Embodied Energy

Also called “emergy,” embodied energy is defined as the available energy that is used in the work of making a product. It has also been said to be an accounting methodology that aims to find the sum total of the energy necessary for an entire product life cycle. This life cycle encompasses raw material extraction, transport, manufacture, assembly, installation, disassembly, deconstruction, and/or decomposition.

The associated environmental implications of embodied energy such as resource depletion, the production of greenhouse gases, maintenance of biodiversity, and environmental degradation are embedded in the measurement of embodied energy. The energy is expressed in units of megajoules (MJ) or gigajoules (GJ) per unit of weight (kilogram or tonne) or area (square meter).

Embodied energy plays a large role in the choice of any ...

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