Embodied Energy is all the energy that is consumed to create a product. This includes material harvesting or extraction, manufacturing and all transportation during manufacturing and to the end user.
The embodied energy in a building product often is not reflected in its price. For example a steel structural beam could cost less than a wooden one of the same bearing capacity. The wooden one, however, would have significantly less embodied energy. As well using wood in buildings creates a carbon sink for the life of the wooden element.
Building with wood from sustainable forests is one of the most responsible ways to build homes. We need to work toward creating more building products with wood and other natural materials that use small amounts of energy in the manufacturing process.
One example is producing wood fibre insulation – which is very popular in Europe. Local resources should be used for energy reduction first and not energy production – whenever possible.