the study is to identify the current integration approaches, and determine the pros and cons of the integration process from different viewpoints, namely, technical, informational, organizational and functional issues.
Open access publication.
We are happy to welcome our new team member, Marcella Ruschi Mendes Saade.
Marcella performs research in Environmental and Civil Engineering, specifically working with Life Cycle Assessment applied to the built environment. Her focus is on the development and/or adaptation of life cycle inventories, data uncertainty, impact distribution and dynamic modelling of carbon balances. She has collaborated with the Working Group in other research projects since 2016.
Marcella will join the group as a postdoctoral researcher, supporting different projects and aiding in class preparation and lectures.
This lecture is part of the course Software-based Building Information Modeling (219.254), which deals with geometrical modelling of parametrised objects, semantical modelling, forms of cooperation within integrated Information Modelling and standardisation as well as introduces students to the basic methods and possibilities in the digital construction.
On Monday, 25 May at 14 o'clock, Agron Deralla (BIM-Manager at AllesWirdGut at Vienna) and Martin Taurer (Product Designer for Autodesk Revit and Consultant at LivingRoomCraftz) will share their experience working with Building Information Modeling.
On 13 May, the (H)TU Day of Sustainability, part of the TU Graz' Week of Sustainability, will be held restricted to virtual parts.
This years Sustainability Lecture will take place from 14 to 16 o'clock and can be accessed via tube.
Professor Andrea Steiner, head of the Wegener Center Graz, will give a lecture on the topic "Monitoring climate change - how far are we from fulfilling the Paris Agreement?"
Changes in the composition of the atmosphere affect the earth's climate and cause regional and global climate changes. What do satellite measurements show? How can we differentiate between natural climate change and human influence? What statements can we make about future climate changes? How can we achieve the Paris climate goal and does the corona crisis affect the climate?
Afterwards, Professor Steiner, Rector Kainz, Vicerector Vorbach and members of the Sustainability Advisory Board will have a discussion. Questions may be asked via feedbackr (fbr.io/SL2020).
The recording can be (re)watched at tube.
In April 2020 the Working Group finished the LCA of the EBS-Building, that is currently under construction at Campus Inffeld.
In 2017, the rectorate commissioned the Working Group Sustainable Construction to assess all locations of TU Graz in terms of energy use for electricity, heating and mobility, use of fuels and materials and its canteens. This GHG assessment of Graz University of Technology was published in the GHG report 2017. An evaluation of the grey GHG emissions from the construction of buildings had not been included in this assessment. Therefore the Working Group analysed a reference building regarding its environmental performance including operational as well as grey energy. The complete report can be found here.
Assuming a static energy mix, the most relevant factor on the environmental impacts of the EBS Center over the whole Reference Study Period certainly is the operational energy. Nevertheless, the embodied impacts of the building are also a major factor. Due to this significant share, it is recommended to include also the embodied impacts of buildings in the yearly calculation of the GHG emissions.
Due to the extensive know-how in the preparation of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) in the construction industry (e.g. EPD-VöZ, EPD-GVTB) the Working Group Sustainable Construction was commissioned by the steel and rolling mill Marienhütte Graz to prepare an EPD for reinforcing steel.
As no suitable PKR-B document was available for reinforcing steels, this document was also prepared and is now publicly available to other EPD producers.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Marienhütte Graz for the excellent cooperation and look forward to further joint projects.
The entire document can be downloaded here.
In its mission statement Graz University of Technology committed to implementing the UN Agenda 2030 goals. In addition to contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in teaching, research and administration, TU Graz, together with the University of Graz, is responsible for SDG 11 "Sustainable Cities and Communities" within the UniNEtZ project.
„Städte und Gemeinden/Gemeinschaften spielen eine Schlüsselrolle für die nachhaltige Entwicklung in unserer Welt. Derzeit leben ca. 50% der Weltbevölkerung in Städten, bis 2070 werden 70% erwartet. SDG 11 zielt auf die Schaffung nachhaltiger Städte und Gemeinden (bzw. Gemeinschaften) und damit auf die Schaffung einer sozialräumlich gerechten und ökologisch zukunftsfähigen Lebensgrundlage für die Menschen ab. Durch den wachsenden Urbanisierungsgrad ist SDG 11 mit einem der Megatrends des 21. Jahrhunderts konfrontiert. Darin liegen gleichermaßen Probleme wie Potenziale, da es nicht nur auf die Verbesserung der derzeitigen städtischen Infrastrukturen und Lebenssituationen abzielt, sondern auch auf die Transformation hin zu sozial, ökologisch und ökonomisch nachhaltigen Gemeinschaften mit resilientem Charakter. Die wichtigste Herausforderung ist daher die Schaffung von Strukturen, die nachhaltiges Alltagsleben ermöglichen.“ [Allianz Nachhaltige Universitäten in Österreich (2020): UniNEtZ – Universitäten und Nachhaltige Entwicklungsziele – Perspektivenbericht. Wien, Innsbruck, Österreich. ISBN: 978-3-901182-74-7]
Participants of the international Sustainable Built Environment Conference SBE19 Seoul in South Korea were encouraged to sign the Graz Declaration for Climate Protection in the Built Environment. The 124 collected signatures were handed to Dr. Rolf Frischknecht, Operating Agent of IEA EBC Annex 72 and owner and managing director of treeze Ltd., Switzerland by Sung Woo Shin, Chair of the Organizing Committee of SBE19 Seoul at the Award Ceremony on 13 December 2019. These signatures show that climate protection in the built environment is not only an European but a global need and challenge.
You can sign the Graz declaration here.
The full list of signatories (currently 380) is also available on that website.
In this new study by Martin Röck et al., the importance of reducing embodied carbon of buildings for effective climate change mitigation is showed. By analysing hundreds of life cycle assessment case studies, a global trend and ways forward were identified. While operational GHG emissions are reduced due to energy efficiency improvements, the embodied GHG emissions - i.e. related to sourcing and processing of construction materials - are increasing.
The study shows, that embodied GHG emissions investment for the production of new buildings dominates in the first decade, making their reduction and effectiveness a fundamental aspect in reducing life cycle emissions. Find more about the methodology and the detailed analyse in the open access publication.
