“Innovative” materials for sustainable construction

Reading 3 minutes | by Micaella Feldstein, Tech & Data Analyst

The building and construction sector represented around 37% of global CO2 emissions in  2021 and was responsible for 35% of total final energy consumption, according to data compiled by the United Nations.

The sector tackles two main - not to say opposite - challenges: meet growing demand resulting from an increasing worldwide population and urbanization, while reducing its consumption of raw materials and its waste production, and aiming for carbon neutrality.

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70% of a building’s carbon impact occurs at construction stage

While much progress has been made in reducing emissions during the operation phase of a building, particularly in terms of energy consumption (replacement of fossil gas boilers, modernization of housing, better insulation, double-glazing, smart buildings, etc.), the challenge remains to reduce the carbon impact of buildings from the design/construction phase, bearing in mind 70% of a building’s carbon impact is estimated to occur at this stage.

Decarbonization of materials can be achieved through the use of bio-sourced materials, the development of low-carbon concrete with reduced or zero clinker content, the use of advanced materials, and the switch to a circular economy through the repurposing/reuse of materials. Finally, 3D printing holds great promise, but its development will depend on the expansion of green materials compatible with this technology.

To discover more, read the latest publication from Micaella Feldstein, Tech & Data Analyst, which explores the new generation of building materials and technologies that should play a major role in decarbonizing the sector

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