The construction industry is responsible for the use of more than 50% of natural resources, for the generation of more than 50% of global waste on an annual basis and it is responsible for the generation of over 35% of total greenhouse gas emissions considering the whole lifecycle. To meet the requirements of sustainable concrete structures in the future, the traditional approach of engineers must change: resources and energy consumption must be reduced in order not to compromise the natural environment for future generations. In parallel, the world population will continue to grow and existing infrastructure will also age. Thus, a planned research effort will have to face these problems in order to build the community of the future. To take this situation into account, the future research activities of the Institute for Solid Structures will be driven by the objective to protect the built and natural environment.
By issuing the European Green Deal initiative the European Commission (EC) identified that a circular approach within the construction sector could significantly reduce the negative environmental impact and the pressure on natural resources. The research activities of the Institute for Solid Structures intend to cover the whole life cycle (see Figure) in order to make concrete structures more sustainable. This will be done by researching and also teaching on subjects related to the following key areas: