topics

ENERGY

Table of embodied energy or primary energy of materials

Enrique Azpilicueta

This includes the energy consumed by the extraction of the raw materials, manufacture, transformation, associated transportation, installation, maintenance and disposal.

It does not include the energy used in the construction and maintenance of infrastructures, the specific means to build the infrastructures and the human energy of the labor.

+ info »

 

Embodied

energy

MJ/Kg

 

Density

Kg/m³

 

Specific heat

J/kg/ºC

Thermal

conductivity

W/mºC

Thermal

diffusivity

m²/s

Thermal

effusivity

s½ W/m² ºC

  • REFERENCE MATERIALS

    Water

    Air

    0.00

    0.00

    1000

    1217

    4.187

    1.005

    0.588

    0.026

    0.14

    24.75

    1570

    5

  • STONE

    Granite-compact stone

    Porous stone

    Sand

    Gravel

    3.58

    1.64

    0.10

    0.10

    2500-3000

    1700-2500

    1500

    1700

    809

    885

    805

    800

    3500

    2000

    0.580

    0.810

    1.55

    1.65

    0.38

    1.20

    2721

    1842

    952

    2145

  • WOOD AND WOOD DERIVATIVES

    Wood from temperate climates

    Tropical wood

    Laminated wood

    Wood, formaldehyde-free paryicle board

    Wood, particle board containing formaldehyde

    Wood, plywood

    Woos strand board

    Paper

    3.00

    3.00

    7.69

    14.00

    14.00

    5.00

    8.86

    929

    600

    800

    465

    650

    650

    600

    650

    1897

    2400

    2900

    2200

    2800

    2800

    2400

    1700

    0.140

    0.140

    0.210

    0.120

    0.080

    0.080

    0.140

    0.080

     

    0.17

    0.15

    0.16

    0.15

    0.15

    0.14

    0.07

     

    267

    443

    382

    463

    463

    378

    299

     

  • MATERIALS WITH MINERAL BINDERS

    Cement

    Mortar M-40/a

    Mortar M-80/a

    Lime and bastards mortars

    Concrete H-150

    Concrete H-175

    Concrete H-200

    Reinforced concrete 2% steel quantity

    Lightweight concrete  600 Kg/m3

    Porous concrete  400 Kg/m3

    Expanded perlite

    Fibre cement (with asbestos)

    Fibre cement (with synthetic and wood fibres)

    Wood fibre concrete

    Plaster panels

    Plaster

    Gypsum board

    7.00

    1.00

    1.34

    1.78

    0.99

    1.03

    1.10

    1.64

    1.31

    3.71

    8.00

    6.00

    9.00

    450

    3.12

    3.30

    3.15

    1800

    2000

    2000

    1600

    2400

    2400

    2400

    2500

    600

    400

    130

    757

    470

    1800

    800

    800

    900

    801

    850

    850

    1100

    658

    658

    658

    661

    658

    610

    850

    1054

    750

    0.080

    906

    906

    906

    1.200

    1.400

    1.400

    0.870

    1.400

    1.400

    1.400

    1.410

    0.150

    0.110

    0.047

    0.300

    0.090

    0.18

    0.300

    0.300

    0.180

    0.45

    0.64

    0.64

    0.49

    0.64

    0.64

    0.64

    0.64

    0.57

    0.30

    1.20

    0.49

    0.30

    232

    0.38

    0.38

    0.19

    1335

    1755

    1755

    1237

    2036

    2036

    2036

    2036

    452

    166

    62

    1029

    850

     

    490

    490

    412

  • CERAMICS

    Fired clay, brick and tiles

    Fired clay, vitrified ceramic materials

    Expanded clay

    Porcelain. Bathroom fixtures

    Hollow brick masonry

    Perforated brick masonry

    Solid brick masonry

    4.50

    10.00

    6.00

    27.50

    2.96

    2.85

    2.86

    2243

    2400

    350

    2200

    1200

    1600

    1800

    927

    1050

    927

    1096

    927

    927

    927

    0.930

    1.050

    0.085-0.114

    1.040

    0.490

    0.760

    0.870

    0.62

    0.75

    0.24

    0.61

    0.49

    0.57

    0.58

    1326

    1871

    172

    1330

    7

    1011

    1147

  • GLASS

    Flat glass

    19.00

    2500

    843

    0.950

    0.46

    1703

  • METALS

    Commercial steel (20% recycled)

    100% recycled steel (theoretical)

    Stainless steel

    Primary aluminium

    100% recycled aluminium (teorethical)

    Commercial aluminium (30% recycled)

    Primary copper

    Commercial copper (20% recycled)

    Titanium 6% Al, 4% V

    35.00

    17.00

    54.00

    215.00

    23.00

    160.00

    90.00

    70.00

    45.00

    7861

    7861

    7916

    2750

    2750

    2750

    8900

    8900

    4456

    502

    502

    460

    1005

    1005

    1005

    419

    419

     

    58.000

    58.000

    17.000

    204.000

    204.000

    204.000

    384.000

    384.000

     

    16.42

    16.42

    4.68

    84.89

    84.89

    84.89

    113.54

    113.54

     

    14314

    14314

    7860

    22141

    22141

    22141

    36037

    36037

     

  • ASPHALT

    Asphalt sheet

    10.00

    1.041

    1686

    120000

    0.17

    519

  • INSULATION

    Expanded polystyrene (EPS)

