Embodied energy of construction materials: integrating human and capital energy into an IO-based hybrid model. Academic Article uri icon


  • Buildings alone consume approximately 40% of the annual global energy and contribute indirectly to the increasing concentration of atmospheric carbon. The total life cycle energy use of a building is composed of embodied and operating energy. Embodied energy includes all energy required to manufacture and transport building materials, and construct, maintain, and demolish a building. For a systemic energy and carbon assessment of buildings, it is critical to use a whole life cycle approach, which takes into account the embodied as well as operating energy. Whereas the calculation of a building's operating energy is straightforward, there is a lack of a complete embodied energy calculation method. Although an input-output-based (IO-based) hybrid method could provide a complete and consistent embodied energy calculation, there are unresolved issues, such as an overdependence on price data and exclusion of the energy of human labor and capital inputs. This paper proposes a method for calculating and integrating the energy of labor and capital input into an IO-based hybrid method. The results demonstrate that the IO-based hybrid method can provide relatively complete results. Also, to avoid errors, the total amount of human and capital energy should not be excluded from the calculation.

published proceedings

  • Environ Sci Technol

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 47

complete list of authors

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

publication date

  • February 2015