The Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) is a public, dynamic and innovative institution dedicated to research and teaching with over 50 years of history located in the Eastern Spain. Its community is made up of around 28,000 students, 2,600 lecturers and researchers and 1,500 administration and services professionals distributed among its three campuses. At present, the UPV comprises 13 university centres, of which nine are higher technical schools, two are faculties and another two, higher polytechnic schools. To give some examples of higher technical schools related to IMIP project, UPV includes the School of Architecture, the School of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering or the School of Industrial Engineering.
The UPV has 19 university institutes. One of them is the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (ITACA) with the mission of improving our society through the transfer and application of knowledge from research in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Within this institute we found the ICT versus Climate Change research group, an emerging interdisciplinary research line of the ITACA committed to the use of ICT in connection to the environmental issues to fight against Climate Change. This research group is divided into three research lines, one of them is dedicated to circular economy and bio-based economy. Staff from this research line is participating in the IMIP project.
Your tasks in IMIP project
The UPV is the project leader in charge of the coordination of management and monitoring and evaluation tasks. Besides that, the UPV also leads the WP4 about environmental assessment where a plug-in for BIM (Building and Information Modelling) will be integrated into BIM methodology and the climate change mitigation of the IMIP panels will be evaluated employing a Life Cycle Analysis methodology. The UPV also participates in all the other Working Packages with more or less relevance.
Until now, we have been working hard in WP1 and WP2. The goal of WP1, which already ended, was to analyse the value chain of the raw materials necessary to produce an ecological construction system with natural raw material from the Sudoe region (South of France, Spain and Portugal). In this WP we gave support to the other partners, specially providing data from Spain and reviewing the deliverables and products produced.
The goal of WP2 was to design and manufacture the IMIP panels. This WP is not yet finished, the panel design is completed, and its manufacture is now starting. Our role in this WP has been to support the design of the panels from the perspective of bioscience engineering and architecture. Currently, we are compiling all the information collected to prepare the deliverables.
Future steps within and after IMIP project
The construction system we are designing within IMIP project addresses two important goals in our society. The first one is the preservation of our local forest ecosystems. We believe that by increasing the added value of the raw material provided by our local forests, we can improve sustainable forest management practices and indirectly, other cross sectorial topics like unemployment or rural depopulation. We will contribute to these goals because within IMIP project we are designing an innovative ecological construction system based on local wood of relatively low quality that was usually employed to produce products of lower added value (e.g., pallets). We are also employing cork, a bio-based insulating material locally produced. By increasing the added value of locally bio-based produced raw materials, sustainable forest management practices will be improved integrating other targets like reduction of risks of natural disturbances such wildfires, or forest resilience against climate change.
The other important element that IMIP project addresses is building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way. The sustainable-by-design construction system we are proposing integrates safety, circularity and functionality of Engineered Wood Products, bio-based raw materials and processes throughout their lifecycle. The wood-based modular construction system reduces the impacts that alternative construction materials like steel or concrete are producing nowadays. The cork improves the energy efficiency during the use phase of the buildings. And the panels are designed considering their circularity for its reuse in a new or renovated building, or for its cascading in other uses like bioenergy production.
Further research in these lines will be needed to improve the construction system we developed with alternative materials such composite panels or to demonstrate it with new applications in different building types. The consortium we build for IMIP project and the know-how we are developing are strengths for new projects in the Interreg Sudoe or other calls.