The relationship between operational energy demand and embodied energy in Dutch residential buildings

A. Koezjakov, D. Urge-Vorsatz, W. Crijns-Graus*, M. van den Broek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Reducing heat demand of buildings, due to legal and technological advances in the EU, shifts the ratio of operational vs. embodied energy towards an increasing share of the latter. This leads to a shifting focus on building materials (embodied) energy use. In this study the relationship between heat demand and embodied energy use was investigated, using Dutch residential buildings as a case study. The analysis was performed using the 3SCEP HEB (Center for Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Policy High Efficiency Buildings) model and a constructed Embodied Energy Database Management System (EEDMS), containing embodied energy use of materials most common in Dutch residential construction. The resulting embodied energy use in Dutch dwelling archetypes varies from 52 to 106 MJ/(m²·a), annualised over building lifetimes and 3.0 to 6.4 GJ/m2 in total. These values are for the building construction and exclude recurrent embodied energy and technical installations. For operational energy use the range is 124 to 682 MJ/(m2·a). A total energy use reduction of 36% can be reached in 2050 through 46% reduction in operational energy use and 35% increase in embodied energy use, compared to 2015. This research confirms that the relative importance of embodied energy use is increasing: the embodied energy use in standard homes is about 10–12% of the total energy use, while it is 36–46% in energy efficient homes. Particularly in light of the goal to reach a maximum global temperature increase of well below 2 °C by 2100, it is important to include embodied energy use in future policy objectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-245
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2018


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