Resource efficieny - The cinderella of the efficiency debate
Paper in proceedings, 2007
The environmental pollution could be reduced noticeably in the last two decades, especially through technical measures. The reports on progress both of the European Union
and of the individual national governments moreover show a positive image of the productivity of resources development. With about one third of all direct and indirect
material flows the building sector still contributes a great deal to the national consumption of resources in almost all European countries. In the area of the energy efficiency results have been achieved, whereas those results are not yet visible in the building sector. One
reason is due to the fact that we hardly feel the “material-backpack” of 50 tons per year for each citizen, as a good deal of this weight shows up in other places (e.g. imported goods) or in the world at large (e.g. exhaust fumes). A comprehensive analysis of the whole German housing sector according to building types and construction age groups reveals hat little progress has been achieved in Germany in the last century with regard to the use of resources. The investigation shows that the analyzed buildings are responsible for a consumption of approximately 4 to 6 tons of resources per square meter of the main constructed area. Although a building has a comparatively long life expectancy, this consumption will in the long run lead to supply problems of building materials. The challenge for the building sector of the 21st century therefore consists in drastically improving material efficiencies.