At the invitation of Landesrat Johann Seitinger, experts including Alexander Passer discussed the future of living at Kunsthaus Graz. Climate protection and the creation of affordable property were the focus of attention.
According to Seitinger, the building sector makes a very significant contribution to climate protection: "About one third of the progress made to date in climate protection comes from this area. Strict insulation standards and heating with renewable energy sources not only protect our climate, but also reduce operating costs."
Professor Passer presented the necessary mitigation and adaptation strategies to cope with climate change, especially in heavely built-up urban areas. These areas are going through a rapid phase of growth and the emergence of heat islands is threatening: "It is essential to plan buildings, open spaces and entire neighborhoods in advance to counter climatic change" says Professor Passer. Our cities then would not only be better prepared for climate change, but they would make an active contribution to climate protection.
You can download the full presentation here.
Guillaume Habert, head of the Chair of Sustainable Construction, ETH Zürich, is launching a new Certificate of Advanced Studies in “Regenerative Materials” dedicated to earth, bio-based materials and reuse materials.
The objectives are to teach the specificities of these low-carbon materials (supply, implementation, adapted architectural design, material properties, construction cost and planning, end-of-life, etc.) through practical experiments, inspiring examples (visits and guest lectures) and exercises based on real case study.
The team, composed of international experts (Wang Shu, Anna Heringer, Martin Rauch, Dominique Gauzin-Müller…) want to teach not only architects and engineers, but also members of city technical services, building contractors, NGOs, in order to globally raise skills in the low-carbon construction sector.
A first session will open in January 2020 (5 weeks of contact lectures during one semester). Courses will be hold in English in order to receive a Swiss and international public. A Master of Advanced Studies will open in January 2021 (2 semesters) and will go deeper into technical details.
At the Sustainable Built Environment D-A-CH Conference 2019, researchers adopted the Graz declaration for climate protection in the built environment.
An intact natural environment is not only vital for humankind but also provides the basis for further social and economic development. For more than 30 years, the international scientific community has provided a strong body of evidence on the increasingly high atmospheric concentrations of man-made greenhouse gases (GHG) and the need to reduce these in order to limit the damages and risks caused by global warming.
The operation of buildings is responsible for approximately 40% of Europe’s energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions, making them the single largest cause of energy consumption and GHG-emissions. In addition, there are energy consumption and emissions caused by the manufacturing of construction products for creation and refurbishment of buildings and constructed assets.
The objectives of limiting global warming require translation into actions for the specific sectors and actors.
You can sign the declaration here.
All signatories can be found here.
Buildings must be planned, constructed and operated in such a way that they represent a capital rather than a legacy for future generations.
In the research project UNAB, an interdisciplinary research team of TU Graz took up this challenge with the aim of developing new, integral and hybrid building envelopes with special emphasis on sustainability and implementation in the planning process. By merging two complementary research approaches and integrating different research methods in the areas of design, numerical simulations, life cycle assessment, risk analysis and systemic analysis, a milestone in the operationalization (assessability) could be achieved.
We are a partner of the summer school “Green.Building.Solutions. (GBS)”, which will take place from July, 20th to August, 11th 2019 in Vienna.
Therefore, we invite our students to apply for the summer school.
The programme deals with ecological, economical, technical and social aspects of sustainable planning and building. Participants deepen their knowledge in the fields of passive house technology and energy efficiency. The contents are transmitted in close cooperation with Austrian experts in a transdisciplinary and intercultural setting of lectures, excursions and a final project work (information under: www.summer-university.net.)
Application deadline: April, 22nd (resp. June, 30th 2019)
Participation fee (incl. Housing, light refreshments):
Scholarship: EUR 490,- Regular fee: EUR 2000,- for students / EUR 2490,- for professionals
The Working Group Sustainable Construction, the Science, Technology and Society Unit and the Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change teamed up for the project 'Transition of the procurement process towards Paris compatible public buildings' to identify the mitigation potential for the public building sector and to help integrate requirements to reach climate objectives.
In alignment with the Paris Agreement, Austria is committed to development towards a climate neutral society. The ParisBuildings project addresses the implications on buildings in Austria, considering both operational and embodied emissions. Moreover, the project combines environmental with economic assessments and develops Paris compatible public procurement requirements. The derived recommendations are evaluated based on case studies to support Austria’s policymakers.
SUSTAINABILITY LECTURE by Univ.-Prof. Ing. Verena Winiwarter (BOKU) on Sustainability as a Challenge: Innovations, Preparedness and Interdisciplinary Thinking.
Afterwards panel discussion with Rector Kainz and the Sustainability Advisory Board.
When: 5 June 2019, 12 to 14 o'clock
Where: Hörsaal i9, Inffeldgasse 13, ground floor, 8010 Graz
For further information and registration please have a look at tugraz.at/go/SL.
The event will be recorded.
On 18 June 2019 the 71st Discussion Forum on Life Cycle Assessment will take place at ETH Zurich and will cover the topic “Environmental Benchmarks for buildings: Needs, challenges and solutions”.
COP23, IEA and an increasing number of countries are extending their consideration from aspects such as building energy demand and emissions from building operation to building construction and the manufacture of construction materials.
This Discussion Forum will allow participants to inform themselves on the state of activities and regulations on the environmental LCA of buildings in Switzerland, European and other foreign countries. It is targeted to LCA practitioners and researchers as well as policy makers in the construction sector.
This DF profits from the research activities of the IEA EBC Annex 72 “Assessing Life-Cycle Related Environmental Impacts Caused by Buildings”.
Starting in 2019, Hermes is an international research project driven by scientists in Norway, Austria and China focusing on the integrated evaluation of energy saving, emission reduction potential and management strategies for urban road systems.
Innovation strategies aiming to improve urban life and development must address the pillars of urban areas: their infrastructural system. In Europe, about 80% of the road network consists of asphalt pavements, requiring more than 275 million tons of asphalt mixture to be produced every year. The negative impact of this production in terms of fossil energy, air quality and resource depletion is immense. If we are to take great leaps towards a sustainable infrastructure this challenge must be addressed. For further information on the project please have a look at the website.
