InFutUReWood: Innovative Design For the Future – Use and Reuse of Wood (Building) Components

Building in wood is a priority in Europe as part of a strategy to convert from fossil-dependency to a sustainable, bio-based economy. Timber construction is growing and innovative, with new methods of building and new engineered wood products, composites and treatments. Very large volumes of wood are being put into buildings and the quantity used is often seen as a virtue (as sequestered carbon). This project looks one step into the future to ask: “How should we build today to be able to circulate tomorrow?”
To answer this question, we need to know how we should design timber buildings, and wood-based construction products, from the perspective of reuse and recoverability. Crucially, to better understand how design and construction impact on material reuse and recirculation we need to know how choices made in the past affect current practice in renovation and demolition. This will inform us about what problems are likely with current methods of building – particularly those that contain large volumes of timber. We will also look at the potential for the reuse of current reclaimed wood, and other timber not currently entering the circular economy, in these new constructions.
We aim to answer the questions “how easy is it to reuse wood from current buildings especially as structural material?” and “how can the past experience help the future?” and identify key problem areas and propose technical and methodological solutions to address them. This knowledge will be transferred to industry to avoid inadvertent and unnecessary problems for future generations.
The potential for the recovery and utilisation of recovered wood from buildings in material applications has been shown in two recent transnational European projects: Demowood – “Optimisation of material recycling and energy recovery from waste and demolition wood in different value chains” and CaReWood – “Cascading Recovered Wood”. The results show that transformation of recovered wood in new material applications can be conducted in a sustainable and efficient way. Despite the overall beneficial transformation processes, the efforts required are high and result in a small yield. Consequently, to reduce the processing effort and maximize yield and recycling rate, buildings and elements need to be constructed following the concept of design for recycling.

The objectives of the project are:
1. To develop a method for ensuring future possibility of circulation of timber products with true consideration of whole life-cycle, and practical industry issues at design, construction and deconstruction phases.
2. To plan primary design to facilitate deconstruction rather than demolition, and to pay attention to the use of chemical treatments, adhesives and other synthetic materials – including to decide whether their use technically is necessary and avoid over-specification.
3. To optimize the primary design to enhance resource efficiency as well as reduce environmental impacts along the life cycle (build and deconstruction).
4. To allow grading for quality of recovered wood, and similarly variable new wood from more diverse sources, in a way that is compatible and equivalent to grading of new timber from the main commercial species (including the basis in European standardization).
5. To identify potential new construction products using recovered timber.
6. To examine the business, economic, and environmental factors over the life-cycle to inform what is to be optimized, encouraged and avoided in design (to be described by a “rebuilding factor”).
7. To inform current engineers, architects and wood-based construction product manufacturers through professional development, industry bodies, codes and standards.

hanke luotu 07.05.2019


cascadingdesign for disassemblycircular economybuilding contructionresource efficiency