The buildings sector is the biggest user of primary energy in the world – a clear reminder of how much impact construction and engineering can have on the environment. At the same time, worldwide demand in the sector is forecasted to grow by 85% to $15.5 trillion by 2030.
The big question is how the industry can meet this demand in a truly responsible way, supporting the environment as well as people’s well-being. The sector contributes to 6% of global GDP (or $10 trillion) per year, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum. It also contributes to 25-40% of global carbon emissions and uses up huge quantities of the world’s resources, such as half of all the steel the world produces in a year.
The report, titled Shaping the Future of Construction, considers the various tools that could be used to improve the way things are built. Whether it’s lean management, circular economics or cross-industry collaboration, all of these tools are important. But it’s circular-economy thinking that can have a truly radical impact on the built environment, as well as people’s health and well-being.