Traditional buildings are the problem, Zero buildings are the solution.
That’s more than a slogan. A significant part of the world's environmental problems – associated with greenhouse gas emissions – can be solved through Zero Energy Buildings.
Zero energy buildings (ZEB), Zero net energy buildings (ZNEB), Net Zero energy buildings (NZEB), Net zero buildings, or Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) are different terms for the same type of building. They are – first of all - buildings designed, equipped and insulated to have small energy needs; they have very high standards of energy efficiency and, accordingly, very small energy needs. The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required by them can be fulfilled by energy from renewable sources produced on-site (solar photovoltaic systems installed on their rooftop, for instance) or nearby.
Buildings are the problem, NZEB the solution
The building sector is the largest contributor for CO2 worldwide – more than the industry or the transportation sector.
Buildings consume about 40% of the world’s energy.
72% of the electricity and 34% of the natural gas produced in the USA are used to operate buildings.
Buildings consume more than 40% of the energy produced in Europe.
Buildings are responsible for about 35,861 million tons per day of CO2 (directly or indirectly) or 415 thousands of tons per second, worldwide.
And it doesn't have to be this way. NZEB will solve the problem. NZEB = Zero energy emissions.
Zero Energy Buildings are the solution
Zero energy buildings are critical to stop climate change.
Zero energy buildings are built to produce at least as much energy as the one they use on an annual basis.
They can free-up large amounts of electricity to the transportation sector and to the industry. That’s another major goal of Zero Energy Buildings.
Better yet, houses, schools and other buildings can produce more energy than the energy they need on an annual basis, that is, ZE buildings can supply a part of the electricity required by the industry sector and the future electric vehicle network.
Billions of zero energy buildings can phase-out thousands of coal-fired and nuclear plants, worldwide.
We should not forget that green electricity is already cost-competitive in large-scale projects.
Zero energy buildings are not rocket science
Zero energy buildings do not require a big technological breakthrough.
We have already the technology. It involves: high performance windows and exterior doors, high levels of insulation all over the building envelope, efficient lighting, appliances and equipment, smart design, proper solar orientation and siting... and, of course, photovoltaic systems, geothermal, or other renewable sources of energy.
Buildings with high energy-efficiency standards can greatly reduce their energy consumption, and do not require a large and too expensive renewable system to meet their needs. The renewable system can be relatively small and – for this reason - affordable, when installed in large-scale projects.
The problem is mostly organizational, logistical and financial.
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