Net Zero – What Is It, and How to Achieve It?
Zero net energy is the concept where the total amount of energy used in a building on an annual basis is equal to the total amount of renewable energy created by the building. A zero net energy building is also called as a zero-energy building (ZE). Making the world net-zero is not just sustainable, it is morally correct. This concept contributes highly to net zero carbon buildings with a negligible carbon footprint. The main source of a ZEB is solar energy.
In many cases, these buildings reduce the overall greenhouse gas let out into the atmosphere. At times, non-renewable resources of energy are used to give a push to the ZEB, but at the same time, this is balanced out by reducing the energy consumption at some other place.
Evolution of Net-Energy Building
The concept of sustainable development came up when humans all across the world realised the harm they are causing to the environment. Similarly, the concept of zero-net-energy buildings came up roughly thirty years ago when academic research was progressing but was implement practically only in the early 2000s. This concept solely focuses on renewable sources of energy and promotion of the same.
Traditional houses consume about 40% of the total non-renewable sources of energy. At the same time, there is a huge population of people who are living without electricity. To bridge this gap, zero net energy buildings came into existence. These buildings came into existence to reduce the environmental impact humans were having over the environment.
Benefits of Net-Zero Energy
- Lower cost structure: since the energy used is equivalent to the energy created, the energy bill is negligible.
- Prevents climate change: with the rise in technology, the environment is getting harmed. When one lives in a net-zero building, they tend to combat the climate change situation as the whole building is built in a sustainable way.
- It does not lead to overspending: it is often found out that the power bill of every household is humongous. The major advantage which comes with a net-zero energy house is that you consume what you produce, nothing more than that. This results in controlling the expenses and overspending are prevented.
- Tax provisions: if you tend to save the environment and act in a responsible way, the government rewards you. If you choose to live in a net-zero energy home, the government provides various tax incentives for the great choice you have gone for.
How does a net-zero energy building work?
The design and the structure of the building determine its cost. A successful project usually combines passive solar principles with the on-site assets available. 3D computer simulation tools are used to predict how the building will perform in the future before the actual execution of the plan to prevent any losses.
These buildings are connected to the main electricity grid. When there is a surplus of the energy, they export the energy to the grid and when there is a shortage, they import the same. Technology is being developed to use the ZEB in a more exemplary way without the grid system.
There are a few certifications that ensure that a building is on net zero. A few of them are:
- Earth Advantage Zero Energy Certification
- International Living Future Institute Zero Energy Certification
- Passive House (PHIUS) Source Zero
Zero Net Energy for a better tomorrow
Even though the zero net energy buildings are not extremely popular in developed countries, they are gaining a lot of importance now with the changes going on in the environment. It is highly important that every government takes a responsible step towards a better future that is technologically advanced and is highly renewable!
ZEB is an inevitable choice that must be taken up by everyone at the right time.