The Research Group on Information and Communication Technologies against Climate Change (ICTvsCC) of the ITACA Institute of Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) leads IMIP (Innovative Eco-Construction System Based on Interlocking Modular Insulation Wood & Cork-Based Panels), a project European for the design of laminated wood panels made of Mediterranean pine wood (Aleppo pine and Rodeo pine) and with an inner layer of expanded cork that improves its performance as a thermal insulator and acoustic corrector.
The final objective of the project, in which a total of 9 French, Portuguese and Spanish partners participate, is to use the aforementioned panels to improve the energy efficiency of buildings throughout their life cycle, within a framework of ecological transition in which active policies focused on reducing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases are urged to mitigate climate change, an aspect in which the building sector has an important role.
Key importance of renewable materials of biological origin such as wood and cork
Reducing the energy consumption of buildings should not only be considered during their useful life, but it is also essential to reduce the energy consumed during the first phase of construction, and also in the last phase, that of demolition.
In this sense, renewable materials of biological origin such as wood or cork will acquire an important role in the imminent future, since it is not simply light materials whose production and industrial transformation processes (including the possibility of modular prefabrication) emit less greenhouse gas emissions than their competitors -concrete, steel, aluminum … – but also store atmospheric carbon, acting as a prolonged sink over time.
The CLT, structural material of floors that exceed 20 floors in height
Furthermore, thanks to technological advances in recent decades, ancient technical limitations of wood in its use in construction have disappeared. An example of this is the appearance of cross laminated timber (CLT), light and homogeneous prefabricated panels, usable as structural material in buildings that already exceed 20 floors in height, as is the case of the HoHo building in Vienna (Austria).
In Europe, the wood used to produce CLT grows, as a general rule, in productive forests in the center and north, mainly in Scandinavia, Austria or Germany. To date, by contrast, Mediterranean pine wood is not being used in construction, as it is of lower quality and is often used for products with lower added value, such as pallets for the transport of goods. These low-profitability products are barely enough to cover the costs derived from the use of wood, which often depend on public subsidies linked to fire prevention.
In this situation, IMIP, a 3-year project started last May, aims to offer an outlet for wood from the Mediterranean mountains with a higher added value than the current one.
The innovative aspect of the project is the use of existing technology for the manufacture of pallets to produce CLT from wood from these pines extracted in silvicultural treatments for the prevention of forest fires.
Rehabilitation of 4 public buildings
At IMIP, a multidisciplinary team led by forest engineers and architects will design the prototypes of the panels, which will be modular to facilitate their assembly and disassembly, and which, through pilot actions, will be used in the construction and rehabilitation of 4 public buildings.
The project also involves computer scientists who will develop a plug-in for BIM (Building Information Modeling) that incorporates the life cycle benefits of the materials used, such as carbon stock. This tool will be used mainly by professionals in the construction sector and researchers in order to assess the carbon footprint of buildings.
Partners, budget and planned schedule
According to the planned schedule, the results of the project will be presented in 2022, including the pilot buildings. The partners of the project, together with the UPV, are the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology, the Institut Technologique Forêt Cellulose Bois-construction Ameublement, the Cluster Association of Sustainable Construction of Andalusia, the Association for Technical Research of Industries de la Madera, the Andalusian Energy Agency, the Valencian Building Institute of the Valencian Community, the Higher Institute of Agronomy of the University of Lisbon and the Pôle de Compétitivité XYLOFUTUR.
IMIP has a total budget of 1,326,163.51 euros, of which 75% will be funded by the Interreg SUDOE program of the European Union.
ICTvsCC, the group of ICTs against Climate Change, is an emerging area of interdisciplinary research from the ITACA Institute of the UPV committed to the use of ICTs in environmental matters.
Through ICT tools, including Smart Grids and Smart City information platforms, advanced monitoring, advanced image processing and machine learning techniques and tools for biotechnological data processing, the ICTvsCC-UPV, in turn, addresses critical issues such as those related to cybersecurity or the use of artificial intelligence in the creation of decision support tools to fight against climate change.
Source: UPV’s Information Office
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