A low energy building in a life cycle—its embodied energy, energy need for operation and recycling potential

Catarina Thormark
Building and Environment, Volume 37, Issue 4, April 2002


Total energy use during the life cycle of a building is a growing research field. The embodied energy makes up a considerable part of the total energy use in low energy buildings. Recycling provides the opportunity to reduce the embodied energy by using recycled materials and reusable/recyclable materials/components. This paper presents values on embodied energy, energy needed for operation and the recycling potential of the most energy efficient apartment housing in Sweden (View the MathML source). In a life span of 50 years, embodied energy accounted for 45% of the total energy need. The recycling potential was between 35% and 40% of the embodied energy.

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