Abstract Worldwide buildings consume annually about 30–40% of primary energy in construction, operation and maintenance. An enormous part of this energy is consumed in construction activities alone. Nearly two million residential buildings for economic weaker section alone, are required to be built annually in India, apart from offices, commercial, public and industrial buildings. Use of low embodied energy and cost effective building materials, in the building construction, can significantly reduce the overall energy consumption and thus eventually minimize energy footprint of buildings. In this paper, the embodied energy and construction cost have been estimated for the residential houses (up to four storied) of a chosen typology. The calculation has been done for total 122 nos of houses, having plinth area varying between 20m2 and 60m2. The embodied energy and construction cost have been compared and analyzed for various building materials (i.e. burnt clay bricks, hollow cement concrete blocks, aerated autoclaved blocks, fly ash lime gypsum blocks, solid cement concrete blocks etc.). It is estimated, that the embodied energy (EBE) is least (2.092GJ/m2) for two storied houses, constructed with hollow cement concrete block based masonry, however cost of building materials is found to be lowest (US$ 62/m2) for four storied houses constructed with AAC block based masonry.