Last edited 24 Jun 2020


Consumption refers to the use a resource.

A ‘consumer’ is the ultimate user of resources such as goods and services and the party who derives the benefit that is associated with them. However, a consumer is not necessarily the same thing as a customer: a parent buying toys may be a customer in a toyshop but the ultimate consumer is their child. So, consumers do not necessarily make buying decisions.

Consumption has become a concern as the population has grown and rising incomes have allowed people to consume more. The resulting use of the earth’s resources and the emissions that this has produced have led us to the point of a climate emergency. This has driven a focus on reducing consumption, re-using resources where consumption is necessary, and recycling resources where re-use is not possible.

The construction industry is one of the biggest consumers of resources. New construction consumes 40% of raw materials globally, and the construction sector in Europe accounts for more than 40% of Europe’s energy and CO2 emissions. As a result there is a developing movement to reduce consumption during construction, operation and decommissioning. This is driven by client demand, industry action, increasingly strict regulations and technological developments.

Articles about consumption on Designing Buildings Wiki include:

Designing Buildings Anywhere

Get the Firefox add-on to access 20,000 definitions direct from any website

Find out more Accept cookies and
don't show me this again