ArticlePDF Available

Carbon emission of global construction sector

Authors:
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU in Gjøvik
1
Embodied carbon of global construction sector
Lizhen Huang (Corresponding author)
Institue of Technology, Economy and Management, Norwegian University of Science and
Technology, NTNU in Gjøvik, Teknologivn. 22, 2815 Gjøvik, Norway
Tel: +47 61 13 52 83 (O), +47 40 38 09 58 (M)
Email: lizhen.huang@ntnu.no
Guri Krigsvoll
Institue of Technology, Economy and Management, Norwegian University of Science and
Technology, NTNU in Gjøvik, Teknologivn. 22, 2815 Gjøvik, Norway
Tel: +47 61 13 52 37 (O)
Email: guri.krigsvoll@ntnu.no
Fred Johansen
Institue of Technology, Economy and Management, Norwegian University of Science and
Technology, NTNU in Gjøvik, Teknologivn. 22, 2815 Gjøvik, Norway
Tel: +47 61 13 52 73 (O),
Email: fred.johansen@ntnu.no
Yongping Liu
Institue of Technology, Economy and Management, Norwegian University of Science and
Technology, NTNU in Gjøvik, Teknologivn. 22, 2815 Gjøvik, Norway
Email: yongping.liu@ntnu.no
2
Embodied carbon of global construction sector
Abstract:
This paper aims to explore the level of CO2 emission produced by the global construction sector
and identify the hot spots and improvement opportunities of this sector. Using the world
environmental input-output table 2009, this paper analysis embodied CO2 emission 40 countries
construction sector owe to 26 kinds of energy use and non-energy use. Results indicate: 1) 5.7
billion tons CO2 emission (23% of the global economics activity) embodied in the global
construction sector in 2009. 2) Gasoline, diesel, OTHPETRO and LFO are four main energy
sources for direct CO2 emission of global construction sector. The indirect CO2 emission is the
dominate part (94%) of this total embodied one. The indirect CO2 emission mainly stems from
HCOAL, Nature gas, and Non-energy use. 3) The emerging economies cause nearly 60% of the
global construction sector total embodied CO2 emission. China is the largest contributor. Moreover,
the intensities of construction sector’s direct and indirect CO2 emission in the developing countries
are larger than the value in the developed countries.
Key words: CO2, Construction sector, Direct emissions, Indirect emissions, Energy use, Non-
energy use
3
Abbreviations
1
:
ETP15: Energy Technology Perspectives 2015
EU-27: European Union 27 member states
OECDP: OECD Pacific countries, including Australia, Japan, and South Korea
OME: Other main emerging economies, including Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, and TurkeyRussia,
RoW: Rest of the world
HCOAL: Hard coal and derivatives
BCOAL: Lignite and derivatives
COKE: Coke
CRUDE: Crude oil, NGL and feedstocks
DIESEL: Diesel oil for road transport
GASOLINE: Motor gasoline
JETFUEL: Jet fuel (kerosene and gasoline)
LFO: Light Fuel oil
HFO: Heavy fuel oil
NAPHTA: Naphtha
OTHPETRO: Other petroleum products
1
The 26 energy commodities are defined by WIOD, more detailed information see
http://www.wiod.org/publications/source_docs/Environmental_Sources.pdf ( page 67)
4
NATGAS: Natural gas
OTHGAS: Derived gas
WASTE: Industrial and municipal waste
BIOGASOL: Bio-gasoline also including hydrated ethanol
BIODIESEL: Biodiesel
BIOGAS: Biogas
OTHRENEW: Other combustible renewables
ELECTR: Electricity
HEATPROD: Heat
NUCLEAR: Nuclear
HYDRO: Hydroelectric
GEOTHERM: Geothermal
SOLAR: Solar
WIND: Wind power
OTHSOURC: Other sources
5
1. Introduction
The construction sector encompasses creation, maintenance and demolition of buildings and
infrastructures. It is the fundamental component of the economic and social development of a
country. Historically, it has played an important role in the global economy. For example, the
construction sector generates 10% of gross domestic product (GDP) and provides 20 million direct
jobs in European Union [1]. The U.S. construction industry accounts for approximately $1134
billion (3.8%) of the gross domestic product in 2013 [2]. In China, construction industry is
responsible for 7% of the gross domestic product in 2013 [3].
Naturally, the consumption of building materials and construction manipulation involves and use
of large quantities of energy. Until now, most energy used in the construction sector are
unrenewable one. This consumption contribute significantly to global CO2 emission. It was
reported that in 1999 construction activities contributed to over 35% of total global CO2 emission
(UNEP, 2001). Consequently, with increased attention to issues of sustainable development, many
GHG emission policies have targeted the built environment. A number of studies have displayed
the importance, and potential mitigation policies for embodied carbon of the construction sector at
national level, including USA [4], Australia [5], China [6, 7], Ireland [8], Norway [9], etc..
Nevertheless, the literature study leading up to this paper revealed almost no contributions that
display the global map of CO2 emission stemming from the construction activities. This
observation, obviously, emphasizes the need to evaluating carbon emission of construction
projects at the global level. Therefore, this study aims to answer following questions:
1) What is the level of CO2 emission produced by the global construction sector?
2) What are the hot spots and improvement opportunities of the global construction sector?
6
In order to answer these two questions, this study conduct input-output analysis based the world
input-output table in 2009
2
. The study considers 40 countries and 26 kinds of energy. It analyses
the CO2 emission produced by direct, indirect energy use and non-energy use for the global
construction sector.
The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 outlines the development of models and the source of
data. Section 3 explains the main results of the analysis. Section 4 discusses the potential mitigation
of construction sector to the global CO2 emission. Section 5 concludes the findings.
2. Method and data
2.1 Input-output model
For the input-output model, the final total emission intensity matrix ‘‘E’’ was calculated by
1
()E S I A
=−
(1)
where A is the technical coefficient matrix, I is the identity matrix, and S is the satellite matrix.
The satellite matrix S includes direct CO2 emission intensity in different energy source, non-
energy use and total one. The matrix ‘‘E’’ is the inventory of CO2 emission by different energy and
non-energy source of the construction sector economic output. For the calculations, the world
Input-output table (WIOD) is used for matrix A and for the final total output of the construction
sector.
