The construction sector is a major consumer of the world's natural resources and a potential polluter of the environment. With rapid urbanization and population growth, developing countries are bound to use more energy-intensive materials such as cement, steel, glass, etc. than they were using two or three decades ago. The manufacture of such basic building materials generates emissions of greenhouse gases such as oxides of sulphur, nitrogen and carbon. Similarly, due to the expansion of the construction sector in many countries, tropical hardwood, metallic and non-metallic minerals and non-renewable energy resources are used extensively, all of which are indications of certain threats to the environment. A particular one, which destroys both atmospheric ozone and causes climate change is use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the production of insulation materials and in air-conditioning.
Fragile eco-zones in many countries are being destabilized because of construction activities. This is associated with floods, land and mud slides and desertification of marginal lands.
According to the World Resources Institute, roughly half the world's coastal areas are threatened by activities in which construction plays a major role. The problem is compounded by the use of inappropriate and unsustainable designs and building materials. Removal of coral and shells for the production of lime and for use as aggregate results in coastal erosion and dredging also degrades the the marine environment.