Materials for Sustainable Building

S. Mumme
U.S. Department of Energy,
United States

Keywords: sustainable, building materials


Buildings account for 40 percent of the total primary energy consumed in the U.S. This energy is spent to maintain a comfortable indoor environment; however, due to inefficiencies in the building envelope, much of this energy is actually being spent directly fighting the outdoor conditions. Despite this, the construction and building science industries have only been making incremental changes to the materials used in building envelopes for decades. Progress in materials science, chemistry, and engineering may lead to dramatic breakthroughs in managing thermal energy and moisture transport in buildings that could significantly reduce the energy required to heat and cool a building and improve occupant comfort.