An industrial pavilion and a road section, both in the Aveiro region, are the first visible results at real scale of using waste generated in the pulp and paper industry in precast concrete structures and in bituminous mixtures for roads paving in Portugal. The challenge, which is both complex and ambitious, emerged as part of the paperChain European project and is already being put into practice in Ílhavo and Cacia: using waste from pulp production, such as lime ash, dregs and grits (granular waste) as secondary raw materials in the construction sector, integrating them in a circular economy logic. The paperChain project includes 20 partners from five EU countries committed to circularity boosting). In Portugal, the entities involved include the University of Aveiro, The Navigator Company, Spral, Megavia, RAIZ Research Institute and the Sustainable Habitat Cluster. Called "New niche markets for waste from the pulp and paper industry based on the circular economy", it is coordinated by the company Acciona Construction (Spain).
PEFC-certified wood is at the heart of the new Gold-rated Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) building in Berlin, Germany. From wooden doors and furniture fittings, to roofing and wooden windows, wood originating from sustainably managed, PEFC-certified forests can be found throughout the new building.
In March 2015, the new BMBF building was awarded the Gold Standard by BNB (Sustainable Building Rating System; a Sustainable Building Guide for Federal Building). To achieve such a high rating, at least 80% of all the wood-based products used in the construction had to originate from a sustainably managed forest and come with a recognized certificate – such as a PEFC.
“The federal government clearly calls for the use of wood from sustainable managed forests, thereby contributing to the protection of the world’s forests. It is great to see that this has been implemented consistently, and I am very pleased that the use of PEFC-certified wood has helped the building achieve the Gold Standard,” said Dirk Teegelbekkers, General Secretary of PEFC Germany.
In addition to the use of PEFC-certified wood, constructors had to meet a range of requirements to ensure the sustainability and energy efficiency of the building in order to achieve the energy and climate objectives. This included a demand for energy to be more than 70% below the target of the current energy saving regulations, the use of building techniques such as cogeneration with CHP and fuel cells, thermoactive ceilings, façade-integrated photovoltaic modules or the demonstrated avoidance of harmful substances in the materials used.