Graz University of Technology is campaigning for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is actively promoting awareness of the SDGs in a week of sustainability from 3 to 7 June. Highlights include a Sustainability Lecture by Verena Winiwarter (Professor at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences) midweek and the (H)TU Sustainability Day on Campus Inffeldgasse (for more information check Facebook).
Graz University of Technology is of course also committed to sustainability during the remaining 51 weeks of the year: Together with 17 partner institutions, TU Graz is developing options for implementing the SDGs (UniNEtZ project).
Under the chairmanship of Alexander Passer the Sustainability Advisory Board has taken the lead to advise the university management in terms of sustainability.
From April 24 to 26, Austrian climate researchers gathered at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) and the Vienna University of Technology.
Under the umbrella of the Climate Change Center Austria (CCCA), Climate Day, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, has become the most important networking event of the Austrian climate research community and promotes, among other things, the exchange and dialogue between scientific and non-scientific groups.
70 posters divided in 5 Sessions on the topics Transformation, Climate I Water I Snow, climate change impacts, agriculture and forestry, and climate change adaptation were presented.
The complete Conference Transcript can be found on CCCA’s website.
Since 2018, pupils, students and other (young) people around the world, following the example of the Swede Greta Thunberg, are demonstrating for climate protection and calling for a courageous environmental policy in accordance with the 1.5 ° C target of the Paris Climate Agreement.
In April 2019, an international statement on the climate strikes of the Fridays For Future movement was published. The statement was signed by about three thousand international scientists and published on April 12, 2019 in the renowned journal Science.
"The concerns of climate protesters are justified and supported by the best available science. The current measures for protecting the climate and biosphere are deeply inadequate. We see it as our social, ethical, and scholarly responsibility to state in no uncertain terms: Only if humanity acts quickly and resolutely can we limit global warming, halt the ongoing mass extinction of animal and plant species, and preserve the natural basis for the food supply and well-being of present and future generations. This is what the young people want to achieve. They deserve our respect and full support."
Climate Change Centre Austria (click here to view their press release) and our team support Science for Future and Fridays For Future and therefore encourage other scientists from all fields of expertise to sign the international statement here.
The Sustainability Advisory Board is the central body for implementing sustainability at Graz University of Technology. In addition to advising university management in all matters of sustainability, the Advisory Board continuously develops the current sustainability strategy, bundles activities and initiates new proposals and projects.
Sustainability should be anchored at all levels of the university through the activities of the Advisory Board. For example, the Sustainability Advisory Board aims to integrate technology assessment in research and teaching, optimise energy and mobility management at TU Graz, develop measures to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, initiate (research) projects in the field of sustainability and regularly compile a sustainability report.
“Montagsakademie” is a monthly event hosted by the Center of Continuing Education at University of Graz that offers scientific lectures, intelligible to all, freely accessible and free of charge. The lectures are also broadcasted live in participating regions in Styria, Carinthia, Burgenland, Upper Austria and Salzburg.
This year’s topic is “Schöne, neue Welt!? Wie Wissenschaft und Technik unsere Zukunft sehen“. Aside from talks about cultural studies and humanities, there will also be presentations on technical sciences.
Therefore, Alexander Passer is going to hold a lecture about Sustainable Construction and its future opportunities on April 1st.
For more information check their website. A recording of the lecture will be accessible on this website shortly after.
Assoc. prof. dr. Rebeka Kovačič Lukman from University of Maribor is a visiting professor at the Working Group Sustainable Construction since January 2019. Her research focus is: sustainable consumption and production, LCA, circular economy. She has been involved in the coordination and implementation of over 25 international and national projects, focusing on sustainability, energy and environment. She is a core group member at the expert group by the European Commission in the field of Circular Economy Financing in the EU. Until now, she has published over 100 bibliographic units, including papers, conference proceedings, chapters in monographs, etc. Based on the Current Research Information System data, her h-index is 10. In the Web of Science (WoS) database, she has over 955 pure citations of her academic papers, which are in WoS ranked in the 1 % of the highly cited papers in the field.
Assoc. prof. dr. Rebeka Kovačič Lukman will teach the course Environmental assessment of construction materials (206.456). During her stay, she will co-supervise PhD- and master students and collaborate in scientific projects and publications paper in the field of LCA.
Universities as centers of innovation and training for future decision-makers play an important role in the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Therefore, the Alliance of Sustainable Universities in Austria has developed a project titled UniNEtZ - "Universitäten und Nachhaltige Entwicklungsziele".
The official project kick-off took place on 21/22 January at University of Applied Arts Vienna.
Currently, 16 universities / research institutes are involved in the project and will work on the development of an options paper, which should support the Federal Government in the implementation of its sustainability goals.
In addition, the project focuses on improving the networking between the universities and the anchoring of the SDGs in research and teaching.
Within our international research project IEA EBC Annex 72 we developed an international survey to improve understanding of the current needs of designers and engineers regarding methods, data and tools for an assessment of the environmental quality of buildings. This survey will be conducted simultaneously in more than 20 countries. The answers will be analyzed and shall serve as guidance for future research activities, knowledge sharing between design professionals in different countries, as well as contributing to future standards and regulations concerning environmental performance.
Participants get the chance to win a free entrance ticket for the World Sustainable Built Environment (WSBE) conference 'BEYOND 2020', which will take place in Gothenburg (Sweden) in June 2020!
Take the AT-version of the survey via bit.ly/A72-AT or a general EN-version via bit.ly/A72-EN.
For more information on the project visit nachhaltigwirtschaften.at or http://annex72.iea-ebc.org.
COP24 takes place in Katowice, Poland from December 3th to 14th 2018.
Goals for nations to keep global warming below a target threshold of 1.5°C were set up at a previous COP in Paris in 2015.
COP24 should now encourage all countries to actually start doing something about it by following the rules set up in the COP24-rule-book.
It will also be determined how to finance the implementation of greenhouse gas avoidance measures in developing countries.
Stopping global warming is generally considered to be one of the most important civilizational challenges and is required to achieve a sustainable development.
