Sustainability, health, and renewable materials - Trends in scientific publications

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Belvedere Hotel

Belvedere Hotel

Dobrava 1a 6310 Izola, Slovenia


Nezka Sajincic


Building practices can have a large impact on human health and the environment, so it is crucial to strive towards sustainability and use of renewable materials in all stages of the construction process. As academic research accumulates, detecting trends can illuminate current developments in both research and practice.
Our aim was to explore recent trends in scientific publications in five topics: “digital solutions in renewable materials”, “enhancing renewable materials with modification”, “developments in renewable material composites”, “advancing human health in the built environment”, and “design and engineering solutions for sustainable buildings”. We used a Natural Language Processing based toolkit (Zdravevski et al., 2019) to perform an automatic quantitative analysis of scientific articles’ titles and abstracts published in English. The search was performed in October 2019 and it included three databases (i.e., PubMed, IEEE Xplore, and Springer). In total, 2036 publications were identified and analysed based on the inclusion of specific keywords (e.g., “biophilic design”, “timber”, “circular economy”) from three areas: health, renewable materials, and sustainability.
The largest number of articles was found in the topic “digital solutions in renewable materials”, followed by “enhancing renewable materials with modification” and “design and engineering solutions for sustainable buildings”. The number of publications peaked in 2015 and 2016, but after a slight decrease in popularity in 2017, the topic has again started to gain interest. The most common keywords in the included articles were related to the topic of sustainability, ahead of keywords related to the topics of health and renewable materials. The most frequently mentioned specific keywords were “human well-being”, “sustainable architecture and design”, and “human health”.

Primary authors

Nezka Sajincic Dr Eftim Zdravevski (Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering, Saints Cyril and Methodius University) Anna Sandak (InnoRenew CoE) Prof. Andreja Istenic Starcic (Faculty of Education, University of Primorska; Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, University of Ljubljana)

Presentation Materials