Today’s society is very focused on sustainable living and improving energy efficiency. Green construction is taking over and has been increasing in interest over the past few years or so. Zero energy buildings are one of the options that developers and builders are considering more than ever now. These zero energy building are designed to produce their own renewable energy on site. Let’s get down to how zero energy buildings work.
Reduce The Energy Load Of The Building
The first part of the development process is mostly focused on reducing the overall energy load of the building as much as possible. This might include using a better form of commercial insulation, design the building with thermal transference in mind, and using led lighting coupled with solar cooling and heating technologies. New technologies and materials help improve energy efficiency and provide large amounts of energy savings.
For example: Replacing your current air conditioner with a green friendly air conditioning unit can help you save tons on your electricity bill.
Energy Efficient Appliances
After an energy efficient structure is created, that doesn’t automatically mean the building will be zero energy. Mechanical systems and appliances must be taken into account. The builder wants to make sure that these parts of the building are low energy as well. For example, energy efficient HVAC, lighting, and plumbing systems will need to be energy efficient as well. Builders are starting to create designs that harnesses air source heat pumps during the summer, and geothermal heating in the winter.
Also, using high gauge wiring helps reduce transmission losses. Elevators are another source of big energy usage. Having building occupants change their behavior might be a necessary step to make your building zero efficient. For example, maybe you build an arboretum or greenhouse for them to pass through instead of having an elevator or encourage employees to work only during the day time to save energy use during the night time.
Add Solar, Wind Turbines, Or Hydroelectric Power
Though designers may be able to get your building almost 0 energy efficient, there will always be a need for more power. Zero energy buildings are fully achieved by adding a renewable energy creator to their building. Zero energy buildings are fully achieved once adding hydroelectric power, solar panels, or wind turbines that create energy. Zero energy buildings won’t require as much energy to be created as an older building will. Older constructed buildings weren’t created with energy efficiency in mind and will have outdated insulation, air conditioning units and more that make it more of an energy sucker.
When planning for usage of electricity, you should also incorporate energy usage of internal machinery such as telephones, computers, and other office machinery. If your office machinery sucks a luck of electricity, it might be time to upgrade to energy efficient machinery. The builder will usually construct a list of your most used items, which items need the most electricity and which would be worth upgrading.
Net Zero Energy Buildings vs Zero Energy Buildings
Just because your building is zero efficiency doesn’t mean the bill will balance perfectly every month. There will be months where the energy fluctuates. For example, you will use more air conditioning in July so you might need to use some electricity from the grid, although, the extra power generated during December offsets the difference. So, overall the average consumption rate with neutralize for the year. In this case you building would actually be considered net zero. Meaning, you take energy for part of the year but give excess energy back.
Complex designs are needed when thinking of constructing zero energy buildings. However, the energy and money savings are worth the trouble. If you are considering constructing a 0 energy building and need building materials, contact A&A Materials Inc today at (480) 990-0557.