As a result of the project "Building physics and energy-efficient functionality of residential building structures in the future climate" implemented in the Low Carbon Built Environment Programme of the Ministry of the Environment, a structural type of library was created in the field of structural design for adaptation to climate change.

- Adaptation to climate change refers to the functionality of structures in terms of heat and humidity technology in the environment of the future when the conditions for structures become unfavourable, explains Antti Kärkäs, structural engineer at Sitowise.

In the project, standard solutions were first surveyed among head of department, after which a selection of structures to be studied was made. The key objective was to produce additional information on the functionality of the casing structures, masonry, and concrete structures of repeated residential blocks of flats in future conditions.

- Under standard conditions, structures were examined, moisture risk locations found in the solutions were located, and mould index values were calculated. In the simulation of time, we investigated the functionality of the structures in future conditions, Kärkäs says.

Taking into account emissions from buildings and structural types

By studying the carbon footprint of structures, low-carbon structural solutions can be found that contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment and thus prevent the acceleration of climate change.

- In this project, the common factor between carbon footprint calculation and building physics research was the same structural types. So, we focused on emissions from building components, says Rasmus Törrönen, structural engineer at Sitowise.

A building's carbon footprint consists of different modules, the module which includes emissions from building elements is the largest. As a result, the choice of structure types has a major impact on the carbon footprint of a building. The aim was to enable the carbon footprint of the project to be assessed at an early stage of the project. 

- We implemented an Excel calculation template that can be used to estimate the total carbon footprint of a building. Comparisons between different types of structures can be carried out on the calculation basis and thus the best alternative can be found, says Törrönen. 

The project consisted of two master's theses

By studying the same structures, the project produced an information package in which the carbon footprint of the structural types is known, and future use has been taken into account.

The final product of the project was a library of interface details and structural types that work with moisture and heat technology. The structural types of this library will be included in the carbon footprint calculation template implemented in the project, so that the carbon footprint of the structural types will also be known. In addition, the calculation template can be used to estimate the carbon footprint of a building using the data entered.

Two master's theses were completed in connection with the project: 

  1. Low-carbon construction Reducing emissions from construction
  2. Adapting to climate change Sustainable development

- An excellent project that will bring clear concrete benefits to structural design and also recognize the effects of the already changed climate on buildings, says Maija Stenvall from the Ministry of the Environment.

The project received support funding from the Low Carbon Built Environment Programme of the Ministry of the Environment. The Low Carbon Built Environment Programme implements Finland's sustainable growth programme, which is part of the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The aim of the programme is climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as finding and deploying low-carbon solutions in the built environment.

Strategy icon

Sitowise's strategy focuses on innovation, sustainability and efficiency

The most sustainable: Sustainable development, where structural solutions focus on the future and operate in the climate of the future. The structural designer's possibilities to influence the reduction of emissions will be identified. The calculation base created in the project brings the tool into the future. 

The most efficient: With the help of the published library of structural types, an ordinary designer does not have to separately consider whether, for example, the insulation proposed by the customer works, but the matter has been studied in the background. Work becomes easier and efficiency increases when researched data is already available. 

The most innovative: More and more carbon footprint calculations are recorded in the Building Act, and the first steps towards structural solutions that can withstand a higher load must be taken well in advance. With the help of the project, emissions analysis can be brought to structural design at some level.