Buildings 2014, 4(3), 266-294; doi:10.3390/buildings4030266

Material Efficiency of Building Construction

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Received: 21 March 2014; in revised form: 4 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 June 2014 / Published: 1 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Performance Analysis and Simulation)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Better construction and use of buildings in the European Union would influence 42% of final energy consumption, about 35% of our greenhouse gas emissions and more than 50% of all extracted materials. It could also help to save up to 30% of water consumption. This paper outlines and draws conclusions about different aspects of the material efficiency of buildings and assesses the significance of different building materials on the material efficiency. The research uses an extensive literature study and a case-study in order to assess: should the depletion of materials be ignored in the environmental or sustainability assessment of buildings, are the related effects on land use, energy use and/or harmful emissions significant, should related indicators (such as GHGs) be used to indicate the material efficiency of buildings, and what is the significance of scarce materials, compared to the use of other building materials. This research suggests that the material efficiency should focus on the significant global impacts of material efficiency; not on the individual factors of it. At present global warming and greenhouse gas emissions are among the biggest global problems on which material efficiency has a direct impact on. Therefore, this paper suggests that greenhouse gas emissions could be used as an indicator for material efficiency in building.
Keywords: material efficiency; resource efficiency; energy efficiency; building; construction; land-use; life-cycle; case-study; greenhouse gas; abiotic resource depletion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ruuska, A.; Häkkinen, T. Material Efficiency of Building Construction. Buildings 2014, 4, 266-294.

AMA Style

Ruuska A, Häkkinen T. Material Efficiency of Building Construction. Buildings. 2014; 4(3):266-294.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ruuska, Antti; Häkkinen, Tarja. 2014. "Material Efficiency of Building Construction." Buildings 4, no. 3: 266-294.

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