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2023 | Buch

Towards Net Zero Carbon Emissions in the Building Industry


Über dieses Buch

Towards Net Zero in the Building Industry looks at the contributions that the building and construction industry can (and must) make to help achieve net zero carbon emissions. The building industry accounts for close to 40% of global emissions and this book brings together a global group of contributors from 15 countries to examine ways in which the industry can help with overall CO2 reduction. Coverage includes factors such as building design strategy, materials selection, use of local materials with a low carbon imprint, renewable energy use, energy conservation, greenery and appropriate aesthetics, building size and scale, climate suitability, building functionality and comfort, material recycling, and adoption of green policies.

Chapter 6 is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License via


The Proper Geometrical Parameters of Urban Street Profile to Enhance Outdoor Thermal Comfort in Highland Zone of Algeria
Solar urban planning is an intricate procedure that requires cogitating the interplay between multiple aspects and variables depending on urban form and solar energy inputs. In Algeria, unlike vernacular urban geometries heritage which displays a real concern and perception in planning with climate, the present urban design geometry consists of new application of urban rules that are not generally in accordance with the climatic context required for a specified region. In order to enhance outdoor thermal comfort in high latitudes of the Highland zone in Algeria, we attempt in this study to determine the proper geometrical parameters of urban street profile that leads to mitigate outdoor thermal sensation. In this regard, the present research focuses on the evaluation of the inadequacy of prospect urban rules with outdoor thermal comfort in the Highland zone of Algeria. Subsequently, a simulation of fictious fabrics by varying the orientation and the values of obstruction angle of urban street canyon was carried out for this study. Then, to bridge the gap between high urban density and outdoor thermal comfort, the parametric solar envelope was applied on the best profile of urban street canyon. The modelling simulation was run by using a parametric tool (Rhinoceros/Grasshopper/Ladybug). The findings of this research have revealed the following. On the one hand, the low obstruction angle can mitigate outdoor thermal comfort during winter period, while it cannot ensure summer outdoor thermal comfort. On the other hand, the high obstruction angle leads to enhance summer outdoor thermal comfort but cannot safeguard winter outdoor thermal comfort. The results of this study have also revealed that the generative algorithm of parametric solar envelope allows urban planners to achieve greater built density while mitigate winter outdoor thermal comfort.
Amina Naidja, Fatiha Bourbia
Thermal Behavior of Exterior Coating Texture and Its Effect on Building Thermal Performance
The building envelope is the barrier between the interior and exterior environments. External wall coating might be used to improve the walls performance and how to specify it to meet these requirements for optimal energy performance and design efficiency providing eco-friendly surroundings. This chapter discusses the thermal behavior of the exterior walls with different coating textures inspired by traditional architecture in the great south desert of Algeria. The research work aims to evaluate the thermal and energy performance of wall facades with different exterior coating textures through the site experimental study. The first series were focused on surface temperature measurement using thermal imaging, in order to assess and evaluate the effect and thermal behavior of the exterior coating texture on lowering surface temperature. Meanwhile the second series of this study aims to study the effect of the textures already tested in the first experimental with the incorporation of three types of particles such as palm particles and pneumatic waste as a cement mortar aggregate into the already tested walls. The experimental results revealed that the integration of palm trees particles as a cement mortar aggregate into the textured facades is beneficial in optimizing the thermal behavior of the building envelope.
Islam Boukhelkhal, Fatiha Bourbia
Beyond Energy Efficiency: The Emerging Era of Smart Bioenergy
Today’s energy-efficient houses operate according to the principles underpinning national energy grids based on the delivery of electricity at 230 V into our homes. Such huge demand has been met to date using fossil fuels and increasingly, clean, renewable energy sources like solar and wind. However, these new, fossil fuel-free energy industries do not address smarter energy consumption via more locally situated ways, which is typical of organisms, but rather maintain the consumptive paradigm that pumps huge amounts of power into our homes—much of which is stepped down by transformers so that it can be safely used in domestic appliances. This essay discusses the emerging provision of bioenergy within our homes, which is produced by the metabolism of organic waste by microbes and, as such, operate within the limits of their own energy reserves while processing organic matter into safe biological forms, e.g. compost. Tailoring the amount of energy they use according to their needs, these low-power systems operate in a much smarter way than industrialised, mechanical systems. Starting with the optimisation of the microbial fuel cell (MFC), a “living” battery system powered by microbes, this paper provides principles for the development of domestic systems that are powered by their own waste. Exemplifying an organic approach to net zero (and beyond) in the building industry, the contributions of the projects Living Architecture and ALICE (funded by the Future Emerging Technologies EU H2020 programme) to this possibility are outlined. In keeping with the drive to develop low power computing, and smarter, new materials-based technologies, applications of these hybrid microbial-artificial intelligences can also positively link human consumption with environmental health via bioremediation and are an important ecological step towards regenerative building practices, cities, and habitats.
