The demand for wood has been growing in recent years. Wood can serve as a CO2 sink when used as material and as a low carbon heat source when burnt. Research indicates that using wood-based materials would result in lower energy use and Green House Gas emissions compared to other construction materials such as concrete. However, there are barriers for the promotion of wood constructions.
Throughout the SMARTA Wood Partner Accelerator activities (online survey, workshops and interviews with various stakeholders in Sweden, Finland and Switzerland), it was identified;
- there is a strong demand among policy makers, city planners and buildings owners (municipalities, developers, housing associations etc.) for the promotion of more sustainable constructions,
- there is the lack of objective and science-based evaluation methodologies of buildings’ sustainability impact which hinders the shift of the construction industry towards more sustainable alternatives,
- The demand is not the optimization of wood construction technologies, but the substitution of concrete by wood in constructions.
SMARTA Wood Demonstrator aims to demonstrate a substitution framework in the construction sector. It showcases the sustainability impact assessment of use of wood in constructions by applying ToSIA with the attempt to achieve the maximum sustainability impact potential considering the wood resource availability in Europe. The use of wood covers load bearing elements secondary building components which are installed permanently but do not contribute to the load bearing capacity of the building (for example floor parquet, window frames, stairs etc.) The project does not limit the focus within wood constructions but it covers use of wood in hybrid (ex. wood+concrete) constructions as well.
In order to carry out a multidimensional and material flow based sustainability impact analysis by ToSIA, it is necessary to build up a new dataset of numbers of wood construction technologies for the analysis of particular construction projects. The project will develop such a dataset which covers the markets in Sweden, Finland and Switzerland, and apply it to the analysis of showcase construction projects. The primary indicators to evaluate these technologies are GHG emission saving over lifetime, carbon stock, increased floor area, construction cost, return of investment, service life and employment. The showcase buildings will be identified in the beginning of the project.
Primarily targeted stakeholders are policy makers, city planners and property owners (municipalities, developers, housing associations etc.) Other stakeholder groups such as national government, forest owner, forest association, sawmill, wood-based construction material manufacturer, construction company, architect, engineer, construction consultant etc. will be also involved in a reference group which will give feedback to the project development.