Relative importance of embodied energy?
I read this case study by David Fridley of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory:
Then I remembered one of Martin’s blog entries:
The case study indicates that when evaluated on a annual basis, the embodied energy of a residential building is roughly equal to the energy consumed for its operation. The case study assumes a 30 year life-span for these buildings which is average in China.
Many of the comments made in Martin’s blog suggest a view that operational energy consumption over the life of the building is a more critical consideration.
1. If embodied energy is roughly equivalent or even somewhat less than total life-cycle operational energy consumption, shouldn’t material selection, building practices and location receive just as much attention as designing for efficiency?
2. Is there any standard approach for including embodied energy into a net energy use model?
Interestingly, the results of this case study suggest that embodied energy forms a much larger piece of the energy use pie than operational energy consumption when taking a wider view of urban living. Particularly interesting is the ratio of embodied energy tied to human consumption to the embodied energy tied to residential buildings… Food for thought for those who don’t believe that humans are the elephant in the room.