SINTEF Building and Infrastructure has a long-lasting experience on wood constructions and instituted several streams of research on wood-based building products. A long-lasting collaboration with the Research Centre on Zero Emission Buildings and the Research Centre on Zero Emission Neighborhoods in Smart Cities strengthened the knowledge and expertise in nearly zero energy buildings where wood is the main construction material. The NERO project is therefore an excellent opportunity to contribute with past experience and acquire knew knowledge in wood constructions and nearly zero emissions buildings.
Wood for Zero
NERO develops and demonstrates technical solutions, which significantly reduce the costs of new nearly Zero-Energy Wooden Buildings and districts compared to the current situation.
On site and nearby renewable energy system solutions are studied in order to provide real addition of renewable energy production and to provide solutions, which are optimal on local grid and energy system level.
Estonians have long historical traditions in producing wooden buildings. Today the manufacturing of wooden buildings has developed to one of the key industries in Estonia with 140 enterprises and around 85-90% of houses are exported. The Estonian wooden houses industry is the most successful exporter in Europe; and the seventh largest overall. The NERO project helps to step forward to more energy efficient and moisture safe wooden building with reduced cost.
Kouvola has already anticipated the requirements of the new FInZEB legislation. All of the new wooden frame public service buildings being built in this decade largely follow this new legislation to come. With the NERO project this accumulated level of knowledge will strengthen, and as wooden construction projects will be enlarged and diversified this will open up to our advanced actors a wider market. It is great to have recognition given by the EU and opportunity to continue our work, together with our competent Nordic partners.
Since both energy efficient buildings and buildings with wooden construction are of great importance in Växjö Municipality we look forward to this NERO project for important knowledge contribution! We have been working within these areas for many years and have received a lot of attention. The NERO project will be one of the measures that helps us to reach our target with zero fossil carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, help us to continue developing and to keep the position as a front runner.
NERO focuses to nearly zero energy buildings (nZEB) in Nordic countries where there are massive resources and good skills to manufacture and construct wooden buildings but heating is clearly dominating and the cost of heavily insulated nearly zero energy buildings is evidently challenge. Thinking of cost effective solutions prefabricated wooden buildings could provide solid option to achieve nZEB requirements in a cost effective manner – that’s the main objective of NERO project to be demonstrated with best practice case studies.
According to Article 9 of the Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EPBD), Member States shall ensure that all new public buildings in Finland are Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (nZEB) since start of 2018. After public sector reform, the law is going to be expanded elsewhere: all new buildings must be built by Article 9 in 2021.
Integrating renewable energy production elements into nZEB in cooperation with construction industry's design and procurement process is a major challenge. Even if progress is slower than expected, we are sure that the development of nZEB products will increase demand in market as consumers are more aware of cost reduction solutions.
In Nordic countries, wood has been traditional building material over centuries. The use of timber in the North derives from material availability, economy and user-friendliness in construction. The real secret behind timber’s success is its adaptability: wooden buildings have standed well in exceptional climate conditions, which include relatively cool and a slightly humid environment.
During strong urbanization in 1960’s the construction of wooden houses collapsed significantly. The popularity of wood has never been lost, but lack of use may have led to disappearance of inherited knowledge of wood material. In addition, we started to build houses from concrete elements by the mass production.
Today, climate change and environmental consciousness have increased need for sustainable construction. By modern methods, apartment buildings and public buildings are going to be built more often as wooden framed ones. As our total energy consumption have to be lowered by 40%, new industrial processes, materials and renewable energy sources must be developed.
In order to accelerate this positive advance, our NERO -project develops and demonstrates nearly Zero-Energy (nZEB) Wooden Buildings design process and procurement models with reduced cost for large-scale use in the northern climatic conditions and on performance level of nearly zero and beyond. Demonstration tasks on net-zero and energy-plus level will be also executed in the project.