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Last edited 19 Jun 2017

Material resource efficiency in construction: Supporting a circular economy

BRE is an independent, research-based consultancy, testing and training organisation, operating in the built environment and associated industries.

On 1 January 2017, BRE published Material resource efficiency in construction: Supporting a circular economy (FB 85), written by Katherine Adams and Gilli Hobbs.

Material resource efficiency in construction front cover.jpg

The guide defines material resource efficiency as ‘doing more with less’, that is, using material resources in the most sustainable manner while minimising their environmental impact:

  • Using fewer materials.
  • Optimising the use of materials.
  • Preventing waste.
  • Using materials that are reclaimed or that have a higher recycled content.

The preferred option is not to produce waste, followed by reuse, recycling, then disposal.

Material resource efficiency can be applied across a construction project’s life cycle, with the greatest benefits at the early stages. Greater material resource efficiency requires that the different parts of the construction supply chain to work together. This can result in cost savings, reduced environmental impact and an enhanced reputation.

The guide explains the background, drivers and potential benefits of material resource efficiency and provides practical advice for achieving higher levels efficiency. It is intended for anyone involved in construction projects, but in particular; clients, designers and contractors. It is also relevant to those who provide products and services, such as manufacturers, suppliers and waste management companies.

The contents of the guide are:

  • What is material resource efficiency?
  • Material resource efficiency drivers.
  • Some facts and figures.
  • Achieving greater material resource efficiency.
  • Waste management options for products and materials.
  • Challenges to delivering greater material resource efficiency.
  • References, tools and guidance.

--BRE Group

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