NAME OF BEST PRACTICE:
Cree Building System: sustainable and prefabricated timber-hybrid construction
Contact person: Leonie Neff
T +43 5574 403-3193
M +43 664 828 0 663
6850 Dornbirn, AUSTRIA
WHEN: Ongoing project (the timber-hybrid building system is constantly evolving)
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Prevention: Replacement – Reduction of building materials, Preparing for reuse, Recycling: Reuse – Reprocessing,
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Education, information, awareness raising;
WASTE STREAMS: Construction and demolition waste
Copyright: Cree GmbH
About: In the “LifeCycle Tower Demonstration Project”, the project team led by Cree GmbH, a newly established subsidiary of the Rhomberg Group, set itself the objective of implementing the know-how gained from the forerunner project “LifeCycle Tower” in a demonstration project with eight storeys in timber hybrid construction. This was also planned to provide the opportunity for the functionality of the building concept developed for the “LifeCycle Tower” to be tested under real conditions and to set an international milestone in the development of resource-efficient, sustainable building. All components have been designed to allow them to be internationalized and modified to meet the requirements and regulations in different countries.
The objective of this best practice is to analyze construction concepts after implementing a pilot project and gather knowledge accumulated in a set of instructions accessible to other entities.
Knowhow: The project engaged a variety of relevant stakeholders in a joint effort to tackle the issue at national, regional and local level.
Funding: The LifeCycle Tower was a project implemented by the Rhomberg Bau GmbH and supported by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency.
The LCT ONE, a building which is unique in many ways, was built in the course of the research project. For the first time in Austria, it was possible to construct a building up to the official high-rise height limit using wood as the basic construction material. The building system was tested in a real environment for its usability and brought to wider public attention. The demonstration building shows the great potential of wood as a construction material, including for large buildings. Just as much interest has been received from international industry specialists as from the general public.
The concept offers huge opportunities for changing our lifestyles: as an example of “green building”, the LifeCycle Tower system can make a significant contribution to the environmentally and resource-friendly reformation of our living spaces and as a result bring about a clear improvement of our quality of life, in particular in urban areas. Individually configurable, a LifeCycle Tower can be fine-tuned to suit the precise needs of its occupants and the circumstances of its location
Urban metabolism relevance
The LCT Building System reduces LCC (life cycle costs) and has a better LCA (life cycle assessment). A systemized timber-hybrid building has an up to 90% improved CO2 balance. It reduces the carbon footprint.
The materials and building elements that are used in a LifeCycle Tower can be easily recycled and even reused for new buildings. Every building material and/or construction component can be separated und reused after the End of Life of a building.
The construction waste can be reduced significantly. This is mainly due to the reduction of initial non-renewable resource input (such as concrete) by 60%. Furthermore, the structure of a timber-hybrid building weighs 30% less, which leads to less material usage for foundation purposes. 1 cubic meter of wood saves approximately 1 ton of CO2, so buildings using timber-hybrid construction act as a carbon sink, and further save the CO2 emissions and primary energy consumption of conventional building materials.
Engaged participatory processes
Bundling competencies, Austria is known far beyond the country’s borders as an extremely innovative entrepreneurial environment – above all in the fields of energy efficiency, architecture and timber construction. Every year thousands of “architecture tourists” flock to investigate the region’s innovative product solutions. In 2017, 2386 visitors, mostly architects, engineers, professional planners, communities, municipalities and building authorities visited the LCT ONE. In total about 20.000 people visited the LifeCycle Tower and the exhibition in it.
LifeCycle Hub Exhibition is a resulting project out of the LifeCycle Tower research project: The objective of the LifeCycle Hub is to provide a single point of contact for presenting locally-sourced sustainability-related innovations to the interested public and positioning the bundled competencies of many regional companies in the international industry scene. The setting for this presentation takes the form of a “museum of the future”: The LifeCycle Hub.
The LifeCycle Hub bundles target groups – while its positioning in the eyes of the international industry professionals places the focus on sustainable, urban construction and life. In addition to innovative companies and architects, the visitor to the LifeCycle Hub can expect to meet investors, representatives of the public sector, decision-makers from major companies, designers, project developers and senior figures from special interest groups, commerce and research. The international press generates an additional multiplier effect. The project is presented up to 300 times per year at various events of public interest (example: Austria-wide event “Long night of research” ) – Events of cities, building authorities, construction industry, sustainability events.
The unique timber-hybrid construction, which excels with its up to 90% improved CO2 footprint and use of industrially-prefabricated modular components, attracted international interest even during the development phase and since then has been the subject of numerous presentations, news reports and site visits. A LifeCycle Tower needs 50% less energy compared to a building with low energy standard and only 10% of an average existing building.
The LifeCycle Tower is not only a presentation space for innovative technology solutions, its international character contributes as a center of innovation and excellence. The LifeCycle Tower is an established point of contact for architects, engineers, designers and others interested in sustainable solutions.
Sustainability and replicability
- All LifeCycle Tower buildings have sustainability certificates.
- Project „LCT ONE”: passive house standard
PHI Certified Passive House Award, LEED Platinum, DGNB/ÖGNI Platinum;
- Project „IZM”: largest office building in Europe in timber construction; passive house standard
DGNB/ÖGNI Platinum, Vorarlberg Timber Construction Award 2015;
- Project „Wagner Tech”: Vorarlberg Timber Construction Award 2015;
- Project „BTV”: passive house standard
The practice can be easily reproduced by (local) public authorities and is relevant for other regions across Europe. The idea can easily be replicated in other countries. The knowledge gained has already been passed on to 3 other construction companies which implement the wood hybrid technology and develop it further. (2 European countries: Denmark and Luxembourg, 1 Asian country: Singapore). Nowadays 4 LifeCycle Towers are built with Cree’s timber-hybrid building system and 3382 tons of CO2 were saved. Several wood hybrid buildings in different countries are in planning and execution.
The networking of the participating partners is a considerable factor for the success of the LifeCycle Tower concept. We have gained cooperation partners who support the success of the concept and there are more and more partners joining the platform.
The construction industry is developing very slowly compared to other industries. New developments take a long time to be implemented. Legislation and authorities often fail to quickly adopt new technologies and establish revised standards.