ELWIRA Plants, wood, steel and concrete - lifecycle performances as construction materials

Duration: 1. May 2015 – 30. April 2017

Construction materials strongly influence performances of buildings. Not only specific material properties are taken into account when selecting latest constructional standards, but rather all life cycles will be evaluated starting with the extraction of building materials, the following usage/application phase through to their recycling (via a material cycle).. In the area ofwater and earthworks in addition to the conventional building materials such as timber, steel and concrete there are also increasingly used soil bioengineering building materials. Living plants take over technical functions. The construction technology of soil bioengineering has a long tradition, but at the beginning of the 20th century it came by new river regulation techniques with an increased use of concrete and steel into oblivion and now experiences by an increased environmental awareness and sustainability thinking a renaissance in civil engineering. Soil bioengineering structures use combination of plants with locally available auxiliary materials (wood and stone) as well as plants with classical conventional building materials.

Classic -conventional living and building materials are integral evaluated and subjected to a life cycle assessment in the project "ELWIRA". The unique combination of laboratory and field methods based on the scientific expertise of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences at the Department of Civil Engineering and Natural Hazards will be applied. The teaching and research activities cover both of fields of engineering sciences, the classical as well as the "new" living building materials.

High school students cooperate with scientists of the Institute of Soil Bioengineering and Landscape Construction and the Institute of Structural Engineering the to quantify and evaluate properties of different materials in terms of their life cycle through the use of different laboratory and field methods . These results provide an important contribution to a sustainable, climate-friendly and resource- conserving handling with building materials.


Funded by Sparkling Science a program of Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy.

Homepage Sparkling Science
Project presentation Sparkling Science

Project Director: DI Dr. Hans Peter Rauch
Institute of Soil Bioengineering and Landscape Construction. University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (IBLB)

Contact: DI Gerda Kalny
    Phone: +43 1 47654 87415

Scientific team:

Participating school:

  • GRG 19 Billrothstraße, Wien (Homepage)
    Dr. Eva Schober
    Mag. Maria Bauchinger
    Mag. Stefan Gollner
    MMag. Ute Schacherl-Huspeka
    Mag. Regina Hof