Comparative Embodied Energy Analysis of a Steel and Concrete Structural System in Ireland

Adolf Acquaye, Dublin Institute of Technology
Aidan Duffy, Dublin Institute of Technology
Biswajit Basu, Trinity College Dublin

Document Type Conference Paper

Proceedings of SECOTOX Conference and the International Conference on Environmental Management, Engineering, Planning and Economics. Skiathos, June 24-28. 2007.


Engineering building design focuses on optimising operational energy use and ignores the energy required to procure and construct a building. This energy, termed ‘embodied energy’, can be very significant when compared to operational energy. Therefore, it is important to minimise the embodied in buildings; this must be done at the design stage. This paper presents a comparative embodied energy analysis of two structural design solutions for a modern office building: one in concrete and one in steel. Process analysis is used to determine production, transport and construction energy requirements for all system components. Results indicate that the steel solution has more than two and a half times as much embodied energy as the concrete solution.