What is Net Zero Building and Why It's the Wave of the Future
Carbon emissions are a big contributor of global warming, so it's important to consider the possibility of building architecture with as little a carbon footprint as possible. Continue reading to learn more about net zero building and its role in protecting our environment.
In May of 2018, California became the first state to mandate that all new homes are built with solar panels.
There's a reason for this new law and others like it: climate change is a real threat that we have to start combating today, not decades from now.
There are already a myriad of ways to include solar power into eco-friendly home-building, but net zero building takes it one step further.
Keep reading to learn what net zero building is and why it's implementation is revolutionary to the field of architecture.
What is Net Zero Building?
A net zero building is one that generates its own carbon-free renewable energy on site and generates enough of it to meet the building's annual energy use. Some buildings take it a step further, by actually selling their excess renewable energy into a power grid. This not only generates profit but also provides their neighbors with renewable energy.
Net zero building starts during the construction phase where architects seriously consider materials, insulation, and energy efficiency before even installing a means to generate renewable energy.
Some ways to build a net zero home include:
- Air-sealing and super-insulating, which save on heating and cooling costs
- Energy efficient water heating, such as solar water heaters
- Energy efficient climate control systems
- Installing LED lighting
- Efficient appliances and electronics, with smart sensors and timers
- Photovoltaic solar panels to generate electricity
- Low-flow or composting toilets
- Smart landscaping (planting trees for shade)
- Reflective roofing
What's the Big Deal?
Net zero building is not just a fad, entire countries are taking steps to ensure new construction is eco-friendly. With plans like the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement signed, countries are now tasked with doing whatever they can to meet emissions standards.
With the staggering number of new buildings that will be constructed every year, it's easy to see how net zero building can quickly help combat climate change.
With most of the globe now trusting scientists that climate change is occurring, architects will have to become more familiar with net zero building to meet the needs of both corporations and residents. Now more than ever before, both the commercial and residential home-building sectors are considering ways to implement eco-friendly construction.
Places like universities are a huge proponent of net zero building. The University of California, Davis is going so far as to implement a net zero campus altogether. Solar panels cover many university buildings these days, and with the price of solar rapidly dropping, it's easy to see how solar will begin to appear on an increasing number of buildings.
Net zero building is constructed with a conscious. They don't simply take the cheapest materials and make a building, but they put serious thought into energy efficiency and renewable energy generation.
With the growing trend of net zero building, architects sure have their work cut out for them.
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