On 16/06/2017, RACE KOGO started a R&D project – Development of innovative, modular, prefabricated wooden wall with improved construction physics characteristics and development of sensors and controllers for monitoring indicators of living comfort, acronym of the project “RACE WOOD”. The project includes new solutions for construction of wooden buildings with prefabricated large-walled modular elements with significantly improved construction physics elements and the corresponding sensors for monitoring living comfort. Use of locally accessible wood from mountain areas and production of special 3D insulation panels from recycled materials should significantly improve acoustic, thermomechanical and static characteristics of the wooden wall, while providing fire resistance over 90 minutes.

The project solves key challenges in wood construction for acoustic and fire resistant characteristics of wooden buildings, where the user can constantly monitor all measured parameters for living comfort in the building. By introducing RRI project, wood construction will become more appealing for investors as it will provide safer, faster, and cheaper construction, and users will get new levels of living comfort that was not available in current wooden buildings. Design, optimisation, and product monitoring through its entire life cycle will be done with the latest global technology BIM. For more efficient dissemination of RRI project, BIM tool will enable the designers to directly use certified products from RRI project on a global level.

The purpose of the project is to develop an innovative inner wooden wall that will provide the user with improved living comfort (lower noise levels, fire resistance, higher aesthetic level) and reduced expenses for thermal energy, also with the planned sensor and controller for regulation of living comfort. Through the entire life cycle, the wood in the wall will store carbon which will contribute to reduction of climate changes. The environmental challenge faces two fronts: improvement of internal living comfort in buildings, and use of natural materials (wood) and recycled materials (thermal and acoustic insulation).

The result of the RRI project will complement S4 goals by increasing the share of high-tech intensive products and by introducing services with high share of knowledge in export. The project will significantly improve construction of wooden buildings and significantly contribute to export of knowledge to the global market by increasing the marketing potential of selling the service for monitoring living comfort indicators.

The registered RRI project is directly related to the field of use of “Smart buildings and homes with wooden chain” which is a priority field of “Healthy living and working environment” under the S4. This priority field combines fields of use that require systematic solutions, meaning connection of processing technologies with final products. They require intensive investing in R&D, as well as intensive connection of stakeholders.

The goal of the project is also to improve material paths of Slovenian-locally accessible wood into final products with high added value. Due to the technology of treatment and processing of wood (forest production, primary and secondary wood processing into final wood products), wooden residues are created which we want to process into new, environment-friendly wood products in the process of improving material efficiency. The possibility of reusing the used wood in new products extends the duration of carbon storage in wood. The company plans its business opportunity also in reuse and processing of different materials of natural (rubber, textile) or fossil origin (various polymers) into new products with higher added value. With the planned new product of development of an innovative modular wooden wall, the company improves the use of locally accessible wood from alpine areas (use of renewable sources) and reuse of recycled materials, from textile, rubber, and polyurethane (reduction of residues/waste), and use of local knowledge on thermomechanical and electromechanical energy conversions.

Innovation of RRI project for development of living comfort sensor is particularly shown in:
– comprehensive approach to establishing a living comfort sensor, from installation to monitoring the readings and later awareness of users about the critical values and potential possibilities or suggestions for optimisation of measured values (organisational and investment) if necessary,
– innovative graphic display of readings,
– possibility of using the system on portable mobile devices applications,
– possibility of upgrading the sensor (optional additional supplementation of new measurement functionalities – the so-called modularity),
– multi functionality,
– autonomy of operation (up to 1 week),
– direct connection with the product – wooden wall (measurement of suitability of living comfort, noise, temperature, humidity, CO2 and various hazardous gases).

The advantage or the novelty of the sensor that we will develop, compared to the competition, is mostly in the fact that our product will provide multi functionality and modularity (possibility of adding individual measuring components) where all individual components which are required for setting up the sensor will be developed together with individual suppliers and standardised in order to provide compatibility among the components and for setting up a single system which will integrate data from different components, and a uniform display of different information.

Project RACE WOOD is co-financed by RS and EU from the European Regional Development Fund (www.eu-skladi.si) through a public tender “Strengthening of competences and innovation potential of companies”, issued by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology in cooperation with the administrative body of the Public Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Development, Investment and Tourism (SPIRIT). Total value of the entire RRI project is EUR584,275.43, we are planning to co-finance it with EUR193,359.00. RRI project RACE WOOD lasts 18 months and includes the work of 8 experienced researchers from different fields of expertise.