Rachel Armstrong
Brains for Buildings to Achieve Net Zero
Sustainable use of energy sources is one of the most important issues in modern society and therefore of great importance in the built environment. Construction installations account for approximately 36% of total energy consumption and consume on average 25% more energy due to inefficiency. There is a large unused potential of energy management systems, which can potentially achieve 20–30 PJ final savings through application in non-residential construction already in a small country like the Netherlands.
A good design is important but also maintaining performance and condition in operation over the years. Most buildings have many problems with comfort and indoor air quality. The maintenance of the installations is more action oriented than performance oriented, which means that the costs are higher and the number of malfunctions and nuisances for the user higher. Therefore, it is important to detect deviations as soon as possible with continuous commissioning, so that there is constant monitoring of all circumstances and error detection in combination with a diagnosis.
The European Commission has adopted the revised European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD III) with the aim of improving the energy efficiency of buildings, thereby reducing energy consumption. The directive was implemented in Dutch laws and regulations on March 10, 2020. The EPBD III prescribes system requirements for improving the energy performance of technical building systems. The current building management systems cannot comply with this. Data is produced and (sometimes) shown in graphs, but analysis thereof is missing and is not automated; interfaces to inform and support the administrator in his decisions are very limited.
The energy transition requires more optimally functioning installations that use less energy. Users want healthier and more productive climate conditions. The complexity of the installations increases sharply and therefore the necessary experience and knowledge to solve problems. There is a growing shortage of experienced people who are able to analyse this data. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to develop systems to automate these continuous monitoring, error detection and diagnostic functions.
It is important to improve and safeguard the methods for data analysis and control related to GBS and measurement and control systems of installations and to develop suitable algorithms based on big data analytics and machine learning.
Wim Zeiler
Using Building Integrated Photovoltaic Thermal (BIPV/T) Systems to Achieve Net Zero Goal: Current Trends and Future Perspectives
The rising world population and increasing shift toward reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have highlighted the importance of cleaner and more-efficient technologies such as solar energy harvesting systems. Among these, building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) and building integrated photovoltaic thermal (BIPV/T) systems are considered to be superior in supplying electrical and thermal demands while also enhancing the attractiveness of the buildings to which they are attached. This chapter introduces this technology and explains its role in achieving both net zero energy buildings (NZEBs) and net zero emission (NZE) targets. First, the BIPV/T concept is introduced, and then the processes of simulating BIPV/T system performance in both free and forced convection conditions are explained. Next, net zero targets are defined, and a number of studies that have tried to help meet net zero goals using BIPV and BIPV/T systems are reviewed. The chapter ends with concluding remarks and suggestions for future work.
Ali Sohani, Cristina Cornaro, Mohammad Hassan Shahverdian, Saman Samiezadeh, Siamak Hoseinzadeh, Alireza Dehghani-Sanij, Marco Pierro, David Moser

Open Access

Simulated Versus Monitored Building Behaviours: Sample Demo Applications of a Perfomance Gap Detection Tool in a Northern Italian Climate
Green building technologies and design-correlated choices may significantly contribute to supporting the transition toward net energy flows in the built environment. Nevertheless, large discrepancies are underlined between standard simulated and monitored building behaviours requiring approaches able to simply correlate real building behaviours and simulated ones to further support coherent certification and/or optimization. The paper focusses on the application of a semi-automatic methodology to compare and evaluate thermal behaviours of buildings considering monitored and simulated data. The approach is based on a new Python tool developed by the authors, able to manage EnergyPlus inputs and perform multi-source KPIs calculations. The mentioned tool is used here to support semi-automatic model verifications of real weather data by optimizing model parameters to fit monitored behaviours. The approach is applied in this chapter to two demo buildings, a municipality school and a residential unit, located in the Turin metropolitan area of Piedmont, in Northwest Italy.
