AllFinanceInvestingLivingLocal InsightsNews

Urban mining: Utilising urban centres as a source of raw materials

Share article

Between resource scarcity and housing shortage

The term urban mining refers to the process of recovering raw materials through the reprocessing of existing materials and utilising them in new ways. In this regard, urban space can be used as a rich storehouse for raw materials. This concept creates unimagined opportunities, especially in the construction industry. Which has been particularly hard hit by the scarcity of raw materials, while at the same time the demand for housing continues to rise. Therefore, materials can be extracted from vacant buildings and land and used for the construction of new properties. The advantages of this method are clear: short travel distances, fewer emissions, lower costs and thus an improved environmental balance. Naturally limited resources are also conserved, because the focus is on the reuse of secondary raw materials. The question "how much electricity does mining consume?" is also a factor that offers significant savings potential, as energy consumption is much lower than in conventional construction material extraction.

Upcycling: Real estate as a reserve of raw materials?

Urban mining, also known as raw material recovery, focuses on the extraction of materials such as wood, glass, concrete, sand, and metal, all of which are scarce commodities. All these substances are usually present in large quantities in the urban building structure. In many industries, the amount of waste has decreased in recent years due to an increasing focus on recycling. However, this does not yet apply to the construction industry, which makes the potential for urban mining particularly high. A prerequisite for implementing successful solutions is the development of comprehensive recycling concepts and a focus on deconstruction-friendly construction. For this purpose, it is useful to document the materials used in detail in order to obtain an overview of the available capacities of raw materials. Policymakers must also create appropriate framework conditions for this, for example by promoting recyclable building materials.

In times of rising raw material prices, urban mining is considered by experts to be particularly cost-saving

Urban Mining in Berlin: Huthmacher-Haus

The Huthmacher-Haus in Berlin, a commercial high-rise directly at Hardenbergplatz that was built in the 1950s, is considered a pilot project for urban mining. An ambitious partial refurbishment concept was developed for this purpose, which aims to work as resource-efficiently and sustainably as possible. Therefore, the inventory with all materials used is fully recorded, so that an overview is available of the raw materials that are available for the partial refurbishment. The procedure is considered advisable for all corresponding projects, as it becomes directly apparent which materials can be integrated into the cycle and which are polluted and thus must be disposed of properly. The use of secondary resources enables C02 savings and contributes to achieving climate goals. The renovation plans include a renewal of the fire security system, technical equipment and a better floor plan. The plan is to set up modern, high-quality office space inside. The existing restaurant on the ground floor will remain and continue to operate during the renovation work.

Frequently asked questions

Written by:

Stefanie Aust, Guest Writer

Stefanie loves to put complex topics from the real estate world into understandable and inspiring words. Whether it's about the right financing, choosing the right type of flat, or a successful property search: Stefanie is happy to inform you.

Looking to buy an apartment in Germany? Let's get in touch.
  • 35 years of market expertise
  • Experts for property valuation
  • Financing: 300+ partner banks
Nathalie Kirchner
Your personal real estate consultant
+ _ _
Information about our privacy policy.
Immowelt-Partner EVERESTATE GmbH

Your privacy is important to us

Cookies are used on our website. Some of these cookies are necessary for the basic functioning of the website and therefore cannot be deactivated (“Necessary cookies”). In addition, we use statistical and marketing cookies to help us provide you with a better experience by improving the website based on statistical analysis and to display advertisements according to your interests. These cookies are only used if you give your consent.
You can learn more about the individual cookies under Manage preferences and in our Privacy Policy.