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Analysis and comparison of embodied energies in gross exports of the construction sector by means of their value-added origins

journal contribution
posted on 2020-01-15, 00:00 authored by B Liu, Lei ZHANG, J Sun, D Wang, Chunlu LiuChunlu Liu, Mark LutherMark Luther, Y Xu
Energy is a vital necessity in driving the development of the global economy, national industries, and even services for people. The construction sector consumes a high proportion of energy and this requires improvement for its sustainable development. Due to the growth of multilateral trade, the energy flows embodied in the global trade network have become more complex, and the energy embodied in the exports of vertical specialisation trade has increased rapidly in satisfying domestic final energy consumption. This paper traces the original creation of the value added in the national construction sectors in the global value chain based on their energy consumption in the production of gross exports. The gross exports are broken down into domestic and foreign value-added exports, and the energies embodied in these two types of exports are analysed and compared. The exports of foreign value added is mainly indicated by the exports of vertical specialisation trade. Net outflows in domestic value-added exports and net outflows in exports of vertical specialisation trade are then used in measurement of sectoral position in the global value chain. The results show that the overall trend of domestic value-added exports continues to increase in the construction sectors of the majority of countries. Russia, China, and the USA performed significantly in relation to the quantity of energy embodied in domestic value-added exports. Moreover, the effect of technology needs to be considered in the production of exports for vertical specialisation trade. The distribution of the net outflow is similar to the performance of the energy embodied in domestic content in the construction sector. The net inflow of embodied energy was positive in all countries, which indicates that the energy embodied in exports of vertical specialisation trade was mainly derived from the support of the international market. Only one country had a lower net outflow of embodied energy than in gross exports. For policymakers, a policy guiding the exports of the construction sector needs to be considered in relation to the origins of the value added. The export structure in the construction sector is encouraged to move toward technology-intensive, instead of labour-intensive products in order to enhance sustainable energy development.






Article number



1 - 13




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal