Does embodied energy really matter in green building?

1 of 15
1 of 15

This is a series where I take my lectures presented as adjunct professor teaching sustainable design at Ryerson University School of Interior Design in Toronto, and distill them down to a sort of Pecha Kucha slide show.

What do we mean by embodied energy in buildings? One Australian definition:

Embodied energy is the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with the production of a building, from the mining and processing of natural resources to manufacturing, transport and product delivery. Embodied energy does not include the operation and disposal of the building material, which would be considered in a life cycle approach. Embodied energy is the ‘upstream’ or ‘front-end’ component of the life cycle impact of a home.

It is the energy consumed (and the consequent carbon dioxide produced) in the making of your building up front. But it is only a portion of the energy consumed in the full life cycle of a home or building.