4 Guidelines When Designing for Net-Zero Energy

October 14, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

energy manageWhen designing a net-zero energy building that produces all of its own renewable energy onsite, there are four points to consider, according to an article in Autodesk’s blog Line/Shape/Space.

1. Clearly express the end goal from the beginning and make sure all stakeholders are on-board with the energy-performance target. It should be included in all design documentation and communicated clearly down to subcontractors, according to the article. It’s also important for designers to known precisely how energy will be used in the building.

2. The interior designer should be involved in the early phases of the project because tried-and-true techniques such as orientation for optimal solar access, daylighting strategies, light paint colors and fabrics and layout of work spaces to increase natural ventilation will probably play an important role.

3. HVAC systems in net-zero buildings are usually not traditional, says Line/Shape/Space. Rather than rooftop package units and variable air volume (VAV) systems, net zero energy buildings are likely to employ technologies such as radiant heating, ground source heat pumps, chilled beams and natural ventilation. These buildings also use monitoring and energy management systems to troubleshoot problems and keep the energy target in line.

4. The construction of the building is just the beginning for net-zero energy. It will be essential to get occupants to behave in energy efficient ways, especially related to plug loads, to keep the building operating at maximum energy efficiency.

Photo: Office building via Shutterstock

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