The topic of recycling management is currently a top priority, especially since it represents a significant contribution to the urgently needed achievement of current climate targets. In practice, however, quality-preserving building material cycles are implemented in only a few cases. One major obstacle is the presence of interfering and pollutant materials; on the other hand, heterogeneous material combinations in the form of hybrid and composite building materials make it difficult to selectively deconstruct old buildings and thus to generate single-variety and thus recyclable material streams.
The research project “Bau-Cycle” aims to close major gaps in the recycling of building products, particularly in the material groups of waste wood, old windows and insulating materials (HFD). The three ACR institutes (HFA, OFI, IBO) leading in their respective sectors form a holistic, material-specific building materials analysis center with a cooperative laboratory. Together, we are developing a one-stop service offering comprehensive chemical and physical material characterization of HFD building materials. Companies in the construction and waste industries, in particular SMEs, are thus provided with a laboratory unit that can be used on a mobile and stationary basis. This enables extended, analysis-supported and thus quality-assured fault and pollutant detection on the construction site as well as any necessary subsequent special analysis in the on-site laboratory. In addition, we develop new, innovative methods for the separation of problematic substances. This turns reclaimed building materials into high-quality new starting products or secondary raw materials that can be profitably recycled by the companies.
The complexity and scope of the topic require the interlinking of a large number of different competences. An essential approach of the research project is therefore the interdisciplinary cooperation of the participating research institutions, which are leaders in the respective material sector (OFI – plastics, HFA – wood, IBO – general construction and ecology) and can draw on expertise essential for the successful implementation of the project. OFI is primarily known as a plastics institute with a high level of competence in the field of plastics applications (adhesives, coatings, paints). In the second main business area of “building renovations”, additional construction-specific competencies can be found, such as in the area of insulating materials, while material-analytical expertise in the area of building products is to be increasingly built up in the current project.
The research project “Bau-Cycle” is funded as a strategic project of ACR (Austrian Cooperative Research). Holzforschung Austria is responsible für the project management.