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Embodied energy use in the global construction industry



Building-related energy problems place considerable challenges in securing environmental sustainability. Accelerating globalization further exacerbate regional inequities hidden behind the global supply chains. Therefore, the energy use of construction industry embodied in interregional trade needs to be revealed considering the regional disparities. China, as the largest developing country, suffers from massive spending on infrastructure construction. Therefore, investigating the interactions between China's construction industry and the rest of the world is imperative. Previous researches fail to provide a holistic view of energy interactions induced by the global construction industry. This study details the global supply chain of the construction industry by merging 31 Chinese regions into the complex global trading network, which is beneficial for making fair energy reduction strategies. Results show that both embodied energy use and direct energy use exhibit a strong positive linear correlation with GDP. Interregional trade increases the inequality of energy use in the global construction industry, in which 81.67% of the regions possess an energy inequality indicator of the construction industry over 0.80, thus proving that the construction industry consumes a large amount of nonlocal energy. There is no significant relationship between the embodied intensity and GDP, whereas a weak linear correlation exists between intensity and embodied energy use. In China, Shanxi, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia represent a high intensity. There is a weak positive correlation between urbanization rate and embodied energy values. The findings of this research are critical in understanding the connections between province-level construction activities and the global trading network, which is beneficial for customizing and prioritizing policy recommendations for sustainable development of the global construction industry.