Need for an embodied energy measurement protocol for buildings: A review paper Academic Article uri icon


  • Buildings consume a vast amount of energy during the life cycle stages of construction, use and demolition. Total life cycle energy use in a building consists of two components: embodied and operational energy. Embodied energy is expended in the processes of building material production, on-site delivery, construction, maintenance, renovation and final demolition. Operational energy is consumed in operating the buildings. Studies have revealed the growing significance of embodied energy inherent in buildings and have demonstrated its relationship to carbon emissions. Current interpretations of embodied energy are quite unclear and vary greatly, and embodied energy databases suffer from the problems of variation and incomparability. Parameters differ and cause significant variation in reported embodied energy figures. Studies either followed the international Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) standards or did not mention compliance with any standard. Literature states that the current LCA standards fail to provide complete guidance and do not address some important issues. It also recommends developing a set of standards to streamline the embodied energy calculation process. This paper discusses parameters causing problems in embodied energy data and identifies unresolved issues in current LCA standards. We also recommend an approach to derive guidelines that could be developed into a globally accepted protocol. 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All right reserved.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Dixit, M. K., Fernandez-Solis, J. L., Lavy, S., & Culp, C. H.

citation count

  • 299

complete list of authors

  • Dixit, Manish K||Fernandez-Solis, Jose L||Lavy, Sarel||Culp, Charles H

publication date

  • January 2012