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Embodied energy and the present value of carbon: Time for lifecycle thinking

Ross Copland

Embodied energy is the energy required to make a processing, energy production, transportation and product manufacture are material intensive creatures. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development reports that buildings consume a whopping 32% of all resources, 40% of all energy and are responsible for 40% of global landfill waste. The energy embodied in these consumed and dumped building materials represents a significant mass of emitted carbon equivalent greenhouse gasses. New Zealand’s recently announced greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 10-20% below 1990 levels by 2020 will require a major effort by the building industry given the significant and growing energy demands of the sector.

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