Giacomo Chiesa, Francesca Fasano, Paolo Grasso
Dynamic Simulations of High-Energy Performance Buildings: The Role of Climatic Data and the Consideration of Climate Change
The prediction of buildings’ energy demand through dynamic energy performance simulation methods requires the input of climatic weather data that represent the typical meteorological characteristics of a specific location. Hence, the respective methods that have been used in the existing literature to generate the so-called typical weather years (TWY) are mainly based on the use of multiyear historical records of meteorological stations located in the peripheral zones of cities. As a result, complex interactions between solar radiation, wind speed, and the specific morphological characteristics of the area under investigation cannot be accounted. In parallel, the use of historical climatic records for dynamic energy performance simulations does not allow the consideration of the ongoing climate change, having a major impact on the urban built environment with respect to the heating and cooling energy requirements of buildings. It becomes thus obvious that the road towards the accurate investigation of the performance of high-energy performance buildings such as the net zero energy buildings would require a holistic selection of suitable weather data that can account the warming from climate change and the urban warming issues. In this context, the current chapter systematically reviews the studies that investigate the effect of the hourly climatic files, introduced as an input boundary condition on the dynamic building energy performance simulations, and their acquired results are presented and discussed. More precisely, the review focuses on studies that have been based on traditional methods for the acquisition of the required weather datasets but also on the results of other scientific studies that develop future weather datasets for building energy performance simulations, incorporating the future climate change and the urban microclimate issues.
Stella Tsoka
Green Urbanism with Genuine Green Architecture: Toward Net Zero System in New York
Changes that have taken place in the world over the past 30 years, including ecological disturbances and radical changes in traditional settlements, have produced cities that are not just chaotic and monotonous in appearance but have serious environmental problems threatening their inhabitants. Early in the sustainability movement, many rejected the idea of “environmental balance” as an impossible goal that ignored the realities of the Anthropocene. Thirty years hence two questions remain: Can technological means save us from ecological disaster, or will we fail without disruptive cultural, economic, and behavioral change? It is now clear that both are necessary. Over the last two decades, ecologically sensitive design approaches at the building scale have been understood better compared to those at the urban scale, and there have been significant developments in the field, although the contemporary architectural practice in the developing countries is still lacking many aspects of sustainable building design. The absence of the urban or neighborhood scale in most environmental literature was masked by the recent obsession with “green” buildings, most of which look green on their facades but lack energy saving ideas, climate-sensitive design, use of locally appropriate materials, and so forth. Based on these shortcomings, the authors critically explore in this chapter the concepts of green urbanism and green architecture based on the ideas observed in the development of the ancient settlements and the traditional contexts, introducing the Seventy-Six, the second author’s awarded project in Albany, New York. The chapter, stating its limitations, concludes with the future perspectives on the viability of the net zero system through that exemplary project.
Derya Oktay, James Garrison
External Solar Shading Design for Low-Energy Buildings in Humid Temperate Climates
As a consequence of energy crisis issues and the concerns regarding energy optimization, particularly the building sector, passive design strategies are proved to be economic and practical energy management solutions as they are applied by designers. However a great number of studies have been carried out in terms of shading criteria, a detailed comprehensive guidance is not presented for louvers design in humid temperate climates, as in northern areas of Iran. Urban residential buildings are a considerable subsector of construction industry, and this chapter focuses on the energy consumption potentials resulting from various design factors of external horizontal louvers for this building type. For this purpose, a typical four-story apartment building with a north-south orientation in city of Rasht – located in Csa zone based on Koppen classification – has been selected as a case study. Several design scenarios are created varying shading factors as windows coverage percentage, louvers distancing, tilt, and width. The southern façade as the most influenced building face by solar gain is the subject of study. The analysis of device alternatives is conducted using Design Builder energy simulation software, aiming to minimize the heating, cooling, and lighting energy consumption. Ultimately, the most recommended variable parameters for shading system of this building type are presented. The best scenario reduced the cooling energy consumption by %40compared to other louver configuration, and the total of cooling and heating energy consumption was reduced by approximately 13%. The optimized solutions provide designers with different choices accompanied by their known consequent energy performance in the early stages of design that could be taken based on preferences and priorities.
Seyedehmamak Salavatian
What It Takes to Go Net Zero: Why Aren’t We There Yet?
