Task 2: Efficient and sustainable construction, deconstruction, preservation and modification of infrastructure.

Society seeks improvements in safety and comfort. IFSTTAR should help to achieve this in the area of infrastructure (engineering structures, roads, buildings, urban networks, energy production and transport structures), which we must continue to build effectively and economically (in terms of energy and resources) in order to meet the needs of individuals and spatial development, but above all to prolong or optimize its service life. The infrastructure in question must evolve to make it more robust to hazards of all types and able to adapt to the changing needs of the population. In a world which is showing itself to be more and more environmentally responsible, particular attention must be given to the entire service life of structures (combined optimization of the sizing, operation and maintenance phases), to the end of its service life (deconstruction, recycling), and to limiting the impacts of constructions on the environment and health.

Goal 2A

To develop materials, networks and structures that are economically and socially effective, economical with resources, with low impacts on the environment and health and that take account of deconstruction and life-cycle analysis aspects.

Goal description

The national strategy for sustainable development has identified several challenges, including “sustainable construction and production” and the “conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources”. The construction sector (infrastructure and buildings) is a major sector of the economy (providing more than 1.5 million direct jobs) which must take up these challenges. Most of the asphalt used in France is used for roads and two-thirds of the concrete is used in buildings. IFSTTAR’s contribution involves materials and structures that are innovative, robust and adaptable to their environment and utilization (buildings, engineering structures, roads, geotechnical structures) throughout their life. The Institute is looking for approaches that reduce the consumption of energy and natural resources and greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions throughout the service life of materials and structures.

Goal 2B

To improve and optimize existing infrastructure and networks to enhance their sustainability.

Goal description

The challenges of “sustainable consumption and production” and the “conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources” in the National Strategy for Sustainable Development and the economic challenges facing infrastructure managers mean they also need to improve the sustainability of existing structures and networks. Society therefore needs infrastructure that is safe, efficient and available, even in the difficult context of climate change which is likely to generate exceptional stresses which are at present poorly understood, or changes in the stresses that result from operation or accidents. Particular attention will be given to the sustainability of urban networks, whose effective maintenance is one of today’s major environmental and economic challenges.

Goal 2C

To survey and analyze materials, constructions, networks and the soil to improve sustainability and risk prevention and assess performance and impacts.

Goal description

Achieving the above goals (2A and 2B) requires the development of tools for surveying, and analyzing materials and structures, as well as recognition tools, that apply the major technological developments of recent years in the areas of micro-electronics and new ICTs which may be of great value for these applications. It also demands the development of a methodology for evaluating the environmental and health impacts of individual structures.