Which material will become Europe’s future construction mainstay?

(EurActiv, 3 May 2023) The European Union’s construction industry stands at a crossroads: In its transition to a climate-neutral ecosystem, the incumbent industry is worried that organic replacements are given disproportionate support.

Construction is a big business. According to European Commission data, the sector employs around 25 million people and generates an added value of €1,158 billion per year.

On the flip side, construction is responsible for 50% of material use and about 35% of waste and emits about one-third of the EU’s total CO2 – both during construction and when the buildings are lived in. 

Tackling this two-sided construction and buildings challenge is very much on the mind of Brussels policymakers.

In March, the Commission presented its “transition pathway for the construction ecosystem,” laying the foundation for the sector’s eventual digital and green transformation. The Brussels push is accompanied by initiatives like the New European Bauhaus.

No one knows what this transformed sector, future houses, will look like. Some experts say houses will become Lego-like material repositories, and traditional environmentalists eye a future where wood plays a bigger role.

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EurActiv, 3 May 2023: Which material will become Europe’s future construction mainstay?