The construction and operation of buildings consumes over a third of the world’s energy consumption, and 40% of all the mined resources.
"In more practical terms, this means that a sustainable building cannot, in construction, operation, or disposal:
-consume materials unless they can be easily and harmlessly extracted, used, and returned to nature,
-consume non-renewable energy,
-destroy natural habitat, bio-diversity, or bio-mass, or
-release pollutants of a type or quantity that cannot be harmlessly broken down by natural systems.
These are very difficult criteria to meet, and in fact require all aspects of human activity to be changed to meet them. For example, until steel is recycled in a non-polluting manner using renewable energy sources, no steel of any type (including nails or screws) can be included in a truly sustainable building. Clearly we are very far from producing even a single truly sustainable building in the industrialized world. However, to move toward these goals is both possible and practical."