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Let’s Talk About the Challenges of Net-Zero Buildings

With all the talk about sustainability, it is not surprising that there is a move towards net-zero buildings. Energy use in buildings, after all, is a large contributor to society’s collective carbon footprint. If all the buildings today were redesigned to use zero energy (or only renewable energy) and all new construction was built to the net-zero standard, the carbon footprint in the world would significantly be reduced.

Is the World Ready for Zero Energy Buildings?

The question is, can every building get to that net-zero energy point? Is it really possible? Let’s weigh in on some of the crucial aspects of joining the net-zero energy building movement:

The Economic Side of Things

The use of on-site renewable energy is possible with many available renewable energy technologies today. However, these technologies aren’t that affordable, especially for current buildings that require retrofitting. The net-zero building movement still calls for more economical design and construction.

The Challenge to Balance Loads

Managing the energy use of a building requires a proper link between power generation and building loads. Since net-zero buildings generate their own energy, they deal with the challenge of balancing the electric supply and demand. Running such buildings may mean difficulty in dealing with peak load times.

The Need for Holistic Approach

solar-panels-on-buildingBe it in construction or retrofitting phase, a net-zero building must first achieve significant load reductions and system optimization, and then meet remaining load requirement with on-site generation. That’s why a holistic approach to building design, construction, and operation is crucial.

If you’re planning to achieve a net-zero building, your intention must be evident in the design and construction phase, as well as operation plans. For instance, when designing net-zero buildings, you should take advantage of thermal energy and retain it in the building in the most efficient way. That detail must be considered during the construction phase when selecting and using materials that can capture daylight and solar energy to power the building effectively. And during energy management, here the stored thermal energy should help ease the required balancing of energy loads across the entire building.

With a holistic approach, you prevent major deviations between modeled and actual energy performance. This also prevents inefficiencies that may defeat the purpose of having a net-zero building.

Buildings are responsible for over 40 percent of global energy used and as much as thirty percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Interestingly, the building sector has equally large potential to reduce GHG emissions and carbon footprint compared to other major industries. It can harness the power of the net-zero building concept to hugely contribute to the green movement to save the world.

What You Can Do Now

Of course, it may be a long journey before every building in the world turns net-zero. For now, you can begin making your building greener with simple, actionable initiatives, such as replacing old equipment with new, more efficient alternatives. You can also save energy by keeping your electrical system running optimally through maintenance service contracts with your trusted building electricians.

Contact ProCircuit today to learn more about achieving a well-maintained commercial electrical system.

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