Housing and environment: In brief

Living, working and recreational activities place demands on settlement areas. These areas are constantly expanding and affect the environment. Construction activity and settlement structure affect mobility and raw material requirements. The latter is gaining in importance in relation to building use, whose life cycle assessment continues to improve thanks to new and adapted standards. The demand for living and working space is based, among other things, on forms of cohabitation, lifestyles and changing ideals.

Housing is after nutrition and before mobility one of the areas of consumption and production with the greatest effects on the environment.

Therefore, environmental policy needs to address these areas. Housing, as nutrition and mobility, can only be understood as system with complex interactions between numerous supply and demand factors. The environmental impacts of these systems are the result of the combined effect of:

  • values and models
  • behaviour and lifestyles
  • social and temporal structures
  • research, education, knowledge
  • markets and financial systems
  • technologies, products, services
  • political instruments and institutions
  • infrastructures. 

Interaction between supply and demand

Housing (including the construction trade, energy and water consumption, as well as waste and wastewater disposal) contributes 24% to Switzerland’'s environmental impact. On the one hand, it is steered by demand factors such as incomes or family situations and, on the other hand, by supply factors such as the real estate market and settlement structure.

Introduction of socio-economic systems (PDF, 73 kB, 30.11.2018)Chapter A3, Report Environmet Switzerland 2018

Housing (PDF, 1 MB, 30.11.2018)Chapter A3, Report Environmet Switzerland 2018

Further information

Last modification 30.11.2018

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