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Raw materials in the building industry

Raw materials in the building industry are various and varied.  Some of them are scarce and/or non-renewable.  

More than 30 to 50% of the total use of materials in Europe is devoted to housing.

These are mainly iron, aluminum, copper, clay, sand, gravel, limestone, wood and stone. Concrete represents 42% of the total weight of the materials.

raw materials in the building industry - matières premières dans la construction

Sand, a raw material that is running out…

Over the past 30 years, the demand for sand has increased by 360%. We extract more sand than the earth is able to produce!


The construction industry is the number one consumer of sand.

400 billion tons of sand are extracted per year, 9 times more than oil!


The concrete is composed of 2/3 sand. It takes 200 tons of sand to build a house.

…which will increase the need for ecological construction in Portugal

The scarcity of resources is not the main concern of builders, yet it is clear that this situation is likely to worsen in the coming years.

An opportunity for ecological or passive construction in Portugal or elsewhere. Indeed, these buildings generally consume less materials with high embodied energy, such as concrete. A double positive effect for this type of construction.

More data on sand, the second most exploited resource in the world, on this document done by Ibrahim Habi.