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Embedded energy, also known as embodied energy, is defined as the Energy that was used in the work of making a product. Embodied energy is attempts to measure the total of all the energy necessary for an entire product Lifecycle. This lifecycle includes raw material extraction, transport, manufacture, assembly, installation, disassembly, deconstruction and/or decomposition.
Different methodologies produce different understandings of the scale and scope of application and the type of energy embodied. Some methodologies are interested in accounting for the energy embodied in terms of oil that support economic processes.
The UK Code for Sustainable Homes and USA LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design are standards in which the embodied energy of a product or material is rated, along with other factors, to assess a building's Environmental impact. Embodied energy is a new concept for which scientists have not yet agreed absolute universal values because there are many variables to take into account, but most agree that products can be compared to each other to see which has more and which has less embodied energy. Comparative lists (for an example, see the Bath University Embodied Energy & Carbon Material Inventory below) contain average absolute values, and explain the factors which have been taken into account when compiling the lists.
Typical embodied energy units used are MJ/kg (megaJoules of energy needed to make a kilogram of product), tCO2 (tonnes of Carbon dioxide created by the energy needed to make a kilogram of product). Converting MJ to tCO2 is not straightforward because different types of energy (oil, wind, solar, nuclear and so on) emit different amounts of carbon dioxide, so the actual amount of carbon dioxide emitted when a product is made will be dependent on the type of energy used in the manufacturing process. For example, the Australian Government gives a global average of 0.098 tCO2 = 1 GJ. This is the same as 1 MJ = 0.098 kgCO2 = 98 gCO2 or 1 kgCO2 = 10.204 MJ.
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Embedded Carbon & Energy
Here is a link to one of the most complete to date documents on the embedded energy and carbon in materials, Inventory of (Embodied) Carbon & Energy (ICE).
- Advances in free geographic mapping services can help reduce embodied energy of transportation in two ways. First. to choose a route that uses the least fuel and maintains vehicle velocities at their individual maximum fuel efficiency. Secondly, overlays can be used of determining: (i) raw material and products availability as a function of location, and (ii) modes of transportation as a function of emissions. These overlays enable manufacturers access to an easily navigable method to optimize the life cycle of their products by minimizing embodied energy of transportation. Pearce, J.M., Johnson, S.J., & Grant, G.B., 2007. “3D-Mapping Optimization of Embodied Energy of Transportation”, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 51 pp. 435–453. 
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