BiBi-TGA, Potential for the ecological optimization of technical building equipment through the usage of biogenic materials

Assessment of the substitution potential of conventional components of technical building equipment by biogenic materials. The aim is to provide new data on the ecological improvement potential of the usage of biogenic resources in the technical building equipment in office buildings. The potentials are analyzed by means of LCA screenings and technical feasibility studies.

Short Description

Initial situation and motivation

Traditionally, technical building equipment is strongly focused on energy efficiency in the usage phase of buildings. This inevitably increases the share of emissions in the other life cycle phases such as production, recycling and landfill of buildings (Chuchra et al. 2020). Results in Passer et al. 2012 show that a high level of energy optimization of new buildings has already been achieved in Austria, thus the improvement potential is considered to be rather low. In contrast to these findings, research results of integrated life cycle assessments (iLCA) show that the building products used in the technical building equipment and fabric as well as the finishing show a high potential for ecological and energy related optimization (Passer et al. 2012)

Goals and innovation

Awareness for sustainable products in buildings is increasing. To meet the legal requirements for ecological optimization in the building sector will become more demanding in the future. The main objective of the project is to determine the substitution potential of conventional technical building equipment with biogenic resources in office buildings. In a first step, components of technical building equipment of a defined reference office building with the greatest possible optimization potential in relation to their mass will be identified. Subsequently, the potentials of the technical feasibility as well as the change in ecological performance of the respective components will be analyzed using LCA screenings. The investigation of the technical building equipment using a multi-stage potential analysis based on the combination of mass potentials, technical feasibility and ecological assessment of biogenic materials represents an innovation.


In order to assess the potential use of biogenic materials in TGA, a methodical approach is necessary. First, the system boundaries are drawn and a reference case is defined. In concrete terms, this is an office building with five upper floors in modern construction from the last 5 years. For this object, a mass balance of building construction and building services is drawn up with a special focus on the detailed recording of the building services. Using the available data sets from the life cycle analysis, these are recorded and quantified with environmental impact. The material fractions are determined and broken down by trade in the technical building equipment. Then certain components such as insulation materials, piping and small parts are categorised and summarised. These are broken down to the current GWP potentials and then researched for alternative solutions, provided these are within the scope of what is technically and normatively possible.

Similarly, for components assessed as promising, possible solutions in the field of 3D printing are investigated and directly subjected to prototyping.


The results, which are obtained by combining building technology, material science and manufacturer-related know-how with detailed modelling and analysis of the technical building equipment based on life cycle analyses, enable the classification and determination of potential for modern office buildings. The mass share of the building services equipment of one hundredth is responsible for 12 % of the GWP in the building studied, with ventilation technology and heat supply accounting for a greater share. However, the electrical and plumbing trades also offer potential. Biogenic plastics can be used promptly for small parts from various building services trades due to low material requirements, although the exact chemical compositions and manufacturing processes still need to be tested. Similarly, plastic pipelines are possible through "drop-in" solutions, i.e. the replacement of petroleum-based granulates with biogenic ones, but untested and more complex in terms of manufacturing processes and requirements. The large metal content in technical building equipment, especially in ventilation ducts, poses a more complex challenge for the use of biogenic materials. The potential is significant due to the large ecological footprint of metal production; plastic as a substitute material is conceivable, as are wood-based materials, although economic and technical hurdles still need to be overcome here. Particularly attractive is the use of materials that are currently thermally recycled or even landfilled, such as tannin foam as a substitute in cold insulation. With so-called "4D printing" and composite materials made of wood, components can be created that change shape based on humidity and other parameters, resulting in low-tech solutions for HVAC components.

Project Partners

Project management

FH Salzburg – Salzburg University of Applied Sciences

Project or cooperation partners

NaKu e.U

Contact Address

Jakob Weithas BSc, MSc
Markt 136a
A-5431 Kuchl
Tel.: +43 (50) 2211-2723