Zero energy building codes are making inroads in Oregon, California, British Columbia, and other places, but a new ACEEE white paper reveals that they still face barriers to nationwide success, including a “solar-only” mentality. From coast to coast, there’s considerable momentum for zero energy buildings, or ZEBs, which produce at least as much energy as they use over the course of a year. To make a building zero energy, designers first minimize the building’s energy use with high-efficiency walls, windows, HVAC equipment, and energy management systems. The remaining load is met with on-site renewable energy, typically solar photovoltaic panels.
ACEEE 24th Oct 2018 read more »
Sixteen social homes designed as mini power stations are now under construction in south Wales. They will generate around 80% of the energy they consume and slash tenants’ energy bills by at least 50%. Called Active Homes, the homes in Neath will have an airtight structure of prefabricated structural insulated panels (SIPs), and will generate energy from the sun in two ways: a perforated steel “solar wall” soaks up 50% of solar heat energy hitting the surface, and solar photovoltaics on the roof generate electricity. To boost efficiency, a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR) system extracts heat from warm moist air in the kitchen and bathroom and uses it to heat fresh air that enters through vents from outside. The system runs continuously using a small amount of energy from the solar PV and battery. The project is the result of a partnership between housing organisation Pobl Group, Neath Port Talbot Borough Council and Swansea University’s SPECIFIC Innovation & Knowledge Centre. Pobl invested £1.15m while the Welsh Government contributed £2.65m via two grants. Active Homes Neath is due for completion next summer, 10 of the houses and flats will be monitored for 12 months post-occupation to gauge how systems are performing.
Global Construction Review 25th Oct 2018 read more »