Embodied energy is the amount of energy used to construct a building, or other product, in terms of extraction of materials, manufacture, transport, and assembly on site. Embodied energy also includes appropriate proportions of the energy consumed in manufacturing the machinery and vehicles involved in these processes together with the construction and maintenance of the associated buildings and roads. A full audit of the embodied energy of any item can be very complex and there are diminishing returns with respect to the accuracy of the calculation the further removed the analysis becomes from the item under consideration.
Successive improvements in the construction of modern buildings through higher standards of insulation and more efficient and better controlled systems have reduced energy consumption during the useful life of a building. These developments have increased the significance of the energy and other resources consumed in the construction of the building. Hence, embodied energy has become a central concept in sustainability and green building.