2.2 Data
The data used in this study is newly released world input-output (WIO) database [10, 11]. It is built
on national accounts data, which was developed within the 7th Framework Programme of the
European commission. Detailed world input-output tables include 34 sectors in 40 countries and
2
The WIOD has provided world input-output table for 201. However, the data on energy and carbon are only
available until 2009. Therefore, the 2009 situation is discussed here.
7
rest of the world (RoW). The main advantages of WIO with respect to previously available data
sources are: 1) it allows to describe and analyse embodied carbon of construction activities at the
global level, since the data collection is consistent and fully comparable across countries. 2) Due
to the lack of CO2 emission data for imported products for national input –output table, the default
method assumes the same embodied air emission intensity for both the import and domestic
products associated to each sector [12, 13]. The WIO make it possible to explore the impact of
international trade on construction sector.
The direct CO2 emission data of industries for this analysis is included in the emission relevant
energy use and CO2 emission information that are accompanying satellite accounts to the WIOD
database [11, 14]. CO2 emission (measured as Kilotons) are disaggregated across 26 energy
carriers and non-energy use. To measuring of sectorial economic activity, the study use gross
output (GO) which is expressed in monetary units in million US$ (2009 current price).
For the sake of simplicity we explain the detailed country results to eight regions: China, the
European Union (27 member states, EU-27), India, OECD–Pacific (including Australia, Japan,
and South Korea, OECD-P), other main emerging economies (including Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico,
and Turkey, OME), Russia, the U.S., and the RoW (rest of the world).
3. Results
This section provides, firstly, an overview over the embodied CO2 emission of global construction
sector, including the main contributors of such emission. Secondly, it displays the detailed
information of different regions.
3.1 Global CO2 emission and relevant energy consumption
The total embodied CO2 emission of global construction sector is 5.7 billion tons in 2009, equalling
8
to 23% CO2 emission of the global economics activity. The intensity of total embodied CO2
emission of global construction sector is 0.67 kilotons/ million US$. This is much larger than
average value of global economics activities (0.22 kilotons/ million US$).
Figure.1 and Figure.2 illustrate the results for the embodied CO2 emission and its intensities of
construction activities in eight regions. The largest embodied CO2 emission of the global
construction sector have taken place in China. 22.7% direct CO2 emission, 42.3% indirect one and
41.2% total one of world construction activities stem from China. EU-27 is the second largest
direct CO2 emission constitutor (17.7%), and the US is the third one (13.3%). EU-27 is also the
second largest indirect CO2 emission constitutor (9.7%), and the India is the third one (8.0%). Most
developed countries contribute more direct CO2 emission than indirect one. As a result, EU-27,
India, OECE-P, OME, Russia, US and the RoW response to 10.1%, 7.8%, 7.1%, 4.1%, 3.4%, 6.3%
and 19.8% total embodied of global construction sector in 2009, respectively. China, India and
Russia have larger CO2 emission intensity than other regions/countries and average world value,
especially indirect one. Equally, the intensity of direct CO2 emission, indirect one and total
embodied one of construction sector in EU-27 is lowest one in the world.
Figure.3 explores the resources for the embodied CO2 emission of global construction sector. The
four main resources of direct CO2 emission owe to world construction activities are: Gasoline
(22.2%), diesel (19.1%), other petro (OTHPETRO) (17.5%), and liquid fuel oil (LFO) (16.9%).
There is less than 1% of direct CO2 emission produced by non-energy resource. The hard coal
(HCOAL) is the largest producer of indirect CO2 emission (48%). China contribute 63% of this
indirect global construction sector CO2 emission caused by HOCAL. Nature gas (NATGAS) is the
second largest energy resources of the indirect CO2 emission of world construction sector (12.6%).
Equally, 15% of indirect CO2 emission stem from non-energy use, mainly owe the production of
9
cement. Consequently, the HCOAL (34.6%), nature gas (15.8%) and electricity (11.8%) are three
main energy resource of total embodied CO2 emission in global construction sector. Results also
show that the contribution of renewable resources to energy use of global construction sector is
tiny, with less than 0.1% of direct energy use and less than 6% of total one.
3.2 Regional CO 2 emission and relevant energy consumption
3.2.1 China
Figure.4 displays the direct and indirect CO2 emission of Chinese construction sector in 2009,
including the resources of emission. In china, total embodied CO2 emission is nearly 2.4 billion
tons, accounting to 38% of national economic activities’ CO2 emission. However, the total output
of Chinese construction sector contributed 9.3% of national total economic output. As a result, the
intensity of total embodied CO2 emission of Chinese construction sector (1.7 kilotons/millions
US$) is much larger than average value of Chinese economics activities (0.41 kilotons/millions
US$). However, the intensity of direct CO2 emission of Chinese construction sector is 0.05
kilotons/millions US$. Equally, the direct one only response to 3% percent to total embodied CO2
emission of Chinese construction sector. This indicate that CO2 embodied in building materials are
the dominate part. Moreover, 73% of input to Chinese construction sector is from domestic
products. Main imported goods to Chinese construction sector is equipment and machine from
Germany, Japan and South Korea. However, all imported goods to Chinese construction sector
only account to 4.7% total embodied CO2 emission of this sector. On the other side, unlike other
production in China, there are very few (less than 0.5%) construction products to be exported. This
means, nearly all these huge CO2 emissions are produced and consumed domestically.
The main resources of direct CO2 emission of Chinese construction sector are OTHPETRO (50%),
LFO (18.4%), HCOAL (17.9%) and diesel (8%). Equally, the HCOAL caused 71.8% indirect
emission and 70.1% total one of Chinese construction activities. This ranked COAL is the no.1
10
largest resource of total embodied CO2 emission of Chinese construction sector. Equally, Second
largest contributor are non-energy use, mainly owing to the process of cement production. 58.6%
total embodied CO2 related energy in Chinese construction sector are HCOAL, and 12.3 % are
electricity. This also indicate that larger total intensity of total embodied CO2 emission of Chinese
construction sector is the results of coal dependent Chinese energy mix. This finding is different
from previous study done by Chang (2010), which showed that Coke is the main embodied energy
of Chinese construction sector. This could be the results of different data source and energy
classification.
3.2.2 EU-27
Figure.5 and Figure.6 indicate the direct and indirect CO2 emission of EU-27 construction sector
in 2009 by countries and resources. In EU-27, the construction sector contributed 7.7% total
economics gross output in 2009. The total embodied CO2 emission of EU-27 construction sector
are 579 million tons, accounting to 18% of total CO2 emission produced by EU-27 economic
activities. This is less than Chinese value. On the other side, the contribution of direct CO2
emission to the total embodied one in the EU-27 construction sector is 10%. This more than the
value in China (3%). Consequently, the contribution of indirect one to the total embodied CO2
emission of construction sector in EU-27 (90%) is less than the value in China (97%). This is
mainly because less new construction in EU-27.