    Extruded polystyrene (XPS) blowing agent HCFC

    Extruded polystyrene (XPS) blowing agent CO2

    Polyurethane (PUR) blw. ag. HCFC or dichloromethane

    Polyurethane (PUR) blw. ag.  CO2 or similar

    Phenolic foam

    Cellular glass

    Fibre glass

    Minerl wool

    100.00

    100.00

    100.00

    70.00

    70.00

    65.00

    20.00

    20.00

    13.00

    18

    33

    33

    32-80

    32-80

    12

    160

    19

    30-150

    1349

    1349

    1349

    1400

    1400

    525

    843

    843

    1054

    0.035

    0.033

    0.033

    0.025

    0.025

    0.025

    0.044

    0.044-0.036

    0.042-0.047

    1.28

    0.55

    0.55

    0.29-0.41

    0.29-0.41

    0.47

    0.28

    1.81

    1.03-0.24

    33

    38

    38

    52-36

    52-36

    34

    84

    30

    37-80

  • SYNTHETIC MATERIALS

    Acrylics

    Melamine

    Methacrylate

    EPDM

    Styrene-butadiene

    Primary polyethylene (PE)

    Recycled polyethylene (PE) more than 70%

    Primary polypropylene (PP)

    Recycled polypropylene (PP) more than 70%

    Plastic paint (water based) complies with code

    Plastic paint (water based)

    Synth. paints and varnishes (enamels) org. solvents CN

    Synth. paints and varnishes (enamels) org. solvents

    Polychloroprene (neoprene)

    Primary PVC

    Recycled PVC  (more than 70%)

    PTFE (Teflon)

    Plastic (ABS)

    Polycarbonate

    Epoxy resin

    Polyester resin

    Silicone

    105.00

    125.00

    87.00

    76.00

    102.00

    77.00

    0.09

    80.00

    24.00

    20.00

    20.00

    100.00

    100.00

    120.00

    80.00

    2.10

    295.00

    74.00

    85.00

    137.00

    115.00

    91.00

     1140

    1490

    1180

    1124

    1150

    80-960

    80-960

    890

    890

    1035

    1035

    1261

    1261

    929

    1200

    1200

    2100

    1150

    1200

    1200

    1170

    1249

    1000

    1686

    0.185

    1100

    2140

    2276

    2276

    1939

    1939

    2152

    2152

    2428

    2428

    1686

    1265

    1265

    1180

    1475

    1265

    800

    850

    1897

    0.200

    0.433

     

    0.130

    0.210

    0.038

    0.038

    0.248

    0.248

    0.180

    0.180

    0.280

    0.280

    0.144

    0.121-0.173

    0.121-0.173

    0.242

    0.190

    0.198

    0.230

    0.200

    0.216

    0.19

    0.12

     

    0.13

    0.09

    0.23

    0.23

    0.40

    0.40

    0.14

    0.14

    0.12

    0.12

    0.09

    0.12

    0.12

     

     

     

    0.24

    0.23

     

    418

    735

     

    361

    781

    840

    840

    810

    810

    1570

    1570

    1350

    1350

    781

    410

    410

     

     

     

    470

    450

     

The energy embodied in a building can be estimated by calculating the weight of the materials required by the project with a quantity surveying and cost estimating program with a pre-dimensioning function, like Presto.  This function provides information prior to the definitive quantity survey about material weights and quantities for different hypothetical structural and building envelope solutions for the same building geometry, by simply answering a series of questions about basic geometries and materials.  The transformation into embodied energy is made by multiplying the weight of each material by the values indicated in the table below.  The calculation I am describing is merely orientative and is suggested as an aid for making big design decisions concerning materials and construction systems. With this system it is possible to make calculations that allow us to evaluate –according to the primary energy consumed– whether a lightweight building constructed with recycled steel and aluminium and with very good thermal insulation is energetically more efficient than another building with the same area and geometry, but built with conventional materials such as brick (few kilograms of a material with medium or high embodied energy as opposed to many kilograms of a material with low or very low embodied energy).  For the easiest and most rigorous estimate of embodied energy in construction, the architect Susana Saiz recommends the computer programs Simapro and Gabi (Europe) and Athena (North America). The interest in these programs lies in their good databases and the tools that allow for a much more detailed breakdown of the different stages that each material passes through before arriving at a specific construction site.  In any case, it is important to know that the primary energy consumed in construction represents between 10% and 30% of the energy required for its functioning during the life-cycle of the building.  This data should be interpreted carefully.  If our building is very inefficient and consumes lots of energy for functioning, the percentage of embodied energy relative to total energy (embodied + building use) will be very low; which doesn’t mean much, since the total energy is very high.  It would therefore seem more useful to compare different materials, construction and structural systems.   Much of the additional information in this table –density or specific weight, specific heat and conductivity– needs no further explanation.  Thermal diffusivity and effusivity provide useful information for evaluating the velocity of energy interchange and accumulation capacity, key data for taking meaningful advantage of thermal mass.

Diffusivity. Measures the velocity with which a material is heated or cooled.  Materials with high diffusivity heat and cool rapidly, while materials with low diffusivity heat and cool slowly.  If we compare air and water we see that air has high diffusivity and water low diffusivity.

Effusivity. Measures the capacity of a material to store energy.  Materials with high effusivity have high accumulation capacity, while materials with low effusivity have little accumulation capacity.  Again, if we compare air and water we see that the values are opposite the previous ones.  If we compare water and metals we will see that the effusivity of metals is much greater.  However, this information must be interpreted carefully, since metal can be heated without melting to temperatures much higher than water –which evaporates at 100 °C– and therefore accumulates much more energy.  But we should only consider a temperature range with a maximum of 80 °C in our calculations.