Here we have a kilogram to kilogram comparison of embodied energy and carbon dioxide emissions during the production of some common items and building materials. (The values for gasoline are not embodied energy/CO2 emissions of production, but energy and emissions produced by burning 1 kg of gas.)
Here we move on more specifically to building materials and put them in more recognizable building units. For comparison, the energy and CO2 emitted in the production of the average American’s weekly food consumption and the energy and CO2 emitted by burning 1 gal of gas are provided.
Next, we compare wall-building materials. Here we see some growing trade-offs in embodied energy and CO2 emissions, although distinct advantages can be seen in some building materials over others. (CO2 emissions for Adobe unavailable.)
Finally, some insulating materials (adjusted to different thicknesses to achieve an R value of 10). Here there are clear winners among the alternative insulating materials. (Also notice the CO2 emissions differences between HFC-foamed and CO2-foamed polystyrene.)
- Christopher L. Weber* and H. Scott Matthews. “Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States.” Environ. Sci. Technol., 2008, 42 (10), pp 3508–3513.