When it comes to energy, buildings are expensive: they are responsible for 40 % of global energy consumption. At present, building expenses primarily stem from their operation. However, using energy-efficient construction methods, as envisaged under Energy Strategy 2050, it will be possible to considerably reduce this energy consumption. As a result, so-called “grey energy” that is used for the production of materials and the construction process is increasingly coming under the spotlight. In future, it will account for up to 100 % of the total energy consumption of new buildings. This is because the production of cement and steel is extremely energy-intensive and causes high emissions. As part of the joint project “Low energy concrete”, Guillaume Habert, a professor for sustainable construction at ETH Zurich, and his team have therefore investigated to what extent new materials can make concrete structures more environmentally friendly.
Result: building structures constructed without steel and with low-energy concrete could together reduce grey energy by 50 % and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80 %.