Under the umbrella of the Climate Change Center Austria (CCCA), numerous Austrian researchers, including Alexander Passer, will present their latest research findings and results of their projects to the participants of the COP24. CCCA’s activities are supported by the Austrian Chamber of Commerce and the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism and will take place at the Austrian Pavilion.
You can find CCCA's activities at COP24 in detail here.
This year, the initiative Growth in transition is organizing its fourth international conference, entitled “Europe’s transformation: Where People Matter”, on 14–15 November 2018 at the Austria Center Vienna.
During the two-day event, plenary and parallel sessions will feature inspiring speakers from politics, science, civil-society and the private sector.
Keynote speakers include Ban Ki-Moon (Co-Chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and Former Secretary-General of the United Nations), Elisabeth Köstinger (Federal Minister for Sustainability and Tourism of Austria) and Frans Timmermans (Vice-President European Commission).
The conference will address the transformation towards a sustainable society from very different perspectives. Conference topics will range from social and distributional aspects of a fair society to the role of the financial sector enabling a sustainable transformation.
Graz University of Technology and the Alliance of Sustainable Universities in Austria organized a Session in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research, ETH Zurich and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology:
The Built Environment in Transition:
Adaption of Production and Consumption Patterns in the D-A-CH-Region
The aim of the session is to underline the need for a transformation of the built environment. Due to economic importance of the construction and real estate sector covering our human needs for shelter and infrastructure, the anthropogenic material flows and the high energy demand as well as the associated emissions, there is a great need for action in the direction of sustainable development. To tackle these challenges in the sense of the Global Grand Challenges, UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement, a paradigm shift is needed in the construction industry (planers and contractors), on the part of procurers (public and private investors, real estate sector) as well as on the demand side (user needs and user behavior).
Alexander Passer, Professor for Sustainable Construction at Graz University of Technology
Josefina Lindblom (DG Environment, European Commision)
Thomas Lützkendorf (Director of the Centre for Real Estate at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)
Guillaume Habert (Chair of Sustainable Construction, ETH Zurich)
Oskar Mair am Tinkhof (Salzburg Institute for Regional Planning and Housing)
Günter Getzinger (Graz University of Technology)
The European Union and Austria have committed to reducing CO2 and thus to comprehensive measures in the area of sustainability.
The conference "Science in Transition" takes part on November 13th in the run-up of the international conference Growth in Transition.
Hosted by the Alliance of Sustainable Universities in Austria, it addresses these challenges at the level of universities and colleges. As training and research centers, these can provide the necessary impetus for societal changes and thus play a decisive role in the implementation of global development goals.
EIT Climate-KIC's mission is to bring together, inspire and empower a dynamic community to build a zero carbon economy and climate resilient society.
In more than 100 cities on six continents, entrepreneurs, students, programmers and policy-makers come together on the October 26th and 27th 2018 to work on new, creative solutions to local climate change challenges (in Graz and Vienna on October 19th and 20th 2018 due to a holiday).
The Climathon is a 24-hour Hackathon and a global movement for the development of solutions of climate change challenges in cities worldwide.
The teams in Graz will be working on four topics:
We are looking forward to this event and hereby invite every interested citizen to JOIN the Climathon 2018 to create and present their innovative ideas around the topic of climate protection and bring society forward.
“Innovation happens when diverse perspectives are brought together.”
On September 14, 2018 Graz University of Technology, Climate Change Center Austria (CCCA), Climate KIC and MUL hosted the Partnering Day.
In the morning, a meeting took place on topics such as funding opportunities in climate change research and the Climate KIC Ecosystem with the following speakers (to view their presentation click their name):
Afterwards we invited to join the discussion on possible synergies and projects at lunch.
In the afternoon, researchers gathered for the "Climate-KIC-off-Styria" (on invitation only).
From July 23rd to August 3rd Marco Scherz took part in the 13th EURO PhD Summer School on MCDA/MCDM in Chania, Greece.
MCDA/MCDM focuses on developing and implementing systematic approaches to decision-making that require consideration of a variety of criteria, goals and perspectives. The application of MCDM methods is an essential contribution to the implementation of sustainable construction, also with regard to achieving the climate goals.
By attending the Summer School Marco increased the solid foundation for his PhD thesis and enlarged his network for important future collaborations.
The pioneers and best scientists of the MCDA/MCDM area gave their lectures within in the Summer School (see program).
For the practical application, the participants had to work on a case study “Urban Sustainability Assessment”. After preparation and presentation (see project presentation) of the case study, the group in which Marco worked, was honored with an acknowledgment of excellence for their outstanding performance in the case project work.
We sincerely congratulate.
In July 2018, the Working Group Sustainable Construction will host Marcella Ruschi Mendes Saade as a guest researcher. Marcella's expertise on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) will be applied to the Advanced and Sustainable Sprayed Concrete Project (ASSpC), to evaluate the environmental performance of newly proposed mix designs with an improved technical behavior. Marcella has collaborated with the Working Group between October 2016 and January 2017, while performing research for her PhD thesis on impact distribution in cement and concrete materials' LCA. During her second stay, focus will be given to the development of scientific deliverables for the ASSpC project.
At the Buildings and Energy Day on June 14th, organized by the TU Graz Field of Expertise Sustainable Systems, the subject of resource efficiency and the urban planning and architectural quality was discussed with leading experts. Also, specific actions and strategies on how to contribute to positive changes were discussed.
The evening event was opened by Rector Kainz; followed by a highly interesting lecture from Prof. Werner Sobek. Sobek highlighted the urgency of resource-efficient construction with simple calculations. He showcased adaptive building structures and buildings with a positive energy balance and gave many inspiring examples of how to find new solutions for construction challenges that are both technically and aesthetically innovative.
Following this keynote speech, a panel discussion was held, in which Werner Sobek, Werner Prutsch (Graz Umweltamt), Thomas Fleckl (AIT), Brian Cody (Institute of Buildings and Energy) and Roger Riewe (Institute of Architectural Technology) participated.
Accompanying the event, a poster exhibition was set up displaying 27 projects of the FoE Sustainable Systems, three of which were contributed by AGNHB.
May 23, 2018 in the festive setting of the Palais Niederösterreich in the presence of almost 400 guests the 25th anniversary of the Austrian Institute of Construction Engineering (OIB) and 10 years OIB guidelines were celebrated.
