Zero Energy Buildings in another background: Achieving energy efficiency in warm and humid climatic conditions(Invited Speaker)
The implementation of energy efficiency measures as well as the integration of renewable energy systems, on the move towards the Zero (or Nearly Zero) Energy Building is certainly a challenging task. This is even more the case, when buildings are to operate in climaticconditions deviating from the typical Northern and Western European ones, especially with respect to the cooling demand, as it happens in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa or in Southeast Asia.
Energy conscious architectural design is a pre-requisite, as well as the utilization of the building envelope’s thermal properties. But even in the most successful passive buildings, the use of renewable energy systems, as an integral part of the building’s design, is needed in order to achieve Zero energy status. Systems like active solar thermal and geothermal ones can provide the necessary heating and cooling, whilst building integrated PVs can cover the electrical loads, either in terms of consumption or of expenses.
In any case, all those systemshave to be fitted smoothly into the thermodynamic profile of the building’s envelope and operation, implying the use of advanced building automation and controls, as the optimum combination of all this “hardware” is rather difficult to achieve by using “traditional” controls. Finally, understanding the requirements of the user and providing adequate solutions remains the single most important prerequisite, if the design had to be successful and just a simple academic exercise.
Those points will addressed within this paper, on the base of some successful examples of energy efficient buildings, with well integrated energy conservation and utilization systems, but also of some rather unsuccessful ones, as both cases can lead to useful conclusions.