For direct CO2 emission of EU-27 construction sector, the four main contributors are UK (16%),
Germany (14%), France (12%) and Spain (8.2%). This is reasonable, because these four countries
are the four large economics in EU-27. Equally, the four largest contributor to indirect CO2
emission of EU-27 construction sector are Spain (17.4%), Germany (12.8%), Italy (10.6%) and
France (9.7%). This could be the results of two facts: 1) Spain and Italy contribute 19% and 12%
to total no-energy purpose CO2 emission in EU-27 construction sector, respectively. These values
11
are more than other EU-27 countries. 2) Energy mix in Spain and Italy have larger CO2 intensity.
Consequently, Spain (16.5%), Germany (12.9%), Italy (10.2%), France (9.9%) and UK (9.5%) are
five largest contributor of total embodied CO2 emission of EU-27 construction sector.
However, the largest intensities of direct CO2 emission of construction sector are Bulgaria (0.1
kilo tons/ million US$), Romania (0.1 kilo tons/ million US$), and Estonia (0.08 kilo tons/ million
US$). The largest intensities of indirect are Bulgaria (0.7 kilo tons/ million US$), Spain (0.5 kilo
tons/ million US$), and Poland (0.04 kilo tons/ million US$). Obviously, the intensity of direct and
indirect CO2 emission of construction sector in these lower income countries are larger than those
higher income countries in EU-27.
Unlike to China, the main resources of direct CO2 emission of EU-27 construction sector are diesel
(32.7%). and LFO (16.5%). Moreover, non-energy use (21%), Nature gas (19.7%) and the HCOAL
(19 %) are three main resources of indirect emission of EU-27 construction sector. Different from
china, HCOAL is not the dominate part of total embodied energy in the EU-27 construction sector.
The electricity (13.7%), HCOAL (12.3%), Diesel (8.8%) and nuclear (7.8%) are four main energy
resources of total embodied CO2 emission in the EU-27 construction sector. This means that the
contribution of renewable energy in EU-27 is larger than the average global value.
3.2.3 India
Figure.7 indicate the direct and indirect CO2 emission of India construction sector in 2009 by
resources. In India, the total embodied CO2 emission of India construction sector is 444 million
tons, accounting to 29.6 % of total CO2 emission stemming from national economic activities.
Only 2.6% of these 444 million tons CO2 are produced directly from construction activities.
Equally, the Indian construction sector contributed 11.5% total economics gross output in 2009.
Consequently, the direct intensity of total embodied CO2 emission of Indian construction sector
(0.04 kilotons/millions US$) is much less than average value of Indian economics activities (0.6
12
kilotons/millions US$), but the intensity of total embodied CO2 emission of Indian construction
sector (1.5 kilotons/millions US$) is much larger.
87.5% inputs to the India construction sector are from domestic. Main imported goods to Indian
construction sector is metal products from Austria, and Canada. Equally, all imported goods to
Indian construction sector only account to 6 % total embodied CO2 emission of this sector. Equally,
India do not export the construction products/service.
Similar to EU-27, the main resources of direct CO2 emission of Indian construction sector are LFO
(44%) and diesel (27.3%). Similar to China, the HCOAL are the dominate resources of indirect
and total CO2 emission of Indian construction sector. The HCOAL produces 65.9% indirect CO2
emission and 64% total one from Indian construction activities. Equally, the second largest
contributor are non-energy use (14%), mainly due to the cement production. In the other hand,
52.3% total embodied energy in Indian construction sector are HCOAL. Equally, other two main
embody energy are electricity (9.8 %) and nature gas (9%). This is some different from China. The
contribution of nature gas to the total embodied energy in Chinese construction sector are smaller
(4.4%).
3.2.4 OECD-Pacific
Figure.8 and Figure.9 indicate the direct and indirect CO2 emission of OECD-Pacific construction
sector in 2009 by resources and countries. The total embodied CO2 emission of construction sector
in these three OECD-Pacific countries are 407 million tons, 9% of this total embodied CO2
emission are direct emission. Similar to EU-27, the construction sector account to 7.7 % of total
output of the total regional economics activities. However, the direct and indirect CO2 emission
intensities of OECD-Pacific construction sector are larger than the values in EU-27. As the result
the intensity of total CO2 emission of OECD-Pacific construction sector are nearly 1.5 times value
of EU-27 situation. Japan are the largest contributor of direct and indirect CO2 emission of the
13
OECD-Pacific construction sector, with smallest intensities of indirect CO2 emission (0.26 kilo
tonnes/ million US$). The intensity of direct CO2 emission of construction sector in Australia is
0.1 kilo tonnes/ million US$, as the smallest one in these countries. The construction sector of
South Korea, however, have the largest direct and indirect CO2 emission intensities. This could be
the result of the OTHEPETRO and HCOAL use in this Korean construction sector.
The main resources of direct CO2 emission of OECD-Pacific construction sector are LFO (31.8%),
Coke (22.9%) and diesel (9.9%). Direct CO2 emission of Australian construction sector mainly
stems from LFO (37.8%), Gasoline (26%) and diesel (24.3%). Equally, direct CO2 emission of
Japan construction sector are owe to the Coke (32%) and LFO (31.8%). Similar to Australia and
Japan, LFO (28%) is the largest resource for direct CO2 emission of South Korean construction
sector. However, waste are the second largest resource for direct CO2 emission of South Korean
construction sector. This is quite different from all other developed countries.
HCOAL, non-energy use and Nature gas the three largest contributor to the indirect CO2 emission
of OECD-Pacific construction sector, responsible for 31.9%, 14.4% and 12.5% respectively.
Contribution of HCOAL to indirect CO2 emission of Japanese construction sector is smaller than
other two countries. That is why Japanese construction sector has the lowest to indirect CO2
emission intensity. The inputs to Australian, Japanese and South Korean construction sector
require 7.8%, 8.4% and 15.5% imported goods/service, respectively. One fourth of international
inputs to the South Korean construction sector are from China, especially buildings materials.
3.2.5 OME
OME (other major emerging economies) includes Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey.
