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Last edited 28 Mar 2022
Consumption in the construction industry
Consumption refers to the use of 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:
- Circular economy.
- Electrical consumption.
- Energy consumption.
- Mean lean green.
- Power consumption.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle.
- Site waste management plan.
- Sustainable materials.
- Sustainable procurement.
- Waste hierarchy for construction.
- Water consumption.
NB The glossary of statistical terms, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), states: ‘Consumption is an activity in which institutional units use up goods or services; consumption can be either intermediate or final. It is the use of goods and services for the satisfaction of individual or collective human needs or wants. Alternatively, a consumption of a good or service is one that is used (without further transformation in production) by households, non-profit institutions serving households (NPISHs) or government units for the direct satisfaction of individual needs or wants or the collective needs of members of the community.’
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