Within the fest event a special symposium was organized of the Inter-jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee (IRCC), where speakers from all over the world presented their ideas on Sustainability in the Construction Sector. Assoc.Prof. Alexander Passer focused in his speech on the European environmental assessment methods for construction products and buildings.
You can download the programme here.
On Friday, May 18 we welcomed experts from design practice as well as from research and development to give lectures on Building Information Modelling.
DI Philipp Müller, Autodesk Inc.:
Integral planning processes, simulation and automation in BIM require a wide variety of software solutions and workflows. Autodesk is the leading provider of software for the construction industry. An overview of current R & D projects showed where we are heading in view of the software industry.
DI Dr. Thomas Lorenz, Thomas Lorenz ZT:
Thomas Lorenz ZT GmbH unites specialists for project control, general planning, structural design and local building supervision. They mainly realize architecturally challenging buildings and technically sophisticated infrastructure projects. Thomas Lorenz gave insights into the application of BIM at his office.
DI Michael Fuchs, IB Lang:
Michael Fuchs is BIM-Manager at engineering office Lang and an expert for HVAC. Based on practical examples from major projects, he presented the transition to Autodesk Revit, as well as discussed everyday BIM issues, challenges and the added value of BIM in HVAC design and coordination.
“Development of a glycosylation platform cell factory
and optimisation of downstream processing for the sustainable production of glycosides and building blocks”
CARBAFIN will develop, based on an integrated biocatalytic production technology, a radically new value chain for the utilisation of surplus sucrose from sugar beet biomass in the EU. CARBAFIN will demonstrate bio-based co-production of a functional glucoside and fructose. Leading platform technologies in biocatalytic cell factories and downstream processing, conjointly optimised in CARBAFIN for performance efficiency and cost-effectiveness under full integration of LCA and LCC, are key to make industrial co-production of glycosides and HMF via fructose competitive in today's markets.
The Working Group Sustainability Assessment will evaluate accompany, in cooperation with the Institute of Business Economics and Industrial Sociology, the environmental impact as well as the economic feasibility of the developed processes and products.
On 13 April, the event “Lange Nacht der Forschung 2018” took place. It was opened at Science Tower Graz.
The Working Group gave an insight into research about Building Information Modeling (BIM), tried to explain Multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM) on the basis of a simple purchase decision and encouraged to calculate (and lower) the personal ecological footprint.
We are delighted about the rush of visitors and would like to thank all guests. We look forward to the next event in 2020.
On 10 April 2018 DELTA and ÖGNI hosted an event in Vienna on“Vision: Building stock - How to breathe new life into old buildings”. IMMO FutureLab aims to promote future-oriented thinking in the construction industry, pick up on new topics and offer participants a forum to exchange ideas. Furthermore, it wants to serve the real estate industry as think tank and innovation driver.
Junior Researcher Martin Röck presented our research on “Revitalization as chance to optimize the building life cycle”. He refered about the potential environmental gains from revitalizing old buildings and how the implementation of LCA in BIM. Furthermore, he presented ongoing research projects on the optimization of environmental impacts throughout the building life cycle.
Dr. Damien Trigaux from KU Leuven is visiting professor at the Working Group Sustainable Construction since March. His expertise in Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) includes several full-scale levels, from methodological basics for assessing materials and construction products to evaluating buildings and whole neighbourhoods. Dr. Trigaux supports the courses Environmental assessment of construction materials (206.456) and Life Cycle Engineering (219.556).
In January and February 2018 the The Working Group Sustainability Assessment has hosted Tajda P. Obrecht as guest researcher. She is a young researcher at the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG) and is preparing her PhD at the University of Ljubljana, which focused on the application of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to refurbishment of buildings. The aim is the improvement of the current methodology for assessing the environmental impacts of refurbishment. During her stay we have investigated the possibilities how to integrate LCA and Building Information Modelling (BIM). The findings will also contribute to the IEA Annex 72 project. Additionally, possibilities for further collaborations were discussed.
At the second PEF4Buildings stakeholder workshop the project partners VITO, KU Leuven and TU Graz shared results on the PEF assessment of two office buildings with stakeholders and got valuable feedback and discussions on potential approaches for benchmarking and classes of performance as well as for the overall assessment at the building level. The importance of work carried out under the umbrella of CEN/TC 350 was underlined once again. Thanks to the stakeholders and the project team, we are ready to start drafting the final report for the EC DG ENV.
On 10 January 2018, the Working Group Consumption Based GHG Accounting (CCCA) gathered for their first meeting this year in Graz. The aim of the meeting was to plan and specify their activities for 2018.
In November 2017, the Alliance of Sustainable Universities in Austria held their 20th workshop about the sustainable activities of the participating universities. Besides, a conference on the contribution of the universities to changing science was organised. In the context of the Austrian EU presidency, it is scheduled for November 2018.
The Dean of the faculty of civil engineering invited to the inaugural lecture of Alexander Passer on the occasion of his venia docendi award for the scientific field of Sustainable Construction. Please find the lecture slides and the video from the lecutre including the welcome words of the Rector from Graz University of Technology, the dean, and the head of the institute.
LINK: Lecture Slides
LINK: Pictures (c) JOfotografie
LINK: Video (TUBe.tugraz.at) - lecture starts at minute 29
On the occasion of COP23, taking place this year from 6 to 17 November in Bonn, the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (Global ABC) organised a series of events to discuss how to achieve a low-carbon, energy efficient buildings and construction sector.
Following the Symposiums title “How to achieve the Paris Agreement? Identifying key ingredients to achieving a low-carbon, energy efficient buildings and construction sector” Alexander Passer addressed the question of how data can help assess the environmental impacts in the building life cycle at the Building Action Symposium. He presented the new research project IEA EBC Annex 72 as well as recommendations for achieving a transition of the construction sector towards net-zero-energy buildings.
Download the presentation here.
Download the summary here.
Our working group found a new home in the Science Tower in Graz. Since November, are located in the Wagner-Biro-Strasse 100, 11th floor, next to Graz main station.