Figure.10 and Figure.11 indicate the direct and indirect CO2 emission of OME construction sector
in 2009 by resources and countries. The total embodied CO2 emission of construction sector in
these four emerging economies are 238 million tons, accounting 20% of total CO2 emission from
14
total regional economic activities. Direct emission response to 16% of this total embodied CO2
emission of OME construction sector. This contribution is the largest compared with all other
regions and countries in this study. Moreover, the direct and indirect CO2 emission intensities of
OME construction sector are larger than the values in EU-27 and OECD-Pacific. As the result the
intensity of total CO2 emission of OECD-Pacific construction sector are nearly double value of
EU-27 situation.
The largest contributor of direct and indirect CO2 emission of the OME construction sector are
Indonesia. Consequently, Indonesia cause 43% total CO2 emission in the OME construction sector.
On the other hand, the intensities of direct and indirect CO2 emission of Turkish construction sector
is the largest one among in these four countries. The intensity of direct CO2 emission of Turkish
construction sector is also the largest among all these 41 countries in this study. This is the result
of larger HCOAL (60%) use directly. Equally, 73.5% of Indonesian construction sector direct CO2
emission stem from OTHPETRO. Diesel (74.7%) is the dominate energy resources to the direct
CO2 emission of Brazilian construction sector. The direct CO2 emission of Mexican construction
sector are mainly owe to the Gasoline (49.6%) and diesel (19.8%). As result, the main resources
of direct CO2 emission of OME construction sector are OTHPETRO (29.8%), Gasoline (19.1%),
diesel (16.6%) and HCOAL (15.8%). However, due the large indirect use of HCOAL to
Indonesian construction sector, HCOAL is the largest energy resources to the total CO2 emission
of OME construction sector, with 23.8%. Non-energy and Nature gas use are another two large
contributor to the total CO2 emission of OME construction sector, responsible for 18.2% and 16.7%
respectively. This is similar to OECD-pacific. Brazilian, Indonesian, Mexican and Turkish
construction sector have 7.7, 17.8%, 20.8% and 17.6% input from international trade, respectively.
The main international inputs to Brazilian and Mexican construction sector is USA. Half of
15
international inputs to the Mexican construction sector are from USA. China is the main
contributor to international inputs to the Indonesian construction sector, while Germany is the main
contributor to international inputs to the Turkish construction sector.
3.2.6 Russia
Figure.12 indicates the direct and indirect CO2 emission of Russian construction sector in 2009,
including the resources of emission. The total embodied CO2 emission of Russian construction
sector is 194 million tons. Only 3.8 % of this CO2 emit directly by the Russian construction sector.
This is similar to India and China. This also indicate that indirect CO2 emission are the dominate
part. 8% of input to Russian construction sector is from imported products/service. Nearly 20% of
these imported inputs are from Germany, epically machine. All these international inputs to the
only caused 2.7% of the total embodied CO2 emission in the Russian construction sector.
Furthermore, the intensity of direct CO2 emission of Russian construction sector is 0.05
kilotons/millions US$, close to the value in China. Equally, the intensities of indirect and total CO2
emission of Russian construction sector are some less than the values in China and India.
The main resources of direct CO2 emission of Russian construction sector are Gasoline (31.8%),
LFO (25.9%), Nature gas (24%) and diesel (9.7%). Equally, the use of Nature gas emit 40%
indirect CO2 emission of Russian construction activities. This results Nature gas as the no.1 largest
resource of total embodied CO2 emission of Russian construction sector. Equally, the second
largest contributor to this total emission are non-energy use (26.3%).
3.2.7 USA
Figure.13 indicates the direct and indirect CO2 emission of U.S. construction sector in 2009,
including the resources of emission. The total embodied CO2 emission of U.S. construction sector
is 361 million tons. Similar to EU-27 and OECD- Pacific, direct CO2 emission contributes 11.6%
of this total emission. 10.8% of input to U.S. construction sector is from imported products/service.
16
However, the imported inputs response to 17% indirect CO2 emission of the USA construction
sector. 31% of these imported indirect CO2 emission are from China, even there are only 10% of
those imported inputs are from China.
The main resources of direct CO2 emission of the U.S. construction sector are Gasoline (78%),
and diesel (15.3%). Equally, HCOAL (30.6%), Nature gas (22%) and non-energy use (16.4%) are
main resources for indirect CO2 emission of the U.S. construction sector. This results that HCOAL,
Nature gas and Gasoline are three main energy resources to the total CO2 emission of the U.S.
construction sector.
4. Discussion
The global construction sector creates 315 million tons direct CO2 emission, representing 5.5%
the total embodied CO2 emission of this sector. 99.5% of direct energy use in the global
construction sector are fossil fuel. The indirect CO2 emission of the global construction sector is
dominate part. The un-renewable energy resource (85%) and non-energy use (14%) are two main
producer of this indirect CO2 emission. Only 6% of indirect energy use in the global construction
sector are renewable energy. Therefore, on the view of emission’s resources, the policies should
emphasize on improving the blend of renewable resources. According to the new released IEA
energy technology perspective 2015, the carbon intensity of primary energy have to be reduced
around 60% by 2050 compared with today [15]. Thus, the policy to encourage the innovation of
the low carbon energy is urgent. This is special for the emerging economies, because they are the
main new construction market in the world now. The OECD countries can engage activity in the
emerging economy low carbon initiatives.
The 14% non-energy use CO2 emission is mainly owe to the cement production. Cement
production is an energy and carbon-intensive process, due to the calcination of limestone and the
17
combustion of fuels. Strategies and potentials toward CO2 emissions reduction in cement plant
include energy saving, carbon separation, as well as utilizing alternative materials [16]. Several
studies tried to address the CO2 emission and energy efficiency issues for different regions of the
world [17-23]. However, it looks not enough for 2 degree global warming scenario according to
the ETP15 [15]. For example, the recently study in EU cement industry indicated an improvement
in the thermal energy efficiency and the CO2 emissions per tonne of clinker respectively of 11%
and 3.7% in 2030 compared with the level of 2002 in the baseline scenario. CCS (carbon capture
and storage) is identified as one of key for the decarbonisation in cement and energy industries [15,
16, 20]. However, there are only 13 large scale CCS projects across five sectors by the end of 2014
[15]. For cement industry, CCS have been pilot tested but not yet demonstrated at the commercial
scale. Policies need to development to deal with the various barriers and challenges for CCS,
especially in term of economic factors and legislation.
