4.2 Indoor environment and functional furniture


Combining partly unique mechanical properties, excellent cost/performance properties, a great versatility and a sense of familiarity for users, wood products deliver added value to living environments from many points of view. The new generation of wood products for interior use meets strict demands for a healthy and safe environment and satisfies a host of functional requirements. In addition, wooden living environments have a positive effect on human well-being. The tactile and aesthetic qualities of wood-based products, their ability to act as moisture buffers and their potential for latent heat buffering are increasingly acknowledged as important for the overall living environment.

State of the Art 2012 

A wide range of new protection-giving designs, surface treatments and material modifications that enable the reliable use of wood in weather barriers, furnishings and furniture are available. There is a steady development towards an increased share of auxiliary components like adhesives and coatings produced from biobased raw materials.
Wood is increasingly regarded as an engineering material with added functional performance. Complex wood products for our homes are being produced in advanced industrial processes and offering considerably lower construction costs, greater energy efficiency and higher quality.

Expected achievements by 2020 

A new generation of wood-based interior systems will be established in buildings. Wood will be successfully integrated with other materials in various types of design solutions. New wood-based materials and methods for modifying wood will be established. Wood will be considered an engineering material offering quality-proved methods to ensure durability and shape stability. Novel value-added products based on recycled wood will have entered the market. Furthermore, new generation wood-based products and biobased material systems for outdoor use with minimum maintenance requirements will be in use. Almost maintenance-free barrier systems (paints, clear varnishes, etc.) and engineering models that allow far better predictions of performance in a variety of exposure and wear situations will be developed. A new generation of intelligent furniture will adjust to the changing needs of an ageing population.

Required Research and Innovation Activities 

A. Develop technological designs for moisture controlled use of wood and wood-based products
in buildings’ weather barriers in different climatic conditions. Use of sensors for monitoring and control (see RIA 4.1).
B. Clarify the role of wood and wood-based products in securing good indoor environments and contributing to perceived comfort.
C. Further develop the multi-material concepts and multi-functionality for wood and wood-based products in interior fittings, furniture and everyday products.
D. Develop indoor system solutions that promote flexibility regarding changes in use (ageing inhabitants, changing family structures, growing children) (see RIA 4.1).
E. Study factors that influence people’s appreciation of the aesthetics of wood, especially in interior furnishings and identify barriers preventing greater use of this sustainable and environmentally-friendly product.
F. Develop environmentally-friendly multifunctional varnishes and lasuring coatings with microencapsulations (aromas, biocides, UV filter absorbents and fire retardants).
G. Develop intelligent furniture surfaces (integrated sensors and electrical conductivity) and use a learning from nature’ approach towards state-of-the-art surface qualities, durability and mechanical properties of wood-based materials.
H. Develop new application systems for waterbased and powder coatings.
I. Develop natural bioadhesives and other biopolymers to enhance bonding in furniture components
(see RIA 4.1).
J. Continue to develop environmentally-friendly methods for modifying wood and improving the long-term properties of wood-polymer composites to increase their resistance to deterioration (see RIA 4.1).
K. Create new functional wood and composite products for home and urban furniture (see RIA 4.1).
L. Combine superior material properties of wood with high-level design and a segmented marketing approach (see RIA 3.5).
M. Develop biobased lightweight 3D furniture components.