Material Efficiency of Building Construction

Antti Ruuska (Corresponding Author), Tarja Häkkinen (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


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
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-294
Number of pages28
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • material efficiency
  • resource efficiency
  • energy efficiency
  • building
  • construction
  • land-use
  • life-cycle
  • case-study
  • greenhouse gas
  • abiotic resource depletion

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