Sustainable future – Net-Zero Buildings
Buildings are currently one of the biggest energy consumers and carbon emitters in the world. This needs to change. One of the most important steps to reduce our carbon footprint and expenses is to invest in net-zero energy buildings. With growing environmental concern, net-zero energy buildings will become an increasingly common method of reducing climate impacts.
What is a net-zero building?
A net-zero building is a highly energy-efficient building that produces as much energy as it consumes. This means that it consumes zero net energy. Net-zero buildings address net energy consumption and emissions by offsetting energy consumption and carbon emissions with clean, self-generated energy. This is achieved through a combination of energy-efficient practices to reduce energy waste and harmful emissions, and technologies that create renewable energy on-site (thereby offsetting a building’s energy consumption). While many net-zero buildings are newly constructed, it is also possible to convert existing structures into net-zero buildings.
How can a building become a net-zero building?
New or existing structures can become net-zero buildings by producing as much energy on-site as they consume. This can be achieved through a number of advanced technologies such as hot water panels, solar photovoltaic panels, wind power, geothermal energy and biofuels.
Buildings, both old and new, will need to consider a number of elements when converting to the net-zero model. The first step will be the design process itself, including factors such as ventilation routes and window arrangements.
Produce energy to achieve net-zero consumption.
Buildings that hope to achieve net-zero energy consumption often produce energy to offset their consumption. One way to achieve this is to invest in a solar energy system to balance consumption and production. Solar panel technology has become more efficient over the last twenty years. The spread of the technology has allowed companies to invest in research, economies of scale and distribution, which has led to a gradual reduction in costs. The increased efficiency of solar panels has made them more affordable.
Empowering consumers to produce their own energy to become self-sufficient will allow for a net-zero future.
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