Does embodied energy really matter in green building?

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embodied Straube
credit: Why Energy Matters

Some people think that we make much to big a deal of it. Engineer John Straube, in his article Why Energy Matters from 2009 and reprinted here, says that we spend far too much time worrying about embodied energy and should concentrate on operating energy.

Scientific life-cycle energy analyses have repeatedly found that the energy used in the operation and maintenance of buildings dwarf the so-called “embodied” energy of the materials. Cole and Kernan (1996) and Reepe and Blanchard (1998) for example found that the energy of operation was between 83 to 94% of the 50-year life cycle energy use.

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