The 60-metre high tower is not only the core of “Smart City Graz” project but will also host all kind of green-tec researchers and industry partners.
This new opportunity will help to find more sustainable solutions for the problems that come with urbanisation, digitisation and climate change. The building of the Science Tower is just the beginning in developing the area as a new part of a smart city and hosting living and work-space for around 1500 to 2000 people.
We are looking forward to a good cooperation with our new neighbours and are happy to make up new green technologies whilst experiencing what have been actually researched in this field.
The documentary was shown on 21 October on ORF1, an Austrian TV channel. It is about innovative technologies in the domain of sustainable construction and was supported by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, Klima- und Energiefonds Austria and the City of Vienna.
By visiting Austrian experts at home and abroad, the team figured out that the elements to a sustainable built city are smart planning, new technologies and including nature.
Unfortunately, that episode of Newton is not available at orf.at anymore but you can watch it here.
On 12 and 13 October 2017, the the bmvit in cooperation with the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Austrian Society for Environment and Technology (ÖGUT) invited to the annual networking meeting of the national actors of the IEA research cooperation. The IEA networking meeting was organized this year as one and a half day event with sightseeing tours in Salzburg. The topic was the ‘Transformation of the energy system as an eco-social challenge’.
Martin Röck, Austrian expert in the IEA EBC Annex 72, attended the meeting to represent the newly launched Annex and to network with the actors of the Austrian IEA research cooperation. The presentations on other IEA Annexes, project management as wells as the guided tours in the newly refurbished district Lehen and the innovative wastewater heat recovery system of the ECO Suite Hotel were both interesting and exciting. We are looking forward to be back next year and present the work of IEA EBC Annex 72.
The agenda as well as presentations and photos of the meeting can be found online.
Guidance to including Embodied Energy & Embodied GHG Emissions in the decision-making process for SME’s, November 2016.
The IEA EBC Annex57 guideline deals with the Evaluation of Embodied Energy and CO2eq for Building Construction. It provides the necessary methodological bases, tools, calculation rules, data bases and application examples for incorporating the aspects of embodied energy and GHG emissions into the decision-making of relevant stakeholder groups.
The European Commission proposes the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and Organisation Environmental Footprint methods as a common way of measuring environmental performance so that companies wishing to market their products environmentally friendly in several Member States are not confused any more. (Further information)
Within the frame of the PEF4buildings pilot project, first experiences from testing the applicability of the PEF method to two office building cases were presented in a national stakeholder meeting in Vienna.
The next international stakeholder meeting will take place in February 2018 in Brussels. Please feel free to contact us.
See also: researchgate
Richard joined our research group in 2013 and was working part time in our team. Since April 2016 he was part of the project for the preparation of an environmental product declaration for ready-mixed concrete (LINK: GVTB).
In addition to the project he dedicated his scientific efforts for his master thesis on the topic of LCA ready-mixed concrete: Modelling aspects and respective analysis.
After having finished his thesis, he presented his work and finished his study with distinction. We warmly congratulate him and wish him all the best for his future career path.
Sustainable construction is more than theory.
Within our joint postgraduate course "Sustainable Construction" (LINK: Nachhaltigesbauen.eu) we aim bringing theory and practice together. Heinrich Schober (LINK: OE MED Campus Graz) one of the master minds in the development of the new MED CAMPUS (LINK: http://medcampus.medunigraz.at) explained the project together with Alexander Passer, who presented details on the sustainability optimisation during the whole design process. During the site visit, it was possible to gain insights on all the details of the building.
The project is certified as one of the first research and laboratory buiildings as a whole campus (LINK: http://www.ogni.at/de/medcampusgraz/).
The first PEF4Buildings stakeholder meeting was held on 5th July at European Commission Conference centre in Brussels. We are happy that we could share first results and experiences with many stakeholders from across Europe in the framework of testing the PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) method and it’s applicability at the building level. We’re looking forward to a follow-up in November 2017.
Alexander Passer received his venia docendi for the new scientific field of Sustainable Construction, which is a premiere in Austria.
The Invitation to the Inaugural Lecture with the title "BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE. Sustainable Construction: Let's build changes!" can be found here. (LINK: Invitation to the Inaugural Lecture)
WSBE17 Hong Kong is the world conference of the 2015-2017 cycle of the renowned SBE Conference Series, which is now considered to be the most influential of its kind globally. Following Hong Kong's selection as the host city, WSBE17 Hong Kong concluded the cycle by embracing all of the findings from the 20 regional conferences held in different parts of the world in 2016.
Themed "Transforming Our Built Environment through Innovation and Integration: Putting Ideas into Action", Hong Kong had an aggressive target to "innovate" and "integrate".Several scholars of AGNHB contributed to the conference by presenting research on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Sustainability Certification of construction products and buildings, MDCM for process optimisation and LCA integration in BIM design. Prof. Passer chaired “Session 6.6: Green Construction Materials”.
It was great to see the interest in these topics, discuss our findings with fellow researchers and enjoy the global village of Hong Kong. We’re looking forward to the next SBE!
The first Annex 72 expert meeting during the preparation phase was held at the Danish Building Research Institute at AAU Copenhagen, Denmark from May 18th – 19th 2017. The workshop included 32 participants from 18 countries, primarily from the EU. The goal was to create the Annex 72 team spirit and to invite experts to contribute as participants to the success of Annex 72. Furthermore, the contents of the subtasks and their activities were discussed and further refined. Alexander Passer and Martin Röck of our Working Group Sustainable Construction joined the experts and contributed in their task of leading the preparations of “Subtask 2 – Assessment workflows and tools”.
This lecture will be about how information is managed on large scale infrastructure networks, and how this information can be updated using new technologies, such as UAVs.
Rechbauerstraße 12, HS VIII
31.05.2017, 10:30 Uhr
The Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Urbanism of the University of Campinas appointed Alexander Passer as a member of the assessment committee of Marcella Ruschi Mendes Saade´s Doctorate defense. The public defense took place on April 3rd, in Campinas. Together with the committee members (Profa. Dra. Vanessa Gomes da Silva, Unicamp, Profa. Dra. Cassia Maria Lie Ugaya, Universidad Technológica Federal do Paraná, Profa. Dra. Ana Paula Bortoleto, Unicamp, Prof. Dr. Guillaume Habert, ETH Zürich) Marcella Ruschi Mendes Saade was interviewed about her thesis "Multifunctionality modeling applied to cement and concrete LCAs", supervised by Profa. Dra. Vanessa Gomes da Silva.
