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BASAJAUN - Building A SustainAble Joint between rurAl and UrbaN Areas Through Circular And Innovative Wood Construction Value Chains

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BASAJAUN (BASAJAUN - Building A SustainAble Joint between rurAl and UrbaN Areas Through Circular And Innovative Wood Construction Value Chains)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2021-03-31

BASAJAUN is a major European innovation project about sustainability of building with wood. The main objective is to demonstrate how wood construction chains can be optimized to foster both rural development and urban transformation whilst being connected with sustainable forest management in Europe. The core idea is to enable the construction of a mid-sized building with the lowest possible hectares of forest.
Two full-scale medium-sized demo buildings will be constructed in Finland and France using innovative architecture and a complete digitalization of the 'forest to building' chain to show how wood construction can create benefits for rural areas.
Coordinated by TECNALIA, the project comprises 29 partners from 12 countries including 8 leading research and technology organizations, 3 universities, 15 companies and 5 other public and sectoral organizations. The team unites strong expertise in wood construction systems and buildings, innovative materials, architecture, forestry, digitalisation, environmental assessment, and rural development. It covers regions both in Northern, Central and Southern Europe.
The project has received a 10M€ grant funding from the EU Horizon2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement no. 862942. The project will run for four years from October 2019 until September 2023.
Forests and forestry can help rural development and contribute to the economic growth of Europe’s rural regions. Sustainable forest products and services connecting forests with urban centres through smart modern wood supply chains, such as the wood construction sector, can ensure existing jobs and create new opportunities for business and employment especially also in rural areas. Fostering this rural renaissance is a main purpose of the BASAJAUN project.
Wood is a natural, renewable material that stores CO2 in solid products throughout their whole life cycle. Increasing the consumption of wood in buildings implies a reduction in the use of other non-renewable materials, such as concrete or steel that require high amounts of ‘grey energy’ for production. By choosing this renewable construction material instead of other materials, the carbon footprint of buildings can be significantly reduced.
Modernising urban areas by promoting building with wood including multi-storey buildings, renovation, retrofitting, and urban densification is a great opportunity for a low carbon, circular economy. Enhancing carbon capture in forests and maximizing storage in wood products will play an essential role in the mitigation of anthropogenic GHG emissions to combat climate change. The BASAJAUN project demonstrates how new materials, products and system solutions can benefit a sustainable circular wood construction sector.
Digital technologies are a disruptive driver of change in our society. Industry 4.0 is leading the digital transformation of fully connected industrial production and innovation systems, such as smart factories, automation and mass customisation. Digital innovations in forestry and wood industries are paving the way to more sustainable management of forest and more efficient use of wood resources. Enhanced scanning, automation and modelling technologies allow that digital twins of forests and buildings are becoming a reality.
By connecting step by step the entire chain from the individual tree in the forest up to the specific wood product in a building, it will be possible to fully optimise the valorisation of wood in terms of its economic, environmental and social benefits. The BASAJAUN project will develop a first prototype of a digital ‘forest to building’ platform to showcase that the data gaps between forestry and wood industries can be bridged through digital solutions and be exploited for the benefit of a more competitive, sustainable wood construction sector.
In this period, we have defined the context where the project is being developed. The impact of wood construction at rural and environmental levels has been analysed together with the potential of the European forest as a supplier for the construction sector. Also, barriers and opportunities have been identified and the impacts of the wood construction has been analysed.
Several recommendations for material development together with the evaluation of the new wood materials and products in terms of cascading possibilities have been considered. Certification systems attesting to materials, structures, and buildings quality, especially on wood products, are also presented. Besides, the recyclability of the products is being assessed at lab scale.
A digital framework that covers from the forest, through the materials and products manufacture to the final building has been created. Its functionality and architecture have been defined. Currently, the involved partners are doing the implementation of the different subsystems. At this stage it has been decided that the framework will be an ecosystem consisting of a backbone and several subsystems for the different process steps.
All the innovative materials have been defined in a first prototype stage. This includes WPC, foams, structural insulation panels and three different coatings and chemical treatments. Besides, the first prototypes of the innovative products have been developed. Those include the design of glulam-based structural components, façade system, roofs and interior partitions.
Finally, the concept building designs for both demo buildings (Northern in Finland and Southern in France) has been defined. The design of both demonstration buildings is being carried out in parallel to ensure synergies at all levels.
The most remarkable innovation of BASAJAUN is that it contains novelties through the whole value chain in a single unified approach that will finish in two real demo buildings that will comprise several scaled-up innovations.
The barriers and opportunities for the wood construction sector have been defined by collecting the opinion of a wide range of interviewees. The future wood construction value chain has been analysed and cross-checked with selected relevant stakeholders. The analysis of the socio-economic impacts of wood construction will continue during 2021 and 2022.
Several digital subsystems have been considered and are currently being implemented. This implementation will be finalised while the corresponding digital twins are being defined. Finally, the whole system will be validated in pilots with relevant data.
Simple guidelines outlining the basic principles and additional measures to achieve the recyclability target have been defined. The LCA assessment of the developed materials and products will be carried out together with the experimental assessment of the recyclability and reusability of the materials and products. Final prototypes of the materials and products and test results will be presented in the coming months. Innovative building systems and products have been also developed. Enough quantities of products and systems will be manufactured to supply the two demo buildings. The evaluation of the buildings will be carried out through the definition of a monitoring plan and the subsequent acquisition of relevant data.
A new open innovation platform and rural-urban pilot demonstrators will be developed before the end of the project.
Foamed WPC composites
Thermal insulation panels
Structural insulation panels
SBI testing of coatings
Southern demo building
Northern demo building