Embodied Energy

Embodied Energy Conservation

What is "Embodied Energy"?

The conservation of embodied energy is a major focus of modern ecological conservation efforts. Far from a concern relegated only to Rochester, it is something receiving world wide attention.  Embodied energy is a concept that helps us understand the environmental impact of nearly anything, from cars to buildings, bricks, shoes, food, and literally anything else.

The concept behind embodied energy conservation is a simple one.  Everything we create, no matter how large or small, will require the consumption of certain resources.  In many cases, the consumption of these resources also creates a negative result in the form of pollution.  To put it simply, everything we create requires the consumption of energy which often leads to pollution.

The embodied energy of any given item is the amount of energy needed to create it, ship it, and install it.  The embodied energy of a brick, for example, includes the energy needed to make that brick, truck it out to a job site, and then have it installed.  This is the energy cost of an item from start to finish.

Imagine, for example, quarrying a block of Medina sandstone, shipping it from Medina to Rochester, then having it installed here in Rochester.  The embodied energy cost of this material includes all of the quarrying, shipping, installation, and the fuel and energy used to achieve this.

Embodied Energy Conservation

Embodied energy conservation seeks to evaluate and understand the true, complete cost of any item.  The goal is to find ways to reduce the overall cost of any item in terms of energy and environmental impact.  In other words, companies use the concept of embodied energy to understand the amount of energy and resources required by the items they produce.

A car company, for example, can use this concept to first understand the ecological impact of each car they create.  Using this information, they can then find ways to reduce this cost and consumption.  One solution might be to ship larger quantities at a single time or to use more recycled materials.  Another might be to power part of their factory with solar panels.

Remember our example of quarrying Medina Sandstone and installing it in Rochester?  One perfect way of reducing the embodied energy costs inherent in this example would be to use salvaged stone.  Since it was already quarried and shipped to Rochester, using that salvaged stone in Rochester negates these energy costs and their environmental impact.

No matter what product a company may create, the goal of embodied energy conservation is to make that product friendlier to the planet.

How does salvage stone help?

The quickest answer to this question is that salvaged stone is a recycled material.  While that may be obvious, however, consider the embodied energy cost found in quarried stone.

Our Medina Sandstone was quarried around the turn of the century.  It took a significant amount of energy to pull these stones from the Earth and ship them to their locations.  This was energy that was already expelled, which can’t be put back.

They are no longer quarrying Medina Sandstone but, if they were, energy would need to be expelled for each stone that was pulled out, cut, shipped, and installed.  With the concept of embodied energy in mind, however, it’s pretty easy to see how using stone that has already been quarried would reduce the need to expend the energy required to quarry new stone.

Using recycled materials such as this is a wonderful, simple, and very cost effective way to reduce the amount of embodied energy required by your construction projects.  This reduction in effort also happens to create a reduction in material cost as half of the work has already been done.

Environmental conservation efforts are extremely popular in Rochester, as well as the rest of the world.  Construction companies are accepting the responsibility they feel towards the planet and our future generations.  Our salvaged stone allows you to continue reducing your environmental impact while still using beautiful, durable, and historic materials.

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