General Construction & Buildings

Structural analysis of the consumption of resources associated with construction

Comprehensive numerical data on the extraction of primary construction materials in Germany have been collated. A representation of the current quantity of deposits used, capacities and material flows has been established, together with the associated impact on the ecosystem. This data resource has been completed by a consideration of both existing and potential options for recycling.



The construction industry accounts for a substantial proportion of the consumption of natural resources, since the extraction of the majority of raw materials used in construction makes substantial inroads into the natural environment. The improved reconciliation of environmental requirements with the operational dictates of the industry and social requirements will depend upon the more detailed analysis of fundamental preconditions.


As part of a complex research process, this project involved the establishment of an inventory of primary construction materials extracted in Germany, namely, gravel, sand, crushed stone and stone chips, ballast materials, clays and loams used in the brick and clay products industry, together with timber as a sustainable raw material. The following data have been recorded for these materials:

  • the volume of deposits used at present,
  • annual capacities;
  • associated impacts upon the ecosystem (using examples)
  • unused but potentially useful ancillary raw materials.


A material flow analysis has also been completed for the identification of the main extraction zones, main traffic routes and main centres of consumption.

The third key element of this investigation has been the representation of the scope of the secondary raw material cycle, namely, the use of recycling and the substitution of construction materials.



The resulting comprehensive data resource, which has been converted into figures and diagrams, will serve as a basis for the development of new structures for a sustainable construction industry.

Project Participants

Implementing Institution

Philip Holzmann AG, ZA Umweltschutz

Cooperation partner

IMS Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH

More Project Informations

Project titel : Grundlagen und Perspektiven einer nachhaltigen Bauwirtschaft: Zustandsanalyse des für die Bauwirtschaft relevanten Ressourcenverbrauches

Project number: 07OWI03/0

Project period: 1996 - 1997

Project region: Germany (Hamburg)

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Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)