Research Area:
Resource Efficiency of Settlement Structures


Energy and material flows from production to the consumption site of secondary raw materials in the building sector

The recycling of construction waste is an important stepping-stone towards the achievement of resource conservation and the reduction of environmental impacts through construction. Within the federal programme ProgRess II, it was decided to add an energetic perspective to the use of natural material resources in order to develop synergies as well as to reveal likely conflicts in aims. This also applies to the consideration of secondary raw materials. However, it has not yet been clarified how to implement such an combined analysis.

Photo: IOER-Media
Collage with three photos

Therefore, the aim of the research project is to develop an orientation framework that integrates the mass and energy approaches to recycling in the construction industry in order to proactively avoid conflicts in the management of recycled materials. In so doing, differences specific to building product groups are presented, also taking into account the quality of the site where they are consumed. The following questions are answered:

  • What is the energy expenditure associated with the collection, sorting and processing of demolition materials from building construction?
  • How can the substitution potential and resource conservation through secondary raw materials be differentiated according to location and type of "final" use?
  • What is a suitable basis for comparing the various options for the use of recycling materials?

The research focus is on the following topics 

  1. The study and synoptic presentation of the energy consumption required to produce secondary raw materials for ten product groups;
  2. Modelling the integration of the mass approach to estimating resource conservation potential through high-quality recycling with an approach that captures the energy costs and substitution potentials;
  3. Together with representatives of trade associations for building products, the development of an orientation approach based on surveys to evaluate recycling measures in the construction sector; and
  4. An evaluation of the use of secondary raw materials from the perspective of mass and energy consumption (classification of the quality of recycling).

The research project has been awarded a grant from the BBSR (SWD- and is carried out in cooperation with INTECUS GmbH.




Dipl. Ing. (Arch)
Karin Gruhler

Phone +49 0351 4679 250
(Projectmanagement, modelling of the mass and energy approach)


Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (BBSR)


Dipl.-Ing. J. Reichenbach, INTECUS GmbH (Dekompositionsverfahren, Sekundärrohstoffgewinnung)