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19 February 2010

Net-Zero Buildings...Within Limits

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Renewable energy sparks debate and discussion well beyond the industry itself. Given this broad and rich cultural context, Defining Renewables offers thought leaders from outside the industry an opportunity to express how they view and think about renewable energy

Architectural design has changed such that a pleasing form is no longer sufficient as a generator of a building's design. Increasingly the natural forces of the sun, rain and wind are determinants as we try to harvest light, water and air when needed by the building and reject them when they are not required. But modern buildings (and occupants) need more than these raw forms of energy for comfort and productivity. Converting some of this raw energy to electricity or heat has become a must.

The cutting edge of the architectural community has embraced "net-zero" energy buildings as the loftiest goal in sustainable design. As a result, renewable energy in the form of photovoltaics and small wind turbines (mostly in concept, with few actual examples in practice) is increasingly common on and around buildings. What this focus on net-zero produces is a limited energy supply which yields the requirement for a very low-energy building.

(Renewable Energy World)

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