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Building materials emit greenhouse gases primarily as a result of the thermal energy consumed during their production.


The vast majority of cement and steel production now occurs in the developing world, with more than half of these basic building blocks produced and used in China. The production of bricks using 19th century technology is abundant throughout the developing world, where the release of particulate matter as a result of the brick making process is a major source of environmental degradation and disease.

Efficiency measures for the industrial processes associated with creating building materials have the potential to greatly reduce emissions and also to save producers money. However, upfront costs for upgrading plants are often an impediment, and changes in these mature industries is often met with resistance by entrenched stakeholders.


There are a range of solutions for reducing the carbon intensity and environmental hazards of producing building materials, while also greatly reducing the costs of production through efficiencies in energy and fuel use. Alternative building materials, many of which have the potential to be carbon negative, can lock greenhouse gas emissions in solid form through their production.

Help us continue our research and identify opportunities; download our cement report and join our Building Materials LinkedIn group to engage with our community.

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Carbon War Room in association with Elsevier Biofuel TechSelect Go to the Carbon War Room website