Banner
     
 

BLOG

Net-Zero Buildings

Monday, April 23, 2012

Simply put, a Net Zero Energy building must have a significantly reduced need for energy, and have the capacity to make up for the balance of it by using renewable technology, such as PV (solar) panels, wind, hydroelectricity or bio fuels. Yet, when defining a building that requires zero energy – or “net zero” the Department of Energy explains a “net zero energy” building is determined by the project’s goals, and can fall into any or all of the four categories below:

  1. Net Zero Site Energy – The building produces as much energy on site as it uses within a year.
  2. Net Zero Source Energy – The building produces as much energy from a source as it uses within a year.  A source refers to primary energy used to generate and deliver energy to the site.
  3. Net Zero Energy Costs – The utility company pays the building owner for the energy the building exports to the grid, which is equal to the amount the owner pays the utility company for the energy services during the year.
  4. Net Zero Emissions – The building produces as much emissions-free renewable energy as it uses from an emissions-producing energy source.

The design process is usually where reduction of the building’s energy consumption begins.  Designers take advantage of sunlight, solar heat and the cool temperatures of the earth, and combine them to calculate a method of indoor lighting and stabilizing indoor temperatures. Computer software can help determine how a building will perform using those natural energy resources in relation to the building’s orientation, window and door placement, local climate and more, which can help with cost benefit analysis, financial implications on the building and life cycle assessment.

 

Solar-powered ranger home at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument - the first net-zero home in the National Park Service. (Photo courtesy of DJC Oregon)

Once the building has been designed, construction specifications include energy-saving features to enhance the building’s efficiency.  Things like added insulation, high-efficiency windows, natural ventilation, skylights and/or solar tubes and solar water heating all depend on climate zones, but can be very effective at reducing a building’s energy intake.

After the building is complete, energy must be harvested. If a building is connected to the grid, extra energy produced by the building may be returned to the grid when it’s not needed, and drawn from the grid when there’s not enough being produced. The building’s primary function – whether it’s a home or business - also impacts how energy is used.

Electricity consumption in the commercial building sector is expected to increase 50% by 2025, and will continue to increase until buildings are designed to offset their energy demand. The U.S. Department of Energy recognizes this, and has established a goal to “create the technology and knowledge base for cost-effective zero-energy commercial buildings by 2025.”

Comments
Post has no comments.
Post a Comment




Captcha Image

Trackback Link
http://www.bbtarchitects.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=10583&PostID=491895&A=Trackback
Trackbacks
Post has no trackbacks.

Recent Posts


Tags

Bend Park & Recreation McKay Park Cascade Lakes Welcome Station Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort Oregon Trunk Railroad Hugh A. Thompson Cascade Lakes Highway Non-Destructive Testing Robberson Ford White water park Bend Amateur Athletic Club technology City of Bend Bend Oregon college campus Technology Education physically active Xerces Society Sustainable City Initiative Father Luke Sheehan Amity Creek School Sustainability Education higher education Green Technology design-related study Lee A. Thomas Serendipity West Foundation U.S. Forest Service real estate bubble Irish Capuchin BBT Architects GreenBiz Group Miller's Landing Park Simpson Pavilion Don Stevens, AIA Central Oregon Community Colleg COCC National Register of Historic Places Ochoco Mountains McMenamins St. Charles Bend Tower Remodel Boys and Girls Club Redmond Airport Summit High School Accelerate Bend Bend Breweries Deschutes River public transportation Historic Renovation Becca's Closet four-year university Colorado Dam Safe Passage Project Madras High School Athletic Complex St. Francis School Deschutes Brewery Bend Brewfest Madras High School Performing Arts Center Bend City Council Department of Energy Bend School Board COCC Manufacturing & Applied Technology Center central Oregon high school education Central Oregon Community College Habitat for Humanity learning studios virtual environments Humane Society of Central Oregon Bend Middle School Redmond High School environmental engineering Fermentation tanks Jefferson County School District architecture Buckingham Elementary School Colorado Avenue Bridge safety AIA Oregon flipping classrooms Legos Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence Development college town Bend 2030 R & H Construction Net Zero Energy Old Mill District Open Compute Project LEED healthy communities Bend Chamber of Commerce Kirby Nagelhout Construction Company Architecture Foundation of Oregon The American College Town Warm Springs Academy Bend La Pine School District John Day Fossil Beds National Monument OSU-Cascades Dominic O'Connor Les Schwab Amphitheater BBT scholarship Ponderosa Elementary School Bend High School Earth Advantage late Beaux Arts central oregon Facebook Prineville data Center Serendipity West fresh food Oregon State University Challenge Day Ridgeview High School Madras Oregon opportunity Architects in Schools Dull Olson Weekes Architects Oregon State Bee Keepers Association Construction County Cork, Ireland City Club of Central Oregon St. Charles Health System Newberry Habitat for Humanity

Archive

 
Home | Projects | About | News | Contact | Blog
© 2011 BBT Architects, Inc. All Rights Reserved.