16.05.2022 - New Insitute of Green Civil Engineering at BOKU Vienna
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Newly founded at BOKU: The Institute of Green Civil Engineering is the latest addition to the BOKU institutes. It is headed by Professor Benjamin Kromoser, who together with his working team investigates the best possible use of resources in the field of construction, with a special focus set on structural engineering.
"Due to the very positive development of my working group and my appointment as professor for resource-efficient building construction, I was given the opportunity to found and head the new institute," Kromoser explains. What began four years ago with two employees has now grown to twelve, and the trend is rising. "I am grateful to work with very competent, innovative and respectful researchers," says Kromoser. The working group focuses on five main topics: structural engineering and timber construction, as well as automated, recyclable and sustainable design and construction. By integrating structural timber engineering within the research spectrum of the new institute, the entire value chain of wood is now represented at BOKU - from the tree itself to material production, timber construction to the reuse of wood as a building material.
Central topics are the structural optimisation of components made of different materials, as well as their efficient (automated) production. The focus is set on minimising the environmental impact over the entire life cycle and establishing closed cycles in the construction industry. Due to industrialisation and the economic advantage in manufacturing, resource-inefficient construction methods with high material consumption and difficult-to-separate connections currently dominate the building sector.
In the past, people built wooden houses and used moss to seal joints. If the house was abandoned, the building materials seamlessly reentered the natural cycle. "Today, one square metre of a building contains an average of a hundred materials," Kromoser explains. Separating them during demolition is very difficult and costly, he says. "Due to technical progress, we have moved away from an intelligent and recyclable construction method in this respect," states the scientist. In order to use available raw materials more efficiently and thus reduce the enormous demand for raw materials in the building industry, without simply tearing down houses and build new ones, but rather reusing the building materials, Kromoser and his team are exploring new ways of innovative, resource-efficient building. This can take the form of altered utilisation, for example by easily allowing a repurposing of living space into office space. A different approach is the reuse of individual components such as concrete or wooden beams re-installed in different locations. If neither is possible, recycling of the individual building materials should be pursued, with concrete, bricks or even wood crushed and reused for an equivalent application without loss. "It is necessary to create real recycling cycles instead of merely downcycling materials, as is currently often the case in our industry," says Kromoser.
By developing new construction methods, as well as using digital design and automated production approaches, working with innovative building materials and optimising energy and material requirements, Kromoser and his team aim at developing new options for recycling-friendly construction in the future. Based on the principles of the new institute, the structurally optimised load-bearing structure of the institute's own robot laboratory is not only made exclusively of wood with all node connections of the resource-efficient truss produced by the in-house robot but the building itself was also erected by the team including Professor Kromoser.
The official opening of the robot laboratory will take place during the “Tag des offenen Hoftors” on the 19th of May, 2022.
For details, please see:
Univ.Prof. Dr.techn. Benjamin Kromoser
University of Natural Ressources and Life Sciences (BOKU)
Institute of Green Civil Engineering
Tel.: +43 1 47654 87611