The aim and objective of the project is to test the applicability of the EC PEF method, the latest versions available of the related PEF Pilot Guidance documents developed in the framework of the Environmental Footprint pilot test phase and knowledge/experiences from several PEF pilots on construction related materials (draft PEFCR for paints, insulation materials, PV, piping systems for hot and cold water supply in building and metal sheets) to new office buildings, and to provide an overview of pros and cons of alternative possible approaches to the definition of the benchmark and classes of performance for the typology of buildings within the scope of the study. The assessment and the overview will contribute to the development of a final approach to develop benchmark and classes of performance for different typologies of buildings. The project will be carried out by the help of desk studies, from experiences in real building projects and from experiences of the team in several PEF pilot projects. The result of the project will be formulated in a way that it fit well the policy context of the European Commission in the framework. For project for the EC DG Environment VITO is taking the lead with KU Leuven and TU Graz as partners. The project started in January 2017 and the end is foreseen in December 2017. Two stakeholder meetings will be organised during the project under the premises of the European Commission. One to present the lessons learned from the PEF assessment for two office building cases (before summer holidays) and one to present overall findings and guidance for the PEF assessment at the building level.
A first stakeholder meeting will be organised in Brussels (Belgium) before summer holidays.During that stakeholder meeting we will present our first experiences from testing the applicability of the PEF method to two office building cases. The exact date for this stakeholder meeting will be fixed soon (expected to be on the 5th July 2017). For further information please feel free to contact us.
We invite all students of the architecture and construction faculties of Austrian universities to participate in the Concrete Student Trophy 2017. The tender documents are now available!
Future in process...
Just recently DI Martin Röck finished and successfully defended his master thesis "future in process...Exploring sustainability, participation and the building life cycle" at AGNHB, TU Graz, supervised by Ass. Prof. Dr. Alexander Passer. The work deals with user participation and the integration of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in the architectural design process using Building Information Modelling (BIM). Martin Röck conducted the work over the course of a year, including his participation at Wienerberger Sustainable Building Academy 2015 and some months of research at the Chair of Sustainable Construction at ETH Zurich under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Guillaume Habert.
Science Tower Graz is the lighthouse project in the Graz West city development area. Now that the envelope façade of the tower is finished, employees of the AGNHB got the chance to visit the tower and see for themselves. Soon the towers mantle, applying organic photovoltaic panels will be mounted for the interdisciplinary science hub to presumably start operation in 2017.
After AGNHB already assessed the tower in the Smart City Project Graz Mitte we are now co-supervising a master thesis that will again explore the tower using the architect’s Building Information Model.
The Working Group Sustainability Assessment welcomes Marcella Ruschi Mendes Saade as a guest student. She is doing her PhD at the University of Campinas, in Brazil. Marcella and her advisor, Prof. Dr. Vanessa Gomes, have been working with Life Cycle Assessment applied to building materials and components for quite some time now. Her focus is specifically on impact distribution issues within LCA’s methodology. From October to the end of January she will be aiding in the environmental assessments for the ASSpC project at the Institute of Technology and Construction Materials.
On Tuesday, 20.09.2016 the ÖGNI convention, as one of three annually held conventions from the Austrian Sustainable Building Council (ÖGNI) took place at the Technical University Graz. In this frame, Helmuth Kreiner presented a contribution on building certification – planning and construction attendant quality assurance for mulit-criteria objectives.
To prepare the follow up project of IEA EBC Annex 57, which is currently finalized, an annex proposal workshop was held in Zurich recently. The workshop was organized to discuss and agree on the objectives and activities , which will deal with harmonization of assessment methods, environmental benchmarks for buildings and the integration of life cycle assessment in state of the art design and planning processes. Among other international sustainability experts and renown researchers, Alexander Passer and Martin Röck contributed to the proposal and attended the workshop. The annex proposal is to be presented in Australia later this autumn for approval by the international IEA committee as well as national authorities in order to start the project preparation phase in 2017.
The Faculty of Department of Civil and Transport Engineering of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) appointed Alexander Passer as the first opponent of the assessment committee of James George Kallaos. The public defense took place on the September 14th, in Trondheim. The title of his trial lecture was "How will adaptations of the built environment to climate change influence climate change mitigation?". Together with the committee members (Assistant Professor Karen Allacker, Katholic University of Leuven, Belgium and Professor Tore Kvande, NTNU) James George Kallaos was interviewed about his thesis "Energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions - developing an indicator framework applicable to the built environment", supervised by Associate Professor Rolf André Bohne, Department of Civil and Transport Engineering.
During the international conference CESB16 a special session for the project IEA EBC Annex 57 took place. The members presented in part one the Background of Annex 57 (Tatsuo Oka), EEg-research in Europe (Petr Hajek), Topics and trends in EEG-research (Chan-U Chae), Basic issues (Thomas Lützkendorf), How to calculate EEG (Keizo Yokoyama) and Case study examples (Harpa Birgisdottir). In part two Guidelines for designers (Maria Balouski, Harpa Birgisdottir), for construction product manufactures (Alexander Passer), for policy maker inclusing public procurement (José A. Tenorio) and for education (Petr Hajek) were presented. After the presentations the results were discussed with the auditorium and different stakeholder from research and practice.
The CESB16 conference is an international event dedicated to key issues of sustainable built environment in the Central Europe. Alexander Passer presented the research project +ERS - Plus Energy Network Reininghaus Süd.
Plus-energy houses have until now been frontrunners: they are very often detached houses or buildings in sparsely populated areas. But due to the on-going urban sprawl new solutions must be developed. In the presentation the development of innovation multifunctional neighbourhoods using energetic synergies of building cluster was presented.
Link to homepage: Central Europe towards Sustainable Building
The Sustainable Built Environment (SBE) Regional Conference 2016 in Zurich was aimed as a platform for exchange between researchers and practitioners of the construction sector to foster system thinking in the built environment. The inernational scientific commitee selected two papers for an oral presentation.
