Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) and the Austrian Association for Building Materials and Ceramic Industries (Stones and Ceramics Association) have contractually agreed on the establishment of an endowed professorship for sustainable construction. The association will fund the professorship according to Section 99 of the University Act for a period of three years, with the option of an extension. TU Graz will contribute scientific positions, administrative support and infrastructure for research and teaching.
Content will include further development of methods for lifecycle-based sustainability assessment and on the implementation of largely greenhouse gas-free and climate-robust construction projects. The professorship is thus expected to contribute significantly to the achievement of the Paris climate goals and thus also to the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 action plan.
Climate change and construction
From the point of view of the two parties to the agreement, the topic of circular economy, i.e. the reuse or recycling of building components and building materials, will have top priority in the sustainability of buildings. "It's about looking at buildings also as material resources of the future and constructing them in such a way that both the long service life of the buildings themselves and the reuse of the materials at the end of the building's life (recycling, upcycling) is made possible. This holds great opportunities for innovation, especially for mineral building materials such as bricks and concrete – whether as storage media for renewable energy in the use phase or as a pioneer in recycling. As a trade association, we want to continue driving this circular economy forward and we have found a competent research partner in TU Graz," says Robert Schmid, chairman of the Stones and Ceramics Association.
"One thing is clear: climate protection will not work without the involvement of the construction products industry," says Harald Kainz, Rector of TU Graz, and continues: "This sector is doubly affected by climate change – on the one hand as a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and on the other hand, buildings themselves need to be adapted to the effects of climate change. This requires the interdisciplinary bundling of all forces, from materials and energy research to architecture and engineering. In view of the global climate developments, we at TU Graz are very aware of our role as a forward-thinking workshop of the future for society and we are committed to finding viable solutions for sustainable development with all our scientific expertise. We do not exclude ourselves from this, and as a university we want to operate in a climate-neutral manner from 2030. So we are all the more pleased about the establishment of the endowed professorship for sustainable construction.
TU Graz is already working intensively on the topic, for example in the working group for sustainable construction at the Institute of Technology and Testing of Construction Materials or in the part-time university course Sustainable Construction, which is offered jointly with Vienna University of Technology. Several research groups address pressing sustainability issues in the construction sector, working for example on ecological materials, self-sufficient energy systems and the reduction of the CO2 footprint or water consumption. The establishment of the endowed professorship for sustainable construction underscores the sustainability of buildings as an independent scientific discipline and is intended to provide strong impetus in the area of knowledge transfer for teaching and building practice.
Contact point for building materials and construction industry
The new professorship in the field of sustainable construction is intended to create a central point of contact for the building materials and construction industry at TU Graz. These new tasks are to be taken into account by bundling research activities on the topics of sustainable construction, climate protection technologies and climate change adaptation. In teaching, the central task of the professorship for sustainable construction should be the integration of the fundamentals of sustainability into civil engineering education. In concrete terms, the aim is to anchor the topic in all relevant curricula at TU Graz.
About the Austrian Association for Building Materials & Ceramic Industries
The Association for Building Materials & Ceramic Industries represents the companies of the Austrian building materials industry and has been involved in the research field of sustainable construction for more than 15 years. The development of modern, low-CO2 production technologies is just as much a core task as the advancement of climate-neutral building technologies and construction methods in order to make sustainable, climate-neutral and future-proof construction possible in the first place. The promotion of a relevant endowed professorship at TU Graz is therefore the logical continuation of this path. Further information: www.baustoffindustrie.at.
About TU Graz
TU Graz is the oldest science and technology research and educational institute in Austria. It has played a key role in the international research and education network for more than 200 years. TU Graz has achieved international excellence in its five focus areas, the Fields of Expertise, and relies on intensive cooperation with other research and educational institutions as well as with business and industry worldwide. TU Graz has seven faculties with some 100 institutes and employs approximately 3,600 people. 13,500 students from 100 countries are studying at TU Graz. Building on bachelor’s programmes in science subjects, TU Graz concentrates on research-oriented master’s degree programmes, which are increasingly offered in English, and on PhD programmes. Sustainable construction is anchored in the Field of Expertise "Sustainable Systems".