Our designs easily qualify for net zero certifications from ILFI and USGBC.
Conserve energy and generate your net annual requirement off the grid.
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Net zero buildings are need of the hour for a sustainable future
We don't have much time in our hands! The disastrous effects of climate change are already upon us, and we are headed for a future with unstoppable spiral of rising global temperatures. The times are bleak, and soon we may start to face increased difficulties like water shortage, food shortage and depletion of resources- raising fears on even our survival.
The time to act is now- we need to conserve energy, cut down on waste and create a sustainable future for the generations to come. In this respect, the importance of net zero buildings is becoming prominent.
Net zero buildings and homes produce their own energy through renewable means, reduce water and energy waste, promote green construction methods and cuts back carbon emissions significantly.
This is really crucial, considering residential and commercial buildings in the USA account for 40% of the total energy consumption of the country. On top of that, they make up almost 30% of the total carbon emissions.
Net zero buildings use a clever design and optimize natural resources to prevent combustion and necessity of fossil fuel-driven grid-based energy. The energy-efficient buildings not only help to fight climate change, but also create a comfortable and healthy living environment for the occupants.
Right now, you can build a net zero building and register it for a net zero certification to prove your property's compliance. New York Engineers plays an important part in environment conversation by designing modern and efficient net zero buildings that qualify for net zero certification.
Whether residential or commercial, we can help you create a green building with sustainable resources to make way for a green future. Our engineers and architects collaborate to develop the most efficient designs that save energy, reduce the load on traditional grids and make the most of available resources.
If you are aiming for a net zero certification, we can help you design your building in a way that it sails past the audit process and achieves compliance without any difficulties.
Which Institutes Offer Net Zero Certificates?
Many institutions offer certifications for energy efficient and green buildings but net zero certificates are rare. Till now, only one net zero certification was available from the International Living Future Institute called the Zero Energy Building (ZEB) Certification.
To qualify for the certificate, your building has to meet its net annual energy needs through the supply of on-site renewable energy installations. The certificate is only available when you can show the real performance of your building for a period of one year.
The international certification program is available in the US and Canada and certifies that-
Your building is producing its net annual energy demands through sun, wind or other renewable energy
Your building is truly a net zero through third-party assessments based on actual performance data
The certification recognizes buildings that contribute to the environment and uses the collected data for creating awareness and helping other net zero interested homeowners. You have to register your project and complete other documentation to take advantage of the certification.
In 2018, the USGBC also announced a net zero certification program to promote green building efforts and reduce waste. To be able to get the certification, your project needs to be registered as a LEED project. Then you can qualify for the net zero certificate when you can prove any or one of the following-
Like the ZEB certification, you need to provide performance data on one or all of the above metric for a period of 12 months.
The certificates recognize your efforts in building a better future to ensure the wellbeing of not only occupants, but humanity as a whole.
The Elements of a Net Zero Certified Building
A lot of considerations go into making a net zero home involving every aspect of the design. Over the years, we have designed numerous net zero buildings and know what works and what doesn't. A net zero building combines multi-disciplinary efforts and careful nuances that make it non-reliant on the grid and conserves energy. Here are some of the components that go into making a net zero certified building-
A climate-responsive, properly oriented building is the easiest way to cut down the demand for energy. The orientation is also crucial to reduce the heating and cooling costs.
Planning a proper orientation of your building is the first step of getting a net zero certificate. It's a designing approach based on clever decision-making and offers considerable energy savings. Additionally, it's always convenient and cheaper to utilize nature than going for costly technologies or construction methods.
For example, buildings in warmer parts of the USA can benefit from having its long sides face north-south. This reduces direct sunlight and keeps cooling costs down during summer. Consequently, the structure gains solar heat during winter, reducing demand for indoor heating. On an average, a solar passive design can get you 75% of your heating needs directly from the sun.
We also place your doors and windows optimally to take advantage of breezes, making for a well-ventilated space.
2. Responsive Envelope
A proper envelope forms an effective barrier between the inside and outside of your building. The envelop consists of floor, walls, roof, doors and windows of your building. We always go for high-performance insulation so that your home can conserve as much energy as possible.
Our team uses various methods to implement optimum insulation such as insulated concrete forms (ICFs), insulated metal panels (IMPs), spray foam insulation and more. The goal is to create a continuous insulation for an airtight and moisture resistant home. We also use super-insulated roofing and floor to achieve a high R-value.
