Google X

18Oct13

Google technology could halve construction costs

Google X is engaged in the development of secret innovative projects that are not core to the company’s business, such as the driverless car and augmented reality glasses. Google X is the company’s main initiative to diversify its sources of income.

A wasteful industry

The construction industry accounts for 10% of global GDP. It is the largest consumer of global resources and raw materials – 50% – and global energy supplies – 48%. It also creates the largest amount of global solid waste – 40% – and is responsible for 50% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the world’s most wasteful industry and the main contributor to the deterioration of the global environment.

The global construction market is estimated at $5 trillion a year, including $1 trillion in the US, and it is growing rapidly. The world’s urban population now tops 3.5 billion, a third of whom live in city slums.

With the rapid growth in global urbanization, the world’s urban population is projected to double over the next 40 years. Under conditions of business as usual, traditional methods of construction, two-thirds of the world’s urban population will live in slums from Rio de Janeiro, through Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Mumbai, to Beijing. It will therefore be necessary to double the world’s housing inventory by 2050.

In contrast to the growth in productivity and production capacity in every other industry, the construction industry is not keeping pace, and its output is actually falling, reflected in the widening gap between supply and demand.

 

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