A so called Zero Energy Building (ZEH) combines state-of-the-art, energy-efficient construction and appliances with commercially available renewable energy systems, such as solar water heating, solar electricity, etc. The combination results in a building that produces as much energy as it uses on an annual basis.
Zero Energy Buildings optimize and include the following design features:
Passive solar heating and cooling
Energy-efficient constructions and building products/materials
Energy-efficient appliances and lighting
Renewable energy technologies (e.g. solar water heating, solar electric systems, etc.)
These buildings have a number of advantages:
Improved comfort: an energy-efficient building envelope reduces temperature fluctuations
Reliability: Zero Energy Building can be designed to continue functioning even during blackouts
Energy security: a building that produces energy protects its owner from fluctuations in energy prices
Environmental sustainability: a Zero Energy Building saves energy and reduces pollution
The way towards zero energy buildings…
From the materials produced to construct buildings and the energy used to operate them, buildings consume vast amounts of resources. Buildings consume 72% of electricity, 40% of all energy, and are responsible for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
High-performance buildings, which address human, environmental, economic and total societal impact, are result of the application of highest level design, construction, operation and maintenance principles—a paradigm change for the built environment.
Buildings – commercial and residential – thus offer the greatest single scope for energy savings through efficiency. Zero energy buildings are combining intelligent design concepts with state-of-the-art, energy-efficient constructions and innovative building products including clean renewable energy systems such as solar water heating, solar electricity, etc.