On the other hand, buildings materials is recognized as the most important part for carbon
mitigation in the construction sector. There is no more than 10% imported inputs to construction
sector in most countries. However, the extraction, production and distribution of buildings are
operated with the international supply network. Thus, adopting fewer carbon-intensive building
materials requires information transparency on embodied carbon at global level.
Researchers have been striving to devise strategies and policies to mitigating carbon stemming
from construction activities [4, 8]. Many developed countries have been prompting the
construction sector to change their carbon intensive ways of operations [5, 24].The results clearly
indicate that the emerging economies is the main contribution to the total embodied carbon of the
global construction sector, especially China. They have policies on the national carbon mitigation.
They also ad but not declare clear action plan on carbon mitigation of construction operations.
18
Worse still, these emerging economies will be keeping as the main part of global construction
activities in the foreseen future. In this regard, these emerging economies will work as a
tremendously important role of carbon-mitigation on global construction sector.
5. Conclusion
Using the input-output analysis on world input-output table 2009, this paper reveals that:
1) 5.7 billion tons CO2 emission (23% of the global economics activity) embodied in the
global construction sector in 2009. The indirect CO2 emission is the dominate part (94%)
of this total embodied one. It is not unreasonable to look the construction is one of the
global most significant carbon emitting sector. Gasoline, diesel, OTHPETRO and LFO are
four main energy sources for direct CO2 emission of global construction sector. The
indirect CO2 emission mainly stems from HCOAL, Nature gas, and Non-energy use.
2) The emerging economies cause nearly 60% of the global construction sector total
embodied CO2 emission. China is the largest contributor. Moreover, the intensities of
direct and indirect CO2 emission from construction sector in the developing countries are
larger than the value in the developed countries. Chinese construction sector has the largest
intensities.
3) Government and industry need to work together to support R&D programmes on new low-
carbon construction technologies, as well as to promote using low embodied carbon
building material and services at life cycle perspective. Specially, emerging economies
need to make greater efforts to develop, promote and enforce more low-carbon
technologies/purchasing in their constructions. Simultaneously, strategies must be
developed to address the carbon leakage and industrial competitiveness concerns,
19
considering the life cycle approaches to emissions reduction. International cooperation on
low-carbon construction innovation and information transparency on building materials
embodied carbon are also required.
Reference
[1] EU commission, The European construction sector: a global partner, 2014. Retrieved from
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=7426&lang=en&title=The-
European-construction-sector%3A-a-global-partner on Jan.10,2015.
[2] BEA (Bereau of economics analysis, US), Gross-Domestic-Product-(GDP)-by-Industry Data, 2014.
Retrieved from http://www.bea.gov/industry/gdpbyind_data.htm on Jan.13,2015.
[3] CNBS (Chinese national burean of statistics), China statistical yearbook 2014, Chinese Statistics Press,
Beijing.
[4] Hendrickson C., Horvath A., Resource use and environmental emissions of U.S. construction sectors.
Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. 2000;126(1):38-44.
[5] Wong P.S.P., Owczarek A., Murison M., Kefalianos Z., Spinozzi J., Driving construction contractors
to adopt carbon reduction strategies - an Australian approach. Journal of Environmental Planning and
Management. 2014;57(10):1465-83.
[6] Chang Y., Ries R.J., Wang Y., The embodied energy and environmental emissions of construction
projects in China: An economic input-output LCA model. Energy Policy. 2010;38(11):6597-603.
[7] Guan J., Chu C., Zhang Z., Evaluation and sensitivity analysis of the energy consumption of the chinese
construction sector based on input-output LCA model. Research of Environmental Sciences.
2015;28(2):297-303.
[8] Acquaye A.A., Duffy A.P., Input-output analysis of Irish construction sector greenhouse gas emissions.
Build Environ. 2010;45(3):784-91.
[9] Huang L., Bohne R.A., Embodied air emissions in Norway's construction sector: Input-output analysis.
Building Research and Information. 2012;40(5):581-91.
[10] Timmer M.P., Dietzenbacher E., Los B., Stehrer R., de Vries G.J., An Illustrated User Guide to the
World InputOutput Database: the Case of Global Automotive Production. Rev Int Econ. 2015;23(21.
[11] WIOD, World Input-Output Tables. 2012. Retrieved from
http://www.wiod.org/new_site/database/wiots.htm on Apr.10, 2014
[12] Miller R.E., Blair P.D., Input-Output Analysis: Foundations and Extensions: Cambridge University
Press; 2009.
[13] Weber C.L., Peters G.P., Guan D., Hubacek K., The contribution of Chinese exports to climate change.
Energy Policy. 2008;36(9):3572-77.
[14] Genty A., Final database of environmental satellite accounts: technical report on their compilation.
2012. Deliverable 4.6, Documentation Retrieved from
http://www.wiod.org/publications/source_docs/Environmental_Sources.pdf on Apri. 12,2014.
[15] IEA, Energy technology perspective 2015. Paris: OECD/IEA; 2015.
[16] Benhelal E., Zahedi G., Shamsaei E., Bahadori A., Global strategies and potentials to curb CO2
emissions in cement industry. J Clean Prod. 2013;51(142-61.
[17] Atmaca A., Kanoglu M., Reducing energy consumption of a raw mill in cement industry. Energy.
2012;42(1):261-69.
[18] Liu F., Ross M., Wang S., Energy efficiency of China's cement industry. Energy. 1995;20(7):669-81.
[19] Oh D.-Y., Noguchi T., Kitagaki R., Park W.-J., CO2 emission reduction by reuse of building material
waste in the Japanese cement industry. Renew Sust Energ Rev. 2014;38(796-810.
20
[20] Pardo N., Moya J.A., Mercier A., Prospective on the energy efficiency and CO 2 emissions in the EU
cement industry. Energy. 2011;36(5):3244-54.
[21] Sheinbaum C., Ozawa L., Energy use and CO2 emissions for Mexico's cement industry. Energy.
1998;23(9):725-32.
[22] Thirugnanasambandam M., Hasanuzzaman M., Saidur R., Ali M.B., Rajakarunakaran S., Devaraj D.,
et al., Analysis of electrical motors load factors and energy savings in an Indian cement industry. Energy.
2011;36(7):4307-14.
[23] Worrell E., Martin N., Price L., Potentials for energy efficiency improvement in the US cement
industry. Energy. 2000;25(12):1189-214.
