“Net-zero,” or carbon neutrality, is the act of negating, or canceling, the greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. You can do this by reducing emissions and using methods to absorb carbon dioxide from the air. While net-zero buildings are only a tiny fraction of all new construction projects, architects have developed the technology, tools, and knowledge necessary to design a net-zero building.
If you want your new building to be a Net Zero, you need to design it so that energy consumption is minimal. The best way to do this is to ensure that the energy intensity of the building is low, expressed in Energy Usage Intensity (EUI). It is best to target this number early on in the design phase.
Passive design strategies minimize energy demand and maximize natural light and ventilation. By utilizing natural conditions, the passive design maximizes the building envelope’s thermal mass, thereby minimizing the energy used by the HVAC system.
Onsite renewable energy
A good net-zero energy building design focuses on reducing the energy demand of the building and minimizing its emissions. While many factors play a role in achieving net zero energy, the design should also incorporate a strong thermal envelope. This envelope will prevent unwanted heat transfer, and keep the interior comfortable for occupants while minimizing the amount of energy lost through air leaks.
The NREL building’s design combines solar energy with energy efficiency and water conservation. It includes a 2.5-megawatt rooftop photovoltaic system and transpired solar collectors. Additionally, it has water conservation measures, including low-flow toilets and dual-flush water closets. The roof drainage system provides irrigation for the garden. These elements result in a building that is highly efficient and environmentally friendly.
Storage of the energy
One of the critical features of a net-zero energy building is energy storage. Typically, zero-energy buildings utilize the electrical grid to store energy, but some also incorporate onsite storage. These buildings are also known as energy-plus buildings or low-energy houses because they produce their power using renewable technologies and minimize their energy usage with high-efficiency lighting and HVAC technologies.
As the costs of fossil fuels increase and alternative energy technologies become more cost-effective, net-zero home design is becoming practical. In the United States, the Department of Energy aims to achieve market-ready zero-energy homes by 2020 and commercial buildings by 2025. California has also set deadlines for net-zero homes and commercial buildings, and many other countries have developed their own goals.
Energy storage is a great way to increase self-consumption and maximize renewable energy. It also provides a monetary benefit for building owners. By leveraging changes in energy prices, they can earn money by purchasing power when it is affordable and selling it back to the grid when demand increases.
Super-insulation is one of the most cost-effective strategies for net-zero construction. Architecture firms and building designers can use energy modeling to optimize insulation levels, and can also use a framing strategy to minimize thermal bridging. Another key energy expense in zero-energy construction is hot water heating. Designers should choose and locate efficient hot water heating technologies to minimize hot water use.
The best insulation resists heat flow and can be measured in R-values. Different materials have different R-values per inch of thickness. Insulation can be increased by adding more layers, but the impact diminishes as more material is added. Hence, determining an optimal level of insulation is an essential part of net-zero building design.
To know more about net-zero building designs, visit Hutter Architects. They offer world-class architectural services for small, remodeled, and residential projects. They also work to meet the standard of services required by the clients. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org more information.