Embodied energy of buildings: A review of data, methods, challenges, and research trends

Rahman Azari, Narjes Abbasabadi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


With the world's uncertain energy outlook, buildings should be designed and constructed to use lesser fossil fuel-based energy and have lower environmental impacts. In the past decades, the research and practice have successfully focused on reducing the operational energy use. As a result, the share of embodied energy, the other energy component, has increased in the life cycle energy use of buildings. The present article provides an overview of literature on embodied energy use in buildings in several directions. It reports on key estimation methodologies and tools for embodied energy and presents the embodied energy values for different types of buildings, as studied by the extant literature. It also examines embodied energy in relation to operational energy and highlights the recent shifts in share and significance of embodied energy in the building life cycle energy use. The article also presents a review of the embodied energy of tall buildings and explores the relation between embodied energy and building height. Finally, major strategies to reduce embodied energy, and research gaps and trends in the field are covered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-235
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy and Buildings
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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