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close this bookJournal of the Network of African Countries on Local Building Materials and Technologies - Volume 3, Number 4 (HABITAT, 1995, 46 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe aim of the network and its journal
View the documentForeword
View the documentEnergy efficiency in the production of building materials*
View the documentEnergy conservation for cost reduction in Indian cement industry - NCB's initiatives*
View the documentEnergy efficient method of portland slag cement grinding**
View the documentPlant audit and energy management***
View the documentEvents
View the documentPublications review


Economic development and human settlements development, consist largely of harnessing increasing amounts of energy for productive purposes in general, and shelter construction in particular. This can occur either by increasing the amount of energy resources - if availability of such resources is unrestricted - or by making more efficient use of available energy resources.

In the building-materials sector, energy is consumed mainly for extracting raw materials, manufacturing of finished products and in transportating building materials to the site. The relative amount of energy used in each of these areas vary depending on local conditions. However, the highest energy consumption occurs in the production process of building materials.

The building-materials industries as a whole, rely to a large extent on high temperature processes and are among the most energy-intensive industries. For example, the cost of energy in the production of cement or clay bricks/tiles accounts for 50 to 70 per cent of the direct cost of manufacturing. It is, therefore, important that the use of energy in the production process is optimized so that the overall cost of housing construction is reduced and the polluting impact of the excessive use of fossil fuel is arrested.

Various studies have revealed that many building-materials industries, particularly in developing countries, use outdated technologies which are inefficient in terms of use of energy. Eventhough the task of reducing use of energy, while maintaining high quality and quantity of outputs, is rather difficult, measures could be taken to monitor and optimize the use of energy in the production processes. Ultimately, the most promising approach would be to increase the use of low energy-content materials and apply energy-efficient and low-polluting technologies in the construction. It is in light of this situation that the Habitat Agenda adopted by the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) has emphasized the need for Governments and stakeholders "to encourage and promote the application of low energy, environmentally-sound and safe manufacturing technologies in the building materials and construction sector".

This issue of the Journal is devoted to energy efficiency in the production of building materials. It is hoped that the readers will find the contents of this issue interesting and useful to their work. The contribution of Mr. Baris Der-Petrossian of UNCHS (Habitat)'s Research and Development Division in drafting, compiling and editing the articles included in this Journal is thankfully acknowledged.

Dr. Wally N'Dow
Assistant Secretary-General
UNCHS (Habitat)

Mud-straw building blocks are both low-cost and low-energy building materials, courtesy Sean Sprague/Earth Scan