Effective Strategies for High Performance Buildings (HPB) and Net Zero Buildings (NZB)
Most Significant Energy Improvement Opportunities are found in the following 4 Common Measures.
1 . Heat Pumps - In Canadian and Northern US Climates heat pumps lower a building’s annual heating energy consumption by 60% as heat pumps create 2.5 kW of heat for every kW of electricity supplied. Heat pumps can be used for Domestic Hot Water and Space heating. Heating loads (space heating and domestic hot water) are generally 80% or more of a building's energy load.
2. Solar Panels - Electricity's average cost is $.15/kWh. The lifetime cost of solar power (capital cost/lifetime energy production) is $.08/kWh. Natural gas costs about $.055/kWh (when the equipment cost is included in the operating cost). However combine the excellent COP (Coefficient of Performance) of heat pumps with the lower cost of solar power and heating costs drop below the cost of heating with natural gas ($.050/kWh) and produce no Green House Gas (GHG) emissions unlike Natural Gas. A typical natural gas heated 2,000 sq ft house in Ottawa produces 6.6 tons of GHG emissions annually. NZBs eliminate these GHGs. For reference a typical gasoline powered car produces 4.2 tons of GHG emissions annually.
3. Additional Insulation – Some buildings have poor insulation (no to little insulation on basement walls or attics or in walls). Retrofitting an existing building to be a NZB only requires typically code minimal insulation levels.
4. Exhaust Air and Sewage Energy Recovery – Healthy buildings require fresh air. As the addition of fresh air requires an equal displacement of exhaust air. Most buildings have a significant energy loss though the displacement of conditioned air (heated in the winter and cooled in the summer). Sometimes energy recovery equipment can be installed in buildings to recovery energy with attractive payback periods. Similarly sewage water is released from buildings in the winter at 20 C. Sometimes energy can be recovered from sewage at attractive paybacks.
Net Zero Energy Building Planning - Net Zero Energy means the building produces as much energy as it uses in a year. Most buildings can be economically modified to be a Net Zero (energy) Building (NZB). We can create a plan to move your building (house or larger building) economically to Net Zero by identifying when the above components (and others) in your building or house can be economically replaced with newer more sustainable equipment. Mostly this happens after the older technology equipment requires replacement (like when your furnace, boiler or AC units have reached their end of their life or it can be immediately like installing solar panels to offset your existing annual electricity needs. We identify the economical replacement equipment or components and provide a plan for you to incrementally move your building to a Net Zero Energy requirement powered by renewable energy.
See our fees webpage for Net Zero Planning Costs.