The doors and windows are also chosen with careful consideration. Various technologies such as double or triple-paned glass can be used with improved insulating properties. We also try to use windows with a high Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and low-e films to reduce heat gain. Proper placement of doors and windows is also another important aspect along with the utilization of adequate shades.
In order to get net zero certificate, your building must produce equal to or more energy than it consumes over a year through renewable means. That means you have to go for a renewable energy installation in your building which will produce the required energy.
You have the option of choosing from a range of renewable solutions like solar energy, wind energy, water energy or even biomass. We will take several factors into account to choose the most effective form of renewable energy for your building. Some of the factors include resources available at the building location, cost and orientation of the site.
The most common technology across US homes is solar panels photovoltaic installations. You can also go for a combination of energy sources like wind and solar if you are located, say near the coast. We may also design energy systems with storage batteries to achieve your zero-energy target.
4. Optimized Lighting
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), US residences and offices use 20% to 50% of the total electricity consumption for lighting. It's imperative that we optimize lighting to reduce your energy demand and conserve electricity.
Our net zero designs make the most of sunlight in creating natural living spaces. We can make way for natural lighting by using extensive glass panels which also enhance the looks of your building. Natural light can also be optimized by properly placing windows based on the orientation of the building.
Energy efficient lighting like light-emitting diode or LEDs also go a long way to reduce energy consumption. In fact, LEDs are 30% more energy efficient than fluorescent bulbs.
We can also use smart controls like on/off motion sensors which further reduce energy consumption by automatically switching off lights when there's no one in the room.
40% of the total energy in a commercial building is consumed by HVAC. Energy-efficient HVAC systems are crucial for net zero buildings as they are the main energy consumers. We can use smart HVAC solutions with remote monitoring which gives you complete control over your energy consumption.
Based on your case, we may also design your building with air-source and ground-source heat pumps. Air-source heat pumps use the heat outside your building and transfer it inside for heating. The same principle can also be used to transfer heat outside the building during summer to keep cooling costs down.
For applications like water heating, we can employ thermal solar heating systems for commercial buildings. Small and residential buildings can benefit from an electric heat pump or even a well-insulated regular water heater.
A net zero home is well-insulated and airtight. Studies also show that indoor air quality can be worse than outside air due to the presence of allergens, dust, mold and other contaminants. All net zero buildings we design have thought-out ventilation and additional systems to ensure the wellbeing and health of the occupants.
You cannot create a net zero building without the participation of the occupants. Even if you install the most energy-efficient systems and superior insulation, all can go to waste if someone forgets to switch off the lights or runs the AC with windows open.
That's why we incorporate user-friendly monitoring systems as a standard procedure. You can access information about your systems using the internet even from remote locations and control lighting, heating, cooling with the help of mobile or web-based applications.
We can also install sensors and automated controlling which can adjust lighting, cooling or heating based on real-time conditions. For example, when the sensors determine a room is empty or has fewer occupants, it can automatically cut back the heating or cooling resources dedicated to that space resulting in energy conservation.
The last aspect of going net zero is choosing the right appliances. We always look to reduce consumption by using high-efficiency appliances with Energy Star ratings. Whether it's your refrigerators, dryers or dishwashers, we adopt a conservation approach and choose appliances with low energy requirement and carbon footprint.
How Can New York Engineers Help
Net zero buildings are not just a norm, but they are also becoming required. For instance, all residential buildings in California should be net zero by 2020 and commercial buildings by 2030. As the trends suggest, other states may also mandate net zero constructions in the near future.
New York Engineers have been working with the concept of net zero even before the certifications came into vogue. We have used sustainable design approaches for years to create green and energy-efficient buildings all across the nation and even internationally.
Our team of expert engineers and architects have coordinated and collaborated to design countless successful net zero buildings that achieved the Zero Energy Building (ZEB) Certification. Our smart design solutions are available to homeowners and businesses of all sizes looking forward to joining the battle against climate change.
Not only that, but our net zero designs have also led to reduced overheads and considerable savings to both commercial and residential clients. We have also created effective operational plans for net zero building owner's business needs with a clear path set out for the occupant cooperation. Together, we can create a world where our future generations can live and thrive without fearing the negative consequences of our man-made actions.
Get in touch with us to discuss how to achieve your net zero certification goals.