Carbon neutrality in the built environment can be achieved by lowering energy consumption with energy efficiency measures in the entire life cycle of a building and, at the same time, by generating energy from renewable sources to cover the baseline energy demand. This chapter discusses four key challenges to achieve net zero in the building industry: (1) the global challenge referred to climate change and future climates according to the 6th IPCC report, (2) the technical challenge related mainly to the achievement of net zero energy parameters in new and existing buildings and the difficulties to certify energy efficiency in a massive attempt. (3) The social challenge contending with the human angle of net zero perception and commitment (different net zero configurations imply different system and lifestyle changes and strongly depend on people supporting and adopting these changes) (4) the future challenge in the next transition from the building itself to a low carbon community and energy-positive buildings. The final discussion addresses the issue of how dealing with lowering carbon and energy must link us all together: Real progress is frozen until a solution is found that works for (almost) everyone at (almost) the same time.
Carolina Ganem-Karlen, Gustavo Javier Barea-Paci, Soledad Elisa Andreoni-Trentacoste
The Integrated Design Studio as a Means to Achieve Zero Net Energy Buildings
The chapter describes the authors’ view on how to create an effective educational environment that inspires architectural students to design a sustainable architecture with a special focus on zero net energy (ZNE) building design. Such an environment is known as the integrated design studio (IDS). It is meant to train students in an environment that imitates closely the actual process that takes place in the practice of building design. The main educational challenge is how to prepare the student to become proficient in a highly engaged comprehensive design process that integrates creative architectural thinking with technical design of building energy and environmental systems, structural system, construction system, and building materials. This challenge becomes much harder when all these requirements are applied in the design of a complex multifunction ZNE building located under the extreme hot climate conditions of Dubai, UAE. The established model by the authors, which is believed to have high potentials in improving architectural design education, is demonstrated in this chapter by a real case of students’ project that won the third prize of the reputable international MultiComfort House Student Contest, Edition 2018, by Saint Gobain.
Khaled A. Al-Sallal, Ariel Gomez, Ghulam Qadir
Indicators Toward Zero-Energy Houses for the Mediterranean Region
The Average Buildings as Means of Optimized Refurbishment Strategies for the Residential Buildings in Cyprus
The European Union has framed ambitious CO2 reductions and energy-efficiency goals for the next decades. In 2050 the built environment should be nearly carbon neutral, with GHG emissions of 88–91% lower than in 1990. With the current trends, the national climate protection energy targets are unattainable without energy upgrading of the housing stock. Residential buildings account for the 63% of the total energy consumption of the building stock. The existing residential building stock exceeds the number of newly built dwellings in most developed countries. Therefore, the energy-efficient renovation of the existing housing stock is imperative in order to reduce the building energy consumption.
This chapter aims to define the average buildings in Cyprus and create a database that can be used for energy-efficient refurbishment studies for the Mediterranean countries. The energy performance indicators of residential building stocks evaluate the existing empirical data of a building stock and the input and outcome of building stock modeling toward zero-energy houses. The study underlies the procedure and the effectiveness of the average building approach and the use of monitoring energy performance indicators for developing energy reduction strategies toward zero-energy houses. The ultimate goal is to achieve the future energy target of 2030.
Despina Serghides, Martha Katafygiotou, Ioanna Kyprianou, Stella Dimitriou
Toward NZEB in Public Buildings: Integrated Energy Management Systems of Thermal and Power Networks
Climate change and environmental degradation have become major threats to the well-being of the global population. Buildings account for a significant part of worldwide energy consumption and are thus an essential aspect in moving towards a decarbonized and efficient energy sector. In particular it is important to retrofit existing buildings into net zero energy buildings. Microgrids allow the local integration of renewable energy generation technologies with energy storage and energy demand. In this work, the existing thermal and electrical models of the microgrid in a pilot zone of building C of LNEG campus in Lumiar were integrated, and energy management strategies in which the decision making is based on both models were developed. Two different strategies following a rule-based control approach were developed and tested. In the first one, depending on the state of charge (SOC) of the battery and energy prices, the battery charges with power from the utility grid. The last one builds upon the first one and adds a new control block for the heat pump, which also considers the battery SOC and the energy prices. This control strategy also proved to be the one that led to both the lowest consumption from the utility grid and the lowest energy bill, for most of the studied scenarios, but had the drawback of increasing discomfort in a specific room. The LNEG building was designed according to bioclimatic principles, in articulation with renewable energy systems, since its first stage of conception.