Buildings account worldwide for 40% of global energy consumption on 30% of GHG emission. Due to the fact that the building stock plays a key role in achieving these targets. Alexander Passer presented an optimal refurbishment strategy in terms of lowest environmental impact through life cycle assessment (LCA). Three facade refurbishment scenarios (none, minimum and energetic high quality) and onsite energy generation (solar thermal and photovoltaic panel (PV)) were evaluated.
Individual user and stakeholder interests in the context of project requirements and goals often lead to trade-offs; especially during the early design stage of a building. Helmuth Kreiner presented a new systemic approach linking building assessment and network analysis based on the Austrian building assessment system (ÖGNI/DGNB) and using a reference project of a public office building in Austria.
Link to homepage: Sustainable Built Environment Conference
Wood and derived timber products are fascinating due to there fine surface, flexible applications and especially there sustainability over the completely life cycle. Planner and employer need established knowledge, because defective design and bad workmanship could have expensive consequences. The book "Holz im Hochbau" is a user guide for planner, engineers, timber construction companies and students and contains all basically structure issues: new and approved practice, basic material and products, building physics, dimensioning, achievement, processing, tender and economy. It gives a broad base of knowledge and supplies with rules of thumbs, charts and many pictures the practical employment.
The Working Group Sustainability Assessment is growing steadily and welcomes Marco Scherz as a new PhD candidate. In the course of his master thesis he dealt with the topic Implementing sustainable construction - an empirical case study. His master thesis was part of the research project UNAB - Sustainable Designprocess & Integrated Facades and was supported by the Institute for Construction Management and Economics and the Institute of Technology and Testing of Construction Materials. Marco aroused his passion for sustainable constructions during his master´s degree Construction Management and Civil Engineering Sciences.
We wish Marco all the best for his professional career.
Cement is responsible of more than 7% of the total CO2 emissions coming from human activities and the tremendous cement demand in developing countries urge us to find alternative to traditional Portland cement.
In this lecture, we will assess the environmental impact of traditional and alternativ.
We will particularly have a look at innovative binders such as geopolymers or magnesium cement.
Vienna, March 29th, 2016. The Bau EPD GmbH published the new enviornmental product declaration „Frischbeton für vorgefertigte Betonerzeugnisse“ for the Austrian concrete and precast association. The declaration is the result of a three year research work with the TU Graz and a trendsetting step for the local industry.
Under the scientific leadership of the Working Group Sustainability Assessment it was accomplished to define a standard concrete for precaste-concrete products in consideration of all environmental factors. So it is possible to identify all environmental impacts of the concrete – from extracting the resources to manufacturing in the factory. The published EPD could be used for all Austrian sustainability assessment tools of buildings (ÖGNB, climb:aktiv, ÖGNI).
The SBE16 Hamburg was successfully finished after several days of intensive scientific exchange. 600 representatives from science and practice, from 31 countries, presented their ideas and results on integration of sustainability aspects into the design, construction and operation of buildings as well as neighborhood and city development.One of the emphasis of the program was the development and testing of planning and evaluation tools which support sustainable neighborhood development. The need to involve all relevant actors was particularly stressed. The discussion was led about whether and how the implementation of the climate protection goals can be achieved by means of sustainable construction. The results of the surveys taken by the participants are available on the website of the conference. They show interesting experiences in the field of integration of sustainability issues in education of architects, engineers and executives for the housing and real estate industry.Many visitors took the opportunity to get informed about concrete projects and examples of neighborhood development in Hamburg. After evaluating, all results were recorded and incorporated into the preparation of the World Conference WSBE17 HongKong.
WISBA is the Wienerberger Sustainable Building Academy organized and funded by Wienerberger for students of architecture, environmental engineering and civil engineering. In its third year WISBA 2015 is cooperating with universities from Austria (TU Graz, TU Wien), Belgium (VUB, KU Leuven), Hungary (Budapest University of Economics and Engineering), Italy (University of PISA), Poland (Politechnika Warsaw) and Switzerland (ETH Zurich). Within the WISBA program the students work in international and interdisciplinary teams on projects in the field of sustainable building solutions. Goal of the program is to provide highly talented students with an additional education in sustainable building – a key topic for Wienerberger. In 2013 Wienerberger startet WISBA with 12 students. In total 60 students worked on a broad range of topics reaching from sustainability assessment methods to specific sustainability challenges such as overheating of buildings in summer. The WISBA start conference is hosted every year at a different university (TU Graz, 2013; TU München, 2014; ETH Zurich, 2015) – followed by several workshops. From September until December 2015 24 students from 6 countries work in project teams on two research topics based on the case study of Building 2226 by architects Baumschlager Eberle under the academic mentorship of distinguished experts in sustainability and construction. The goal of WISBA 2015 is to conceptualize low-tech brick buildings that focus on two future scenarios – climate change and change of usage – all under consideration of the three sustainability dimensions – ecology, society and economy. At the start conference at ETH Zurich students were introduced into the case study of Building 2226 under the supervision of their mentors. At further workshops in Leuven, Warsaw, Budapest and Pisa students continue their work which will be presented at the result conference in December in Vienna.
Buildings are an important consumer of energy and an important source of greenhouse gas emissions. In the last decade buildings and their environmental impacts are getting more and more attention. Analytical tools are being developed, environmental information based on environmental product declarations is being standardised and several sustainability and environmental tools and labelling schemes are being used in Switzerland. The discussion forum will provide an overview on different tools, information and labelling schemes, highlighting common aspects and main differences. The application of life cycle based information in the planning process is presented from the perspectives of building owners, practitioners and industry. The situation in neighbouring countries is described and the influence of the European Union’s construction products' regulation on the current landscape of environmental tools and labels is discussed. Results from recent research projects are shown. Needs and expectations from the viewpoint of building owners, planners and architects, and suppliers, respectively will be discussed. The goal of the discussion forum is to support informed decisions about the most appropriate environmental information and labelling schemes for the coming decade.
Link to homepage: Discussion Forum on Life Cycle Assessment
Institut für Tragwerksentwurf