[24] Zutshi A., Creed A., An international review of environmental initiatives in the construction sector. J
Clean Prod. 2014.
... Like gross domestic product measures the economic outlook of a nation within its boundaries, real estate measures the real wealth or level of prosperity of a nation in terms of that nation's physical development. Real estate development, in spite of its facilitating role in national development, consumes huge environmental resources, generates huge volumes of waste and high levels of pollution that negatively impact both natural and built environments (Huang et al., 2018;Hussin et al., 2013). This makes real estate development a major environmental threat to sustainability in developing and developed countries (Darko et al., 2018;Mensah et al., 2019;Ratcliffe et al., 2009;UNEP, 2012). ...
... These wastes are generated because of factors including variations in designs, poor quality of materials, contractor's errors, improper site management, errors in procurement, materials unable to meet specifications (Hussin et al., 2013;Lu et al., 2011;Mokhtar & Mahmood, 2008;Wahab & Lawal, 2011). Real estate development, then, remains a primary cause of excessive exploitation of environmental resources for the creation of built environments and thereby contributes to carbon emissions and pollution during extraction of construction materials and erection of structures (Amoateng et al., 2013;Borgese, 2008;Huang et al., 2018;Kheni & Akoogo, 2015;Senick et al., 2011). The huge volumes of environmental resources and materials depleted through the development process cannot be sustained if the renewable capacity of the ecological resources continue to be less than the rate of depletion (Daly, 1990). ...
... This industry accounts for 6% of the global GDP, and most other industries rely heavily on the built environment as an asset to produce their economic and societal value (World Economic Forum, 2016). Moreover, the industry is the largest user of raw materials and is responsible for producing 23% of the global carbon emissions which contribute to climate change (Huang, Krigsvoll, Johansen, Liu, & Zhang, 2018). In addition, construction, renovation and demolition activities generate a significant share of the solid waste that is produced around the world (Yuan & Shen, 2011). ...
... Three major sustainability challenges for the civil engineering industry are to: (a) significantly reduce its CO2 emissions (Huang et al., 2018), (b) increase the reuse of materials (van den Berg, 2019), and (c) decrease the production of solid waste (World Economic Forum, 2016;Yuan & Shen, 2011). Furthermore, there is a strong need to adapt the built environment to improve its ability to cope with the negative effects of climate change, such as the increased occurrence and severance of droughts, floods, storms and heavy precipitation (IPCC, 2021). ...
... The construction industry was responsible for more than 40 % of global energy-related carbon emission in 2015 [1]. After many efforts to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, the focus is currently turning to the reduction of their embodied emissions [23]. Embodied emissions of buildings can be defined as the carbon emitted during the manufacturing process of the materials used in the build, and during the construction process itself [10]. ...
Article
Young plantation forests can be used as a resource for structural sawn timber products to help reduce the embodied carbon emissions of buildings. Eucalyptus spp. are amongst the most promising species due to their adaptability and high growth rates. However, young Eucalyptus forests often produce timber containing defects such as excessive warp (due to growth stresses) and knots. We hypothesize that using lamellas that are bowed can result in prestressed glulam beams and, in this way, improve their load capacity and lower the impact of knots. Eighteen (18) glulam beams were manufactured with lamellas of varying bow distortion levels. Nine of the beams had the pre-tensioned side coincident with the tension side of the beam, and the other nine with the compression side. Results indicate that lamellas with increased bow did have better inherent flexural properties than straight lamellas, and hence more bowed lamellas resulted in beams with improved bending strength and stiffness irrespective of pre-tensioning. On the other hand, the prestress added to the beams through the straightening of lamellas did not influence the beams' stiffness or strength. In total, 80% of the lamellas had bow above the limits established by a usual standard for hardwood timber which would normally result in a rejected product. Utilizing bowed timber for laminated beams result in a high value product and reinforces the potential of young fast-growing plantation forests to provide raw material to the timber and construction industries.
... For example, fuel oil decreased China's economic structural effects by − 17.125%, and Estonia's economic structural effects by − 22.034%, yet it increased Romania's economic structural effects by 11.369%. Fuel oil's use through the local industry is key to its impact on the country's economywide energy intensity, suggesting careful attention to adjustments in the economic structure, such as the power sector (Shrestha and Timilsina, 1996), steel sector (Smyth et al., 2011), and materials (Huang et al., 2018). ...
Article
The economywide energy intensities in the service sectors are declining in many countries worldwide. We identify the drivers of the declining trends by employing the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index (LMDI) on annual data from 16 countries in the Asia and Eastern Europe for the 2000–2014 period. We find that the change in fuel mix has little contribution to driving the economywide energy intensity of the service sector down during the study horizon. Instead, the change in energy intensity contributes to a decrease in economywide energy intensity of service sectors in most countries except the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, and Turkey. Moreover, since energy intensity is inseparable from economic development, changes in economic structure are an essential determinant of the economywide energy intensity of service sectors. This work also analyzes the sectoral attribution and energy feedstocks attribution of economywide energy intensity of the service sectors.
... The construction industry is associated with high greenhouse gas emissions, intensive use of energy and the depletion of natural resources. Studies indicate that the construction industry accounts for 40 % of worldwide energy consumption, 50 % of landfill waste, 39 % of CO 2 emissions, 50 % of climate change, 40 % of water pollution, and 23 % of air pollution [1][2][3]. The high carbon footprint of the construction industry is essentially ascribable to the sheer scale of material usage. ...
Article
In recent years, alkali activated material (AAM) or geopolymer has emerged as a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to cement. It is owing to its low power consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as good mechanical and durability features. However, due to the nature and diversity of available source materials, developing an AAM mix to attain desirable fresh properties, sufficient strength characteristics, and touted environmental benefits is quite challenging. It demands a precise selection of input material and mix proportions based on several trials, which requires a large quantity of material, time, and effort. Therefore, employing machine learning techniques could facilitate and accelerate the development of one-part AAM binder with the desired properties. This study evaluates the performance of various machine learning models (Ridge regression, RF, LightGBM, and XGBoost) for accurate compressive strength prediction of one-part AAM binder. Extreme Gradient Boost (XGBoost) outperformed all other algorithms in terms of prediction efficacy and accuracy. In addition, SHapley Additive exPlanations (SHAP) is also used to interpret the predicted compressive strength through XGBoost and the effect of various parameters, independently and in relation with other parameters, is evaluated and discussed in detail. The interpretable ML strategy used in this study will aid in the production and performance tuning of durable and sustainable one-part AAMs for widespread applications.
