What Are Zero Energy Buildings?
In the search for possible solutions to the serious problems of pollution and climate change on the planet, the idea of zero energy buildings was born .
This concept refers to the construction of buildings that have the capacity to cover all their energy needs by themselves. That is, buildings designed and built with ecological materials, renewable sources and a series of technologies that allow them to have a high level of energy efficiency, where their energy balance is equal to zero.
To be considered within this group, a building must have zero net energy consumption and carbon emissions per year. For this, it uses systems that generate electricity through renewable sources. This means that the energy provided by the building itself must be equal to the energy demanded by it.
Zero energy buildings are also known as ultra low energy buildings, as opposed to those that produce excess energy called energy plus buildings.
The world trends in construction in recent years have opted for this modality, and many regulations and certifications point to the so-called “bio-construction”, generating a greater incidence of this type of urban planning for the future. Zero energy buildings have become the ideal design for constructions with low environmental impact .
Although its development is considered feasible for different countries of the world, the cost of this type of buildings is high and has slowed its development in the market.
Technology in favor of the environment.
Some of the techniques used in a zero energy building are based on heat (such as bioconduction and solar thermal collectors, water walls, harnessing people’s heat…), the installation of solar cells or fuel cells to generate electricity and the fluctuation of demand through the connection to a network and two-way meters, which export electricity during the day and import it at night.
For the construction of these works, in addition to architects, a multidisciplinary team made up of environmental engineers, physicists, industrial designers, among other professionals, who must evaluate various variables before beginning, is required. Among these aspects to consider are the orientation of the building with respect to the sun, thermal insulation, the location of windows, the depth of glass and walls, all based on the climatic behavior of the locality where it is going to be built.
Although zero energy buildings are still in their infancy in the most developed countries, they are becoming increasingly popular and relevant in the world’s cities. In Europe there are examples of this type of construction in communities in England and Germany, or even entire cities built under these technologies in China and Japan.
The goal of making the construction of zero energy buildings much more massive seeks to generate solutions to the serious environmental problems facing our planet, helping to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and supporting the use of renewable sources of electrical energy, improving the quality of life for future generations.