The Net-Zero Energy Heuristic (for Residential and Commercial Buildings)
The Net-Zero Energy Heuristic for Buildings was developed to provide a decision making strategy to assist building owners in becoming energy independent. It was created to be applied to existing as well as new residential and commercial structures. When utilized it will have a profound effect on reducing commercial electrical power generation, replacing it with renewable energy provided by building owners.
Technological advances in building materials, construction techniques, HVAC systems and power generation are constantly rewriting the rules on how to design and construct the buildings where we live and work. This Heuristic utilizes techniques to make our buildings energy efficient and sustainable with the ultimate goal of creating a beautiful building as defined in the Living Building Challenge.
The Net-Zero Energy Plan (N-ZEP) consists of three engineering studies/reports. The first evaluates how the building interacts with it’s environment to determine how much heating and cooling is needed to keep the building at its desired indoor temperatures based on its location and orientation, physical properties, equipment and occupancy. Secondly, a cost/benefit analysis is developed for HVAC equipment options to satisfy the structure’s heating/cooling requirements utilizing the various energy sources available at the site. Specific HVAC options are developed and their cost/benefits are detailed in a 30-year Life-Cycle costs providing the building owner with data to assist in their selection of
conditioning options. Next, an Energy Plan detailing energy use, and recommendations is developed which is intended to lower the building’s energy use to its lowest possible level. Finally a recommendation is made in the form of renewable power generation equipment to bring the structure to a Net-Zero Energy state.
The net result of employing a Net-Zero strategy for our buildings will have a profound positive effect on our atmosphere.