Article
Recycled aggregate concrete (RAC) has received rapidly growing attention given its contribution to sustainability in the construction industry. Except for material properties, eco-friendliness and energy savings gained increasing concern during concrete production. This paper proposed a framework for mixture proportions optimization of RAC based on machine learning and metaheuristics. Six machine learning models were developed to predict the compressive strength of RAC based on a dataset with 1305 samples. With the best prediction model, three scenarios with four objective functions including compressive strength, materials cost, carbon footprint, and energy intensity of RAC were optimized using the competitive mechanism-based multi-objective particle swarm optimization (CMOPSO) algorithm. Results show all machine learning models can predict the compressive strength of RAC with high accuracy, among which the extreme gradient boosting model shows superior performance over other models. The curing age, cement content, and replacement ratio of recycled coarse aggregate are dominant features influencing the compressive strength of RAC. The CMOPSO algorithm can obtain the Pareto optimal solutions in three design scenarios. The proposed framework improves the efficiency in optimizing the mixture design of RAC for achieving required mechanical, economic, and environmental objectives.
Article
Full-text available
There has been a call for the construction industry to become more energy efficient in its planning and activities, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help combat climate change. The Australian Building Codes Board has implemented ‘Energy Efficiency’ standards through the National Construction Codes to direct the industry towards net zero emissions goals. However, the Board has maintained a focus on operational flows considerations despite this only being a part of the total expenditure in a building lifecycle. Embodied flows, the energy output, and emissions from harvesting, manufacturing, transporting, and manufacturing materials for a building have not been included as a part of the current standards despite their growing share in the outputs of construction. A qualitative document analysis using data from academic articles and industry publications was performed to identify the context in embodied policy development. Findings reveal an abundance of different legislations and initiatives globally, recommending techniques that may effectively achieve embodied flow reductions. The results highlighted that Australia needs to capitalize on the potential reductions in overall energy and emissions from construction. Other regions have provided a strategic and legislative basis for the industry to emulate.
Article
Taking advantage of a 2005–2018 sample of 86 Chinese steel enterprises (CSEs) and the difference-in-differences method, this paper utilizes the carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS) — as a quasi-natural experiment to investigate the impact of the carbon ETS on the total factor pollution control efficiency (TFPCE) of CSEs to test the green development effect of the carbon ETS. Then, the green development effect of the carbon ETS is empirically tested by a variety of robustness tests, such as DDD and PSM-DID. The results show that the carbon ETS policy significantly improves the TFPCE of CSEs located in the pilot area, generating the green development effect, and that this the annual effect lags by one year. Additionally, the channel analysis from the perspective of enterprise internal management and the external environment shows that strategic innovation, substantive innovation and institutional quality play a positive role in enhancing pollution control performance respectively. The heterogeneity test shows that the green development effect is better for state-owned CSEs and CSEs located in the eastern and central China. The conclusion has significant implications for green and low-carbon development in heavy pollution industries and has implications for further promoting the implementation of market-oriented environmental regulations.
Article
The continuous rise of carbon emissions has brought enormous pressure on the human environment. To determine the response characteristics and influencing factors of carbon emissions and land surface temperature (LST), we used the land use, LST, carbon emissions, and socioeconomic data of Guangdong Province in 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2017 through Spearman correlation analysis and factor detection of Geodetector. The findings revealed that carbon emissions had a semi-circular hierarchical structure from 2000 to 2017. The areas with significant carbon emissions were distributed in some counties and districts of Zhongshan, Dongguan, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, and they continued to increase and expand outward. The annual average LST in Guangdong Province is between 17 and 24 °C, and the average daytime and nighttime LST are 21–28 °C and 13–20 °C, respectively. Total carbon emissions and LST have a positive coefficient of 0.3–0.7. The leading factors of carbon emissions in Guangdong Province are different in different periods, but the influence of economic aggregate (GRP), land scale (LS), and land intensity (LI) on the spatial differentiation of carbon emissions is relatively strong. The interaction effect of factors is more significant than the single factors. The outcome of the study is valuable for decision-makers to formulate emission reduction policies and achieve sustainable urban development.
Article
The built environment continues to grow rapidly and is currently estimated to account for 30–40% of all Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions globally. Continuing on a ‘business as usual’ trajectory will see global annual increases in GHG emissions as a result of considerable urban growth. Some past studies have quantified national GHG emissions associated with the built environment but, to-date, no national framework for GHG emissions accounting of the built environment exists. This study presents a robust methodology for estimating GHG emissions associated with the built environment using Ireland as a case study. Taking a Whole Life Carbon (WLC) perspective it quantifies both operational and embodied emissions. One single method is used for operational emission quantification, for which well-documented data exists. For embodied emissions two methods are applied: 1) Material-based emissions are calculated using the Commodity Accounting Method (CAM) and 2) Sectoral-based emissions are quantified using constructed floor area and other construction-related data (the Sectoral Summation Method – SSM). Reasonable agreement between the methods is observed which enables robust conclusions to be drawn. ∼37% of all Irish GHG emissions are attributed to the built environment while ∼1/3 of these emissions are embodied in the production of the raw materials, the transport of materials and the construction and demolition of buildings and infrastructure.
Article
Full-text available
Hybridization of heavy off-highway working vehicles brings considerable energy savings in the form of a downsized internal combustion engine (ICE) by means of reduced no-load losses. In this paper, a novel energy saving opportunity in working hydraulics at the end of long booms of working vehicles is proposed. In traditional off-highway working vehicles, the working hydraulics is supplied through pipes, hoses, and valves by a hydraulic pump located near the main engine. A significant amount of energy is lost in long pipelines and hoses as well as in valve throttles. A new topology is introduced to supply the power along the long boom; the power for a hydraulic actuator is supplied by an integrated electro-hydraulic energy converter (IEHEC), which is located at the boom end. The electrical energy to the converter is supplied through electrical cables, which have negligible losses compared with a conventional fluid power supply with long pipelines. The converter transforms the electrical energy into hydraulic energy at the end of the boom, and may also recover energy for additional energy savings.
