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ENERGY AND ARCHITECTURE

Schools get smarter with first Zero-energy classrooms

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‘Green Building: First Zero Energy Classroom Debuts in Boston’

Planet Earth is in big need of a greener environment for thousands of reasons. Green technology is the much awaited and of course the need of the hour. Well the wait is over; the Zero-energy has arrived to revolutionize the world,because it is better, greener, faster and cheaper than any one could have ever predicted. A San Fransisco based project called FROG is bringing to life, the biggest ideas of green building.The ‘FROG Zero’ is all about making green, easy and affordable.

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‘Project FROG to revolutionize the world with Zero-Energy’

Frog, the world’s first zero-energy building system will be introduced at the Greenbuild, a place where every year thousands of the world’s biggest brains in green building, gather to understand the most sustainable green building products and technologies. School of the future by FROG, incorporates the ideal learning environment into the greenest and the most sustainable commercial buildings. It is a flexible design approach that provides no carbon emission, hundred percent thermal comforts and above all it has the capacity to return five times its energy use through active solar power generation.

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‘Solar Power leading the way for a Green World’

Greening the world is a major concern for every country. Towards that end, Zero-energy is a simple and a cost effective solution.

 

The Rafflesia House by Zoka Zola - Competition Winning Zero Energy Design in Malaysia

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In 2007, eight designers were asked to submit two designs for an international competition for Zero Energy Housing, on six sites in the middle of Sentul Park in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. From sixteen designs six designs were chosen to be constructed.

The project is envisaged as one of the the first showcases of Sustainable Zero Energy Housing in the world. The competition brief called for houses that work in harmony with the environment, are made from renewable materials, create their own energy, and recycle water.

Beside requirements that the houses are zero energy, the competition called for innovative and extraordinary designs that contribute to the legacy of contemporary architecture.

The South China Morning Post said: “This project will become as important of a permanent exhibition for sustainable contemporary architecture as the Weissenhofsiedlung Exhibition of 1927 was for the modern movement in architecture last century.” (Nov 16, 2007)

The Rafflesia House by Zoka Zola - Competition Winning Zero Energy Design in Malaysia

Competition Winning Zero Energy Design: The Rafflesia House by Zoka Zola

Chicago-based Zoka Zola Architecture + Urban Design is one of the winning design teams whose proposal “Rafflesia House” was selected for construction.

This is how Zoka Zola describe their project:

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Our wining design (unintentionally) looks like the Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world and a native to the rainforests of Malaysia. (Rafflesia used to be Malaysian national symbol, but it is now replaced by Petronas Towers.) The Rafflesia develops from the bud into a flower over a period of nine months. The blossom is pollinated by flies attracted by its scent, which resembles that of the carcass. The flower lasts for only a few days. Rafflesia challenges traditional definitions of what a plant is because it lacks chlorophyll and is therefore incapable of photosynthesis. Rafflesia is a parasite. It did not begin its life as a parasite, but evolved this lifestyle. Biologists do not know what the Rafflesia’s function is in its ecosystem.

Site PlanThis mystery incites one of the most elementary questions: What is the function of the humans in the world’s ecosystem?

Rafflesia House is a study of the human habitat that is an integrated part of its tropical, urban, and site-specific ecosystem.

We searched and re-examined the ideas of the right balance between the connection of the building to the outside and the shelter the building provides from the outside elements: plants, creatures, rain, sun, wind, or heat. We designed this house with an interest to understand real human needs relieved from burdens of pre-assumptions, but with an intent to house the whole human complexity.

The building sits on 12 columns to allow other species to develop around it.

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Bird Island: Zero Energy Home in Kuala Lumpur

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Bird Island

Bird Island is a stunning urban renewal project that is currently being developed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Designed by Graft Lab architects for the YTL Green Home Competition, the project comprises a zero energy home made of sustainably-sourced silicone glass fabric. Its lightness and flexibility will allow it to sway organically with the breeze just like a treetop, and slots in the fabric will give visitors a unique peek into the sky as the wind ebbs and flows.

Bird Island

The YTL Green Homes Competition challenged eight architects and designers from around the world to submit designs for six eco-friendly homes on Bird Island. Graft Lab’s proposal is an airy voluminous structure that utilizes a variety of energy-efficient building practices. The building consists of a lightweight bamboo frame wrapped in a tensile, environmentally-friendly fabric. The material reflects sunlight, keeping the interior cool and reducing the need for AC. Bird Island will also be outfitted with a grey water recycling system that channels water from sinks and showers back into the plumbing.

