Last edited 17 Feb 2022

Quantification of construction materials in existing buildings (material intensity)


[edit] Overview

The existing building stock can be considered as an accumulation of physical material resources that could be used in the future to reduce the burden on primary materials.

This page presents a list of academic research that focusses on quantifying the materials found in existing buildings. There are typically two main approaches to material stock assessment and these are referred to as top-down and bottom-up (Figure 1). As explained by Marinova et al (2020), “the top-down approach calculates stocks at the aggregate level, as the result of net-additions-to-stock of a material over a period of time. The bottom-up approach divides the stock into categories of products or applications and estimates the stock by characterising each of its components with a material intensity ratio (e.g. kg/m2)”.


Figure 1 - Top-down and bottom-up perspectives (Schiller, Muller & Ortlepp, 2016, p.4)

Research on this topic ranges from individual developments, cities and regions to global assessments and covers a variety of building types (residential, commercial, etc.). The provided list is not exhaustive.

[edit] List of academic literature

Title Journal Material(s) Location (application) Year
Material intensity database for the Dutch building stock: Towards Big Data in material stock analysis Industrial Ecology Various The Netherlands (various) 2021
Quantification of material stocks in existing buildings using secondary data - A case study for timber in a London Borough Resources, Conservation & Recycling Timber London, UK 2020
Modelling global material stocks and flows for residential and service sector buildings towards 2050 Cleaner Production Steel, concrete, aluminium, copper, wood, glass Global (residential, commercial) 2020
Global construction materials database and stock analysis of residential buildings between 1970-2050 Cleaner Production Steel, concrete, aluminium, copper, wood, glass Global (residential) 2020
A spatial analysis of material stock accumulation and demolition waste potential of buildings: a case study of Padua Resources, Conservation & Recycling Various Padua, Italy 2019
A database seed for a community-driven material intensity research platform Scientific Data (data centralisation) 2019
Capture and Control of Material Flows and Stocks in Urban Residential Buildings (BAMB) IOP Conf: Earth and Environmental Science Various Munich / Freiham, Germany 2019
Towards a more circular construction sector: Estimating and spatialising current and future non-structural material replacement flows to maintain urban building stocks Resources, Conservation & Recycling Plasterboard, carpet, timber, ceramics, etc. Melbourne, Australia (non-structural material) 2018
Urban mining and buildings: A review of possibilities and limitations Resources, Conservation & Recycling Metals Amsterdam, The Netherlands (residential) 2018
Material-intensity database of residential buildings: a case-study of Sweden in the international context Resources, Conservation & Recycling Wood, steel, etc. Sweden (residential) 2018
Quantification of future availabilities of recovered wood from Austrian residential buildings Resources, Conservation & Recycling Wood Austria (residential) 2017
Quantifying and mapping embodied environmental requirements of urban building stocks Building and Environment Various Melbourne, Australia 2017
Material stocks of the non-residential building sector: the case of the Rhine-Main area Resources, Conservation & Recycling Various Rhine-Main, Germany (non-residential) 2017
GIS-based analysis of Vienna’s material stock in buildings: GIS-based analysis of material stock in buildings Industrial Ecology Various Vienna, Austria 2016
The growth of urban building stock: unintended lock-in and embedded environmental effects Industrial Ecology Various California, USA 2015
Material stocks in Germany’s non-domestic buildings: a new quantification method Building Research Information Various Germany (commercial) 2015
A method for determining buildings’ material composition prior to demolition Building Research Information Bricks, concrete, sand/gravel, iron/steel, timber, etc. Vienna, Austria 2014
Iron and steel in Chinese residential buildings: a dynamic analysis Resources, Conservation & Recycling Iron, steel China (residential) 2010
Exploration of urban stocks Environmental Engineering Management Gravel/sand, marl/clay, cement, timber, copper Switzerland 2008
Where will large amounts of materials accumulated within the economy go? - a material flow analysis of construction minerals for Japan Journal of Waste Management Various Japan 2007

[edit] References

Marinova, S., Deetman, S., van der Voeet, E. and Daioglou, V. (2020). Global construction materials database and stock analysis of residential buildings between 1970-2050. Journal of Cleaner Production, 247, 119146.

Schiller G., Müller, F. and Ortlepp, R. (2016). Mapping the anthropogenic stock in Germany: Metabolic evidence for a circular economy. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 123, pp93-107.

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