The Embedded Energy Calculator
The Embedded Energy Calculator is a tool developed by NYDesigns and partners to allow designers to measure the energy impact of their products and services, based on the measurement of embodied energy in materials.
Embedded energy, also known as embodied energy, is an assessment of the energy used to create a finished product. Embedded energy encompasses the sum total of energy used to extract or mine raw materials, manufacture the raw materials into a product, and transport that product to market.
Embedded energy is a powerful estimate. Its widespread awareness among the professionals responsible for our material culture can help reduce wasteful energy expenditures on a far-reaching scale.
With funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), NYDesigns and partners More Than Us and Chambers Design Inc. developed the Embedded Energy Calculator, a free online tool for designers of all disciplines to measure the energy impact of their products.
The Embedded Energy Calculator has two components: (1) a back-end database of researched materials and (2) a front-end interactive user platform that calculates embedded energy values for a project or a work-in-progress – for example, a chair – by breaking it down into its component materials and their corresponding energy values. The online database currently houses the energy values of 108 commonly used materials and their real-world equivalents – e.g., carbon dioxide emissions, light bulbs, cars on the road.
If made visible and accessible, this information can empower and motivate designers of all disciplines to make informed and responsible decisions in their day-to-day material selections.