Ana Beatriz Soares Mendes, Carlos Santos Silva, Manuel Correia Guedes
The Missing Link in Architectural Pedagogy: Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB)
This paper unfolds the educational experience of the Building Design studio of the University of Texas at San Antonio’s third- and fourth-year architecture students. According to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, approximately 70% of the world population by 2050, will live in cities. Leaving tangible climate change consequences (i.e., global warming and the increase in greenhouse gases) behind, urban living requires immediate worldwide preventative actions. The next generation of architects responding to climate change needs proper training and preparation during their education.
Educating the community about living and maintaining the NZEBs helps boost their utility and effectiveness in the long run. The integrative, academic building construction industry model provides an opportunity for creating a culture for a timely education of the community members.
Field observation in academic and professional environments in southern Texas between 2019 and 2022, interviews with experts, and archival research revealed that environmental and climatic considerations are sufficiently enforced neither in building constructions nor in urban developments. Hence, a missing link exists between education and the professional industry. Furthermore, a clear wedge exists between theory and practice and community groups. Due to its integrative passive and active design nature, energy-producing, and long-time resident maintenance, NZEB design strategies play instrumental roles in fostering social and community networks. They either share or supply the extra power they need by exchanging energy.
Maryam Singery
Environmental Dimensions of Climate Change: Endurance and Change in Material Culture
Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and approximately 14 gigatons of all energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year. If the goal of reaching net zero by mid-century is to be achieved, global climate change must be urgently addressed, and the 50% benchmark of the phased reduction in emissions must be reached by the year 2030.
Reducing carbon emissions in the operational sector of buildings remains an urgent priority. In addition, the production of most building construction materials remains carbon-intensive. Without quantifying and considering the embodied energy of the materials in our buildings, a significant obstacle continues to block the path of achieving net-zero emissions in the building sector.
Aluminum and glass, both predominant materials in the building skin, have high embodied energy. It is imperative that buildings that achieve a net-zero status do so while ensuring that ALL sources of emissions, including embodied carbon, be taken into consideration. This study seeks to elucidate the definition of net-zero buildings to address these issues and to advance the knowledge of this category of buildings by addressing the impact and role of envelope materials and systems in reducing carbon footprint.
Mona Azarbayjani, David Jacob Thaddeus
Towards Climate Neutrality: Global Perspective and Actions for Net-Zero Buildings to Achieve Climate Change Mitigation and the SDGs
The continuous rise in energy demands due to rapid urbanization and human activities puts immense pressure on local governments and cities globally, especially amidst the COVID-19 crisis and economic slowdown. Hence, developing cities and buildings towards net-zero goals is becoming urgent and significantly vital to adopt renewable scenarios in the building sector given the climate crisis. The outcome of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP26) agreed on and declared the Glasgow Climate Pact (GCP) which stated the serious concern of climate and weather extremes and their adverse impacts on people and nature that will continue to increase with an additional increment of rising temperature. The GCP reaffirmed the long-term global goal to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C below-industrial real levels in addition to recognizing that limiting global warming to 1.5 entails rapid, deep, and sustained reduction in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45% by 2030 and to contribute towards climate-neutral cities and reasserted the goal of net-zero by 2050. Hence, city leaders should focus on reducing carbon emissions by 2050. Nevertheless, if global warming is to be limited to 1.5 °C, all cities need to be net-zero by 2050 at the very latest. Therefore, net-zero, low-carbon building and clean mobility can play a great role in achieving climate neutrality by 2050. This book chapter aims to address the urgent need to transform the building industry and cities to become low carbon. The chapter highlights the importance of net-zero low-carbon cities. It also presents global examples of net-zero-energy buildings (NZEBs) and how these models contribute to the net-zero target and climate neutrality. Additionally, current policies, actions, and initiatives worldwide and in Egypt towards NZEB to achieve green and sustainable cities have also been examined and discussed. Ultimately, net-zero carbon and managing “transition” remain a huge challenge for cities and regions, but coupling these goals with innovative thinking for the future is primarily essential if cities worldwide are to become resilient enough and meet COP26 outcomes and the GCP.
Mohsen Aboulnaga, Maryam Elsharkawy
Towards Net Zero Carbon Emissions in the Building Industry
herausgegeben von
Ali Sayigh
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