The past decade has seen a significant rise in the implementation of green building design elements in architectural trends across the world. Green building practice, with a specific focus on Zero Net Energy, is fast becoming the status quo for designers and architects involved in sustainable design projects all over the world.
Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings aim to produce enough renewable energy to meet their own energy demands. However, achieving ZNE is not only about sustainable energy production, but also current load reduction. In fact, a major focus of ZNE buildings is to employ energy efficient measures that drastically reduce the need for non-renewable energy resources.
With ZNE being a relatively new concept in green building design, market trends already indicate massive investment opportunities for green design elements with a focus toward the highly promising future of ZNE buildings in the commercial sector.
While much of the movement and action around ZNE buildings has taken place in the United States, particularly through the New Building Institute, the rest of the world is catching on to the future of green building design.
With ZNE being a future-focused approach for creating the consciousness necessary to invest in green design elements, there are a few major cities across the globe currently doing exactly that to ensure the sustainable future of their infrastructure and design.
While Europe is the world leader in green building design and ZNE implementation, environmental consciousness in architecture is also fast on the rise across the rest of the globe. And with ZNE being a sustainability design concept less than a decade old, the figures above are promising for the growth potential of a global ZNE objective. In fact, some Asian cities have already set higher than average CO2 reduction targets for their buildings as part of their green design efforts. And the World Green Building Trends for 2016 indicate massive growth potential for green design implementations in the building sector all across Asia.
As a current phenomenon, ZNE implementation is not so much about ‘zero’ energy output, but about employing green design considerations that work towards a future goal of total ZNE. It’s a realistic future, but one cannot start at zero. That’s why it has become vitally important to implement sustainable strategies in the design phase of the building’s lifecycle.
Radiant Cooling as Part of a ZNE Objective
With a ZNE objective identified and laid out as part of your building’s green design strategy, the next step will be to consider sustainable design elements that can efficiently and effectively contribute towards these goals.
HVAC accounts for up to as much as 40% of commercial energy consumption in buildings worldwide. That’s why radiant cooling has become a popular choice as a design component of ZNE buildings – it has the unique ability to balance energy consumption with the creation of renewable energy. Radiant cooling has made a massive surge into the HVAC market in a relatively short space of time and already makes up about 50% of all HVAC components in ZNE buildings across the world.
The figures suggest that radiant cooling solutions are already making a significant impact in contributing towards ZNE building objectives. Working towards the ZNE future, it is accepted green design practice to first employ energy-saving solutions that can greatly reduce energy usage – and then to focus on total ZNE. In this regard, radiant cooling solutions are one of the major green design components that can greatly reduce energy consumption and set things in place for designers to focus on the building’s sustainable ZNE future.
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