The effect of data age on the assessment of a building’s embodied energy

  • YEAR
    Crawford, Robert
    Stephan, Andre
    2020 Conference Papers
    Carbon Reduction in Built Environments
    Conference Papers


Data used to quantify the embodied energy of a building, known as life cycle inventory (LCI) data, varies widely in temporal relevance. The energy associated with construction material production and building construction changes regularly due to improvements in manufacturing and construction processes, and energy mix and intensity. Older LCI data may not be representative of the current industry. Due to the time and costs involved in compiling LCIs, many studies rely on outdated data, yet no studies have considered the effect of data age on the analysis of a building’s embodied energy. A reliable embodied energy value is critical to ensure energy reduction efforts have been effective. This study compares the life cycle embodied energy of a typical Australian house using data from a 2010 and 2019 LCI database, compiled using an identical technique. The 2019 data lead to a 27.7% decrease in life cycle embodied energy. This reveals that the age of data may have a considerable effect on the value of a building’s embodied energy, indicating that LCI data should be regularly updated to respond to changes in manufacturing and construction processes as well as energy mix and intensity.

Keywords: Embodied energy; Life cycle assessment; Life cycle inventory; Buildings; Data age.


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