A Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) is one that produces as much energy as it consumes, making it the ultimate sustainability goal for a commercial project. It’s a simple concept in theory, but a challenge that requires complete commitment in order to achieve, requiring expert collaboration and innovative solutions from the project’s conceptual phase through to completion, including working with a leading commercial HVAC company in NJ.
Why Choose to Build an NZEB?
Following this building philosophy takes a huge upfront investment, but it’s all about long-term goals. According to 2018 data gathered by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), buildings accounted for 40% of total energy consumption in the USA, around 40 quadrillion British thermal units (BTU). With rising energy costs and increasing scarcity of fossil fuels, an NZEB is a sensible option for reducing long-term costs while meeting building performance needs effectively.
Developers and the public are also becoming not only increasingly aware of sustainability measures but also in favor thereof. This means that making this move will be a great way to attract commercial and residential tenants as well as provide organizations with a significant public relations boost to their brand.
Key Principles Behind an NZEB
According to the World Green Building Council, the guiding principles behind an NZEB include:
- The Accurate Tracking and Measurement of Carbon Emissions
- Actively Reducing the Building’s Energy Demands Through Commitment to Energy Efficiency
Measures include design strategies that reduce load, like sun control and shading devices, air barrier systems, insulation, high-efficiency HVAC and ventilation systems, and high-performance envelopes.
- Generating Energy From Renewable Resources to Be Utilized by the Building and Tenants
For example, energy can be generated from commercial solar systems, geothermal heat pumps, the use of biofuel, and wind turbines. In many cases, buildings are not able to meet their energy requirements through on-site measures, in which case off-site sources can be used. Excess energy can also be fed back into the grid to allow others access to renewable energy and to generate financial returns through SRECs and other governmental programs.
- A Commitment to Additional Sustainability Measures
Additional sustainability measures can include water collection and conservation, recycling, and reduction of waste, for example.
Net Zero Energy Buildings Are Already Here
Thanks to innovations in building design, materials, renewable technology, and energy-efficient systems, NZEBs are becoming a reality around the world. Current examples include:
- The National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Currently the largest NZEB in the USA, this 220,000-square foot building in Golden, Colorado incorporates advanced heat recovery technologies, 1,6 million megawatts of photovoltaic power, daylighting design, and natural ventilation. It was designed as a model for high-energy performance, cost-competitive buildings, showing the industry what’s possible.
- The Edge (Deloitte HQ)
Located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, this NZEB showcases what large corporations can achieve through a commitment to sustainability. Known as “The Smartest Building in the World”, this building utilizes smart technology to create a fully automated and customized environment that optimizes energy savings at every turn. It has a human-powered gym, a rainwater toilet system, and a high-efficiency aquifer thermal energy storage system. The app that runs the building even knows every employee’s preferences, tweaking lighting and air conditioning to customize their environment. It’s also achieved a 98,4% rating from British rating’s company BREEAM – the highest ever.
- Legion House at Liberty Place
This project, located in Sydney, Australia, is unique in that it is a heritage-listed and protected building. Thanks to a state-of-the-art NZEB remodel, it is recognized as one of the most sustainable designs in the world, achieving a 6-star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia. It is a fully zero carbon building, cooled by chilled beam technology and powered by biomass gasification, which is a process that uses commercial waste paper from adjacent buildings to fuel energy generation.
Our Commercial HVAC Contractors Can Help You Reach Your Sustainability Goals
At Tri-Tech Energy, high-efficiency HVAC systems, commercial ductwork, and ventilation systems are our specialty. With over 30 years of experience in the HVAC industry, we are able to assist our commercial and industrial clients with all aspects of their building’s HVAC system, from repairs and maintenance to developing custom heating and cooling systems for re-fitted or new buildings.
We also do commercial HVAC ductwork insulation for additional energy-efficiency. For more information on our company or services, please contact us today or visit our website at https://www.tritechenergy.com/