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Embodied Energy in Building Structures BEAM PLUS EU3 Embodied Energy

John Herbert, hong kong energy saving expert, BEAM expert
John Herbert

The embodied energy (EE) concept is straightforward, it describes the use of energy for all the processes including mining, crushing, processing, assembling, manufacturing, packaging and transporting materials to the job site.

When materials arrive on site, the energy has already consumed, we call it embodied energy because it is a burden that is tied with the material forever, forget cradle to grave, its forever.

The BEAMPLUS New Building, credit EU3, encourages an embodied energy assessment at the concept stage, to give vital knowledge to designers before key decisions are made.

Under credit EU3, if two or more options are examined, and the option having the lowest embodied energy is choosen, an extra bonus point can be earned.

BEAM PLUS EU 3 embodied energy reports

Providing embodied energy data to the designer at an early stage, hoping that information will inform and influence the choice of materials BEFORE commencing the design. Calculating the embodied energy of a completed building is a valueless mathematical exercise, the key decisions have already been made years.

A modest proposal, EMSD has published embodied energy data set (in the LCCA tool) for most construction materials, using that data, embodied energy can be easily assessed for every building project, and publication of that data for example embodied energy per sqm would better inform our decision making processes.

Like it or not, sustainability and energy are two sides of the same coin. To understand and apply sustainability principals requires an in depth knowledge of energy.

Construction and Demolition Waste

In the building sector, after the useful life of the building tpyically its demolished and the waste shipped to a landfill site. Critically, that waste also includes the embodied energy (the energy used in its production), the embodied energy it not lost, it doesn't disappear, its tied with those material forever.

Now considering that certain materials, such as ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, and glass and the like are reversible, and can be continously recycled to produce new material.

BEAM PLUS EU 3 embodied energy reports

Take glass as an example, glass requires recycled glass, known as cullet, to be used in the production process for new glass.

The new glass includes the embodied energy from its production AND the embodied energy tied to the recycled glass. Therefore, actual embodied energy is the sum of the energy used in the recycled glass production, and the energy used for the new glass production.

Practically, determining the embodied energy in a new material is difficult enough, without considering the embodied energy embedded from the use of recycled materials which in all likelyhood will contain some recycled material.

BEAM PLUS EU 3 embodied energy reports

With the subject matter expertise, to order an embodied energy report for your project call us today!

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tags: embodied energy, embodied carbon, BEAM PLUS EU3
#embodiedenergy, #EU3, #BEAMPLUS

date: 02-03-21