Humans have shaped their environment since the beginning of time. We all live in a built world consisting of houses, roads and other infrastructures. Humans have thus massively intervened in their environment and have had a lasting, albeit not always positive, impact on it.
Keeping the environmental impact small, making sustainable construction projects possible and rethinking construction are the goals of the Graz Center of Sustainable Construction research network established at TU Graz. Here, researchers from different scientific backgrounds get together to tackle construction-related topics – from architecture and construction to the digitisation of the construction process, planning and possibilities for sustainable handling of resources.
Talk Science to Me: Podcast on Sustainable Construction
The aim of GCSC is to change building practices to make them climate-neutral and to transform our built environment into a climate-friendly one. The joint work falls into five strategic fields of action:
Focus topics, which were identified for each field of action, form the actual content framework and allow greater flexibility in research.
Researchers in Field of Action 1 Cities and Regions consider buildings in their relation to the overarching structures of districts, cities and countries as well as to the sustainable and socially just organisation of social and public infrastructures. The focus is therefore on the densification and conversion of existing building stock, while also taking into account energy and mobility aspects as well as socio-cultural and socio-economic sustainability in the greening and qualification of public space, town centres and territory through strategic planning.
Field of Action 2 Design and Construction focuses on the sustainable interplay of material, resources, building components and parts, which in the light of climate change, is in dire need of urgent action among other things. The research focus is on innovative design and planning methods, rethinking processes and developing room typologies, building systems, components and building materials. The aim is to demonstrate and establish sustainability throughout the entire construction industry in a timely way.
Resources and building materials in material cycles are at the core of research activities in Field of Action 3 Material and Resources. The aim is to develop sustainable materials, components, buildings, cities and regions. To achieve this, it is necessary to make primary and secondary resources usable across sectors, close material cycles, use resources and materials effectively and efficiently in terms of their performance and climate impact, and research and develop innovative building materials.
Digital processes cover all phases of building development ‒ from planning to construction and operation to conversion and demolition. In the future, comprehensive models, simulation methods and artificial intelligence will help to more precisely assess and control the performance and environmental impact of buildings over their entire life cycles. Research topics in the Field of Action 4 Digital Processes also include innovative measuring techniques, digitally controlled manufacturing as well as visualisation methods and parametric models which are used to develop various future scenarios.
In Field of Action 5 Evaluation Methods, researchers develop new or advanced methods as well as processes to evaluate, plan and make decisions in sustainable construction. In addition, the focus is on systemic modelling and life cycle sustainability assessments of demonstration projects for sustainable building. The aim is to transform the built environment with regard to sustainability and climate goals.