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Primary Energy


The total amount of primary energy, from all sources, that enters the product's life-cycle. Primary energy can be renewable and non-renewable. This distinction is relevant to understanding total environmental and health impacts of a product or process, particularly with regard to embodied carbon and carbon emissions. It also pertains to resource depletion concerns.


Unit of measure for primary energy: megajoules (MJ)



1. Energy for extraction of raw material.


2. Energy for transportation.


3. Energy for manufacturing.


4. Energy for installation.


5. Energy for operations/maintenance.


6. Energy for disposal or recycling.


What Can I Do On My Project?


Request Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) from product vendors and manufacturers, to identify the associated impacts.


Select products with lower primary energy use.
A product with less megajoules of energy will have a lower embodied energy.


Select products with recycled content.
A product made with recycled content doesn’t use primary energy for raw material extraction and therefore has a lower embodied energy.

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