The Consumption of Resources in the Urban Habitat

Matthias Roik
Research & Development
HALFEN, Cologne

Over the last decade, the word sustainability became one of the most frequently used words in connection with the building industry. However, the complexity of this term is rarely met, as sustainability is often merely interpreted as a reduction of operating energy consumption. Though, the sun provides 10.000 times more energy than global civilizations could ever use. Thus, once energy storage becomes more efficient, energy provision and the CO2 emissions due to fossil based energy will no longer be a problem, but the global resources remain limited. For many years, Prof. Werner Sobek has been representing the opinion that the focus should rather lie on 1) building more with less, 2) ensuring a 100% recyclability and 3) avoiding any gaseous emissions. The significance of these principles raises each year.

With the resource issue in mind, the question “How much does your building weight?” needs to come back in focus. Therefore, this presentation introduces the research progresses on resource consumption in the urban habitat. It discusses the question what building typology is resource-wise – not energy-wise – the most efficient and presents innovative methods to decrease the material consumption in buildings. Here, concepts of lightweight construction are being applied in terms of material, structural or system related aspects. Functionally graded concrete for lighter concrete components, building with reversible joints for an absolute recyclability or including adaptive elements into building structures for an up to 70% decrease in material consumption are some approaches that could provide a solution. These topics are currently under investigation at the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design at the University of Stuttgart and will also appear in this presentation.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation