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Direct and indirect energy use and carbon emissions in the production phase of buildings: An input–output analysis


  • Nässén, Jonas
  • Holmberg, John
  • Wadeskog, Anders
  • Nyman, Madeleine


There is a considerable disagreement in the literature on the magnitude of primary energy use and CO2 emissions linked to the production of buildings. In this paper we assess the Swedish building sector using top-down input–output analysis. These top-down results are then disaggregated into sectors and activities, which are compared to results from 18 previous bottom-up studies using process-LCA methodology. The analysis shows almost 90% higher specific energy use (GJ/m2) for the top-down methodology. The differences are only around 20% for the share coupled to production and processing of building materials, while for other involved sectors such as transport, construction activities, production of machines and service sectors, the input–output analysis gives much higher values. Some of these differences can be explained by truncation errors due to the definition of system boundaries in the bottom-up studies. The apparent underestimation of energy use for transport, services etc. in bottom-up studies is only of marginal importance when comparing for example materials choices, but when comparing the production phase to the use phase of buildings such errors are likely to result in an underestimation of the relative importance of the production phase since the use phase is dominated by more easily estimated direct energy use.

Suggested Citation

  • Nässén, Jonas & Holmberg, John & Wadeskog, Anders & Nyman, Madeleine, 2007. "Direct and indirect energy use and carbon emissions in the production phase of buildings: An input–output analysis," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1593-1602.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:energy:v:32:y:2007:i:9:p:1593-1602
    DOI: 10.1016/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Graham Treloar, 1997. "Extracting Embodied Energy Paths from Input-Output Tables: Towards an Input-Output-based Hybrid Energy Analysis Method," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(4), pages 375-391.
    2. Graham J. Treloar & Peter E.D. Love & Gary D. Holt, 2001. "Using national input/output data for embodied energy analysis of individual residential buildings," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 49-61, January.
    3. Borjesson, Pal & Gustavsson, Leif, 2000. "Greenhouse gas balances in building construction: wood versus concrete from life-cycle and forest land-use perspectives," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 575-588, July.
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    Input–output analysis; Buildings; Primary energy; CO2;

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