Can zero-energy buildings become the norm?
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 – 1:00am
The energy landscape in the U.S. has been shifting towards cleaner energy sources, which is indicative of societal mindfulness of the need for sustainable development that ensures maintenance of a healthy environment for generations to come.
Despite this shift, we face domestic and international energy challenges that must be addressed in order to successfully mitigate climate change impacts as well as to ensure economic and national security. …
With buildings accounting for nearly 40 percent of the nation’s energy consumption, they serve as a substantial part of our energy challenge, as well as a potential solution — and a key sector on the path to a zero-energy society.
The basics – a zero-energy building
First, what exactly is zero energy? As defined by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a zero-energy building is an energy-efficient building where, on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the onsite renewable exported energy.
According to the 2016 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) Survey published by Johnson Controls, 85 percent of respondents across regions surveyed indicated that their organizations are paying considerably more attention to energy efficiency with 72 percent planning to increase investments in this capacity and in renewable energy.
Often what project teams fail to realize when incorporating energy efficient technology and strategies into building schematics is that they are already on the cusp of developing a zero-energy building.
A building stock capable of generating enough power with renewable energy coupled with energy-efficient technology to avoid as much energy waste as possible represents an opportunity to create a resilient society. It would be able to reallocate money from energy savings to other necessary infrastructure improvements.