Bird Island

Graft states: “We have applied an integrated strategy of developing a zero-energy house that seamlessly dovetails the economic and environmental advantages of environmentally friendly living with the needs of a demanding and cosmopolitan clientele. The environmental and economic features of this way of living do not conflict with our client’s lifestyle; rather it furthers their ability to comfortably enjoy their time at home.”

As of yet, no construction date has been set.

+ Graft

+ Bird Island

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Zero-Energy Buildings

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 Zero-Energy Buildings

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A zero energy building (ZEB) or net zero energy building is a general term applied to a building's use with zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions annually. Zero energy buildings can be used autonomously from the energy grid supply – energy can be harvested on-site. The net zero design principle is overlaid on the requested comfort of the building occupant. Generally, the more extreme the exposure to the elements the more energy is needed to achieve a comfortable environment of human use.

The zero fossil energy consumption principle is gaining considerable interest as renewable energy harvesting is a means to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Traditional building use consumes 40% of the total fossil energy in the US and European Union.[1][2] In developing countries many people have to live in zero-energy buildings out of necessity. Many people live in huts, yurts, tents and caves exposed to temperature extremes and without access to electricity. These conditions and the limited size of living quarters would be considered uncomfortable in the developed countries.

The modern evolution of zero-energy buildings

The development of modern zero-energy buildings became possible not only through the progress made in new construction technologies and techniques, but it has also been significantly improved by academic research on traditional and experimental buildings, which collected precise energy performance data. Today's advanced computer models can show the efficacy of engineering design decisions.

Illinois Gable House Takes 2nd Prize in Solar Decathlon

Energy use can be measured in different ways (relating to cost, energy, or carbon emissions) and, irrespective of the definition used, different views are taken on the relative importance of energy harvest and energy conservation to achieve a net energy balance. Although zero energy buildings remain uncommon in developed countries, they are gaining in importance and popularity. The zero-energy approach has potential to reduce carbon emissions, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Most ZEB definitions do not include the emissions generated in the construction of the building and the embodied energy of the structure. So much energy is used in the construction of a new building that this can dwarf the operational energy savings over its useful life.

A building approaching net zero-energy use may be called a near-zero energy building or ultra-low energy house. Buildings that produce a surplus of energy during a portion of the year may be known as energy-plus buildings.

If the building is located in an area that requires heating or cooling throughout parts of the year, it is easier to achieve net zero-energy consumption when the available living space is kept small.

Definitions

Despite sharing the name zero energy building, there are several definitions of what ZEB means in practice, with a particular difference in usage between North America and Europe.[3]

Net zero site energy use
In this type of ZEB, the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable energy sources is equal to the amount of energy used by the building. In the United States, “zero energy building” generally refers to this type of building.
Net zero source energy use
This ZEB generates the same amount of energy as is used, including the energy used to transport the energy to the building. This type accounts for losses during electricity transmission. These ZEBs must generate more electricity than net zero site energy buildings.
Net zero energy emissions
Outside the United States and Canada, a ZEB is generally defined as one with zero net energy emissions, also known as a zero carbon building or zero emissions building. Under this definition the carbon emissions generated from on-site or off-site fossil fuel use are balanced by the amount of on-site renewable energy production. Other definitions include not only the carbon emissions generated by the building in use, but also those generated in the construction of the building and the embodied energy of the structure. Others debate whether the carbon emissions of commuting to and from the building should also be included in the calculation.
Net zero cost
In this type of building, the cost of purchasing energy is balanced by income from sales of electricity to the grid of electricity generated on-site. Such a status depends on how a utility credits net electricity generation and the utility rate structure the building uses.
Net off-site zero energy use
A building may be considered a ZEB if 100% of the energy it purchases comes from renewable energy sources, even if the energy is generated off the site.
Off-the-grid
Off-the-grid buildings are stand-alone ZEBs that are not connected to an off-site energy utility facility. They require distributed renewable energy generation and energy storage capability (for when the sun is not shining, wind is not blowing, etc). An energy autarkic house is a building concept where the balance of the own energy consumption and production can be made on an hourly or even smaller basis. Energy autarkic houses can be taken off-the-grid.
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