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News I published 06 June 2024 I Dirk Hoogenboom

Trends in construction material usage

With the help of the European Green Deal, the European construction industry in general aims to reduce 55% of the greenhouse gasses emissions by 2030 and become completely neutral by 2050.

Architects can have a direct impact and contribute to this goal by choosing and specifying more sustainable and circular materials in their projects. This is why every two years we conduct a survey about trends in material usage in the European architectural barometer.

 

 

Architects specify fewer different materials

There is one clear trend visible amongst architects in the key 7 European countries the European architectural barometer covers; Architects expect to use a lower variety of different materials. This  trend has already been visible since 2020 and continued in 2022 and now in 2024.

Sustainable materials are being prescribed more often

Even though the variety of materials that are architects expect to use is decreasing, some materials are expected to be used much more often. It might not come as a surprise that these are mostly the more ‘sustainable’ materials like wood based solutions and insulation made from natural materials. Also solutions like water and energy saving bathroom fittings, air-condition and screens and shutters are expected to be used more often in the upcoming 5 years.

Country differences  are visible

As mentioned, in all of the 7 countries included in this research, the general trend of using less types of materials and more sustainable ones are visible. However, there are some country differences. For example, when it comes to the building envelope, timber sheets are expected to be used much more in all countries except for Spain and Italy. Masonry bricks are expected to decrease in all countries except for the UK.

If we look at insulation, it’s clear that in most countries PUR/PIR and Polystyrene foams are showing a negative trend when it comes to it’s usage in the upcoming five years.  However, in France architects foresee a slightly higher usage of PUR/PIR and in Italy architects state that the usage of Polystyrene foams will stay flat.

Other material groups

In the full report a wide variety of materials are measured, to many to discuss all of them in detail. The product groups that are represented in the report are: Building envelope, Façade materials, Metals, Pitched roofs, Flat roofs, Insulation materials, Bathrooms, Flooring, Installation & climate control, Control and smart home solutions and Finishing materials and products. Within these product groups, many different materials are presented.

Conclusion

Even tough the sense of urgency for improvements of the sustainability level of buildings and houses in Europe dropped some what after peaking in 2022-2023 (look for example at the adoption rate for heat pumps), we expect that architects will continue to focus on prescribing more sustainable materials and as a consequence a smaller variety of different types of materials. Especially materials that utilize fossil fuel (i.e Oil) as it’s major component are under the highest pressure.

In the full report, Q1 2024 European architectural barometer on trends in material usage, you can find all of the mentioned products groups and it’s associated materials for 7 key European countries (Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK and Germany). Also, in this report we present our future building volumes predictions for 2024 and 2025. The full report cost 1,850 Euro.

For more information on the report, feel free to contact us.

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