Embodied energy refers to the energy consumed in providing materials for building construction. It includes the extraction and processing of raw materials, along with manufacturing, transport and product delivery processes.
The embodied energy of a building can be lowered by using locally available, natural materials that are both durable and recyclable, with a design that incorporates components that are easy to recover and reuse, within a structure that is easy to dissemble and dismantle.
Timber can create buildings with low embodied energy. It is often locally available and it is natural, durable and recyclable. Its versatility and light weight means it can be designed to be easy to disassemble, recover, reuse and/or recycle.
Recent research by the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting compared the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated by the manufacture of timber products, with the amount of emissions generated by other common building materials. The results showed that by substituting timber in the construction of a typical family home, greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to up to 25 tons of CO2 could be saved.