Book
Full-text available
Environmental life cycle assessment is often thought of as cradle to grave and therefore as the most complete accounting of the environmental costs and benefits of a product or service. However, as anyone who has done an environmental life cycle assessment knows, existing tools have many problems: data is difficult to assemble and life cycle studies take months of effort. A truly comprehensive analysis is prohibitive, so analysts are often forced to simply ignore many facets of life cycle impacts. But the focus on one aspect of a product or service can result in misleading indications if that aspect is benign while other aspects pollute or are otherwise unsustainable. This book summarizes the EIO-LCA method, explains its use in relation to other life cycle assessment models, and provides sample applications and extensions of the model into novel areas. A final chapter explains the free, easy-to-use software tool available on a companion website. (www.eiolca.net) The software tool provides a wealth of data, summarizing the current U.S. economy in 500 sectors with information on energy and materials use, pollution and greenhouse gas discharges, and other attributes like associated occupational deaths and injuries. The joint project of twelve faculty members and over 20 students working together over the past ten years at the Green Design Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, the EIO-LCA has been applied to a wide range of products and services. It will prove useful for research, industry, and in economics, engineering, or interdisciplinary classes in green design. © 2006 by Resources for the Future. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.
Article
In the study of sustainable building materials, the comparison of the life cycle environmental performance of steel and reinforced concrete has been a popular and important topic. Based in Singapore, this is one of the first studies in the literature that applies both attributional and consequential life cycle approaches to compare the global warming potential and embodied energies of these two materials, which are widely used for the structural parts of buildings. It was found that 1 kilogram (kg) of steel can be replaced by 1 or 4.25 kg of reinforced concrete. Two consequential scenarios for each of three combinations of primary and secondary steel were assessed. It was found that reinforced concrete produces less carbon dioxide emissions and incurs less embodied energy in most of these cases, but when different sustainable primary steel-making technologies were incorporated, these results may be reversed. We applied consequential life cycle assessment and scenario analysis to describe how changes in the demand for structural steel and reinforced concrete in Singapore's building industry give rise to different environmental impacts. Specifically, the consequential life cycle approach revealed that, over the short term, the impact of substituting steel with reinforced concrete depends on the difference in impacts resulting from the transportation of these two materials within Singapore. Based on these lessons, integrated technology policies to improve the overall sustainability of using steel for construction were proposed.
Article
A new study by Arup has shown that the embodied CO 2 (eCO 2) in construction can be affected by the design decisions of the structural engineer. Structural engineers can have influence over two areas, the impacts of the operation of buildings by facilitating the use of fabric energy storage and the eCO 2 by specification of the material within the structural frame. The study found that the eCO 2 in the structure of the buildings was in the order of 200kg/m 2. This represented 50-60% of the total eCO 2, significantly more than the percentage found in other studies. The study also showed that optimizing the eCO 2 of the structure can be done without compromising the efforts of other design team members to reduce impact. The use of blended cements containing other cementitious materials such as fly ash or ggbs reduces the eCO 2 of the concrete, but delays the setting time, which might impact the construction program.
Article
With the background of rapid urbanization and large-scale infrastructure constructions in China, the embodied energy and atmosphere impacts of construction projects are analyzed by adopting the Economic Input-output Life-cycle Assessment Model. The sources and components of building embodied energy are illustrated and the amount of related environmental emissions is calculated. A prediction is conducted, and a series of strategies and suggestions are provided for energy conservation and atmosphere pollutant reduction in China. Results show that building embodied energy accounts for nearly 16% in total social energy consumption in 2007, and should not be excluded from the system of building energy efficiency. Emissions occurring in the energy embodying process are the main polluters of the country's atmosphere, and the proportion of building embodied energy and relevant emissions in the entire society will be increased in 2015 if keeping 2002's industry correlation level, which indicates that effective regulations and measures are indispensable.
Article
There is considerable information available concerning the energy used in buildings, but until recently little attention was paid to the energy used to produce and transport building products. This energy, often called "embodied energy", is of growing importance in the context of assessment of environmental impacts and the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This article discusses techniques for calculating embodied energy and considers its strengths and weaknesses as a measure of environmental impact. Significant savings in energy use and carbon dioxide emissions are clearly possible through environmentally aware choice of building products.
Article
While most life-cycle assessments of buildings have focused on construction and use phases, the location of a building can significantly affect the transportation demand of its inhabitants. The life-cycle energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of two representative buildings in Lisbon, Portugal, are compared: an apartment building in the city centre and a semidetached house in a suburban area. An integrated approach is used to conduct a life-cycle analysis that includes building construction, building use and user transportation. Sensitivity analyses are used to evaluate impacts for multiple locations. For the apartment, building use accounted for the largest share of energy and emissions (63–64%), while for the house, most (51–57%) of the energy and emissions were associated with user transportation. Energy and GHG emissions for suburban locations were significantly higher (by 55–115%) than those in the city-centre locations, largely due to individuals commuting by car. The analysis demonstrates the significance of transportation and highlights the importance of residence location in urban planning and environmental assessments. These results are likely to apply to other southern European cities that have expanded with significant growth in car ownership and use. To improve urban sustainability, development strategies should consider the transport infrastructure in addition to building efficiency.
Article
Given that construction activities consume large amounts of energy, quantitatively assessing the construction sector's energy consumption and analyzing its influencing factors are helpful for promoting energy saving and emission reduction in construction. This paper quantified the Chinese construction sector's energy consumption using an input-output life-cycle assessment model, and conducted a sensitivity analysis for energy consumption with respect to the changes in linkages between sectors, sector energy intensity and scale of construction. Technical responsibility coefficients and structural responsibility coefficients were defined to examine the related responsibility of given sectors on reducing the construction sector's energy consumption. The results showed that the Chinese construction sector's energy consumption in 2010 was 1.07×109 tons standard coal. The smelting and pressing of ferrous metals sector (0.4898) had the highest technical responsibility, followed by the manufacture of non-metallic mineral products (0.4798). Except construction, the sectors of manufacture of non-metallic mineral products (0.2764) and smelting and pressing of ferrous metals (0.2460) shared the top structural responsibilities. The energy consumption was most sensitive to the change of energy intensity of the smelting and pressing of ferrous metals sector (0.4898) and the manufacture of non-metallic mineral products (0.4798). Suggestions to promote energy saving in energy-intensive material production, to strengthen the scientific management of construction activities, to promote the application of high performance and low embodied energy materials, to improve the level of infrastructure construction and to deepen the housing market reform are proposed to reduce the construction sector's energy consumption. ©, 2015, Editorial department of Molecular Catalysis. All right reserved.