Date of Graduation

Fall 12-16-2022

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Amalia Kokkinaki


The building and construction industry is energy intensive and as of 2021, this industry is responsible for 37% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions. In previous studies of conventional buildings, the operational energy of a building contributed to 80% and the embodied energy contributed to 20% of the total life cycle energy. With increase in policies and standards that focus on reducing the operational energy, low energy and certified green buildings have emerged where the operational energy has considerably reduced. The relative and absolute share of embodied energy in these energy efficient buildings have increased due to excessive use of materials and systems to reduce the operational energy. To meet the World Green Building council’s target of zero carbon in buildings by 2040, it is imperative to reduce embodied energy in buildings. This paper conducts a systematic literature review to understand and attribute the increase in embodied energy in green buildings in the United States of America. Green technologies like geothermal well and photovoltaic systems contribute to the increase in embodied energy in addition to structural and architectural assemblies. A review of the favorable and potential low carbon materials for enforcement in building industry has been conducted to identify the alternatives for carbon intensive construction materials. Finally, the study also evaluates the uncertainties prevailing in the process of Life Cycle Assessment and recommends standardization of LCA process to quantify and benchmark embodied energy in buildings.