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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Innovative Net Zero Technologies Shaping a Sustainable Tomorrow

Reducing our carbon footprint and inching towards net zero targets must be prioritized, and together, we can begin to create a sustainable future for the industry.

Over the past few decades, there has been a rapid increase in population, which has led to a significant rise in commercialization. Around the world, the demand for residential, commercial and industrial spaces have increased, led by thriving employment opportunities, higher disposable income, booming businesses and a desire for quality living. In our quest for advancement, we have over-utilized resources and adversely impacted the environment. The global real estate sector is, today, responsible for over 40% carbon emissions caused by the construction process and building operations. 

The realization of the adverse effects compelled industries and companies to come together and deliberate over sustainable solutions that will aid in reversing the damage caused and preserving the environment and resources for the coming generations. Industry leaders, experts and policymakers drafted solutions that can be implemented at various stages of the development cycle. Stakeholders of the real estate sector are driving sustainable initiatives that will maximize the potential of the real estate asset while causing minimum harm to the environment. 

Net-zero energy buildings

The concept is the net-zero energy buildings (NZEB) is one of the endeavors that will be implemented in our future projects to reduce carbon emissions in the sector. It requires the following examinations during the designing stage. 

– Improvement in the building envelope

A high-performance building envelope system is one of the elements integrated into Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) design, where the main objective is to minimize energy consumption. Building orientation has an important role in minimizing HVAC loads. In addition, shades/overhangs are used to reduce direct sun rays. Providing insulation, glazing, double-skin facade, etc., are a few technologies used to refine the building envelope and indoor conditions to suit the location.

– Improvement in the electro-mechanical equipment

Building owners are also achieving net-zero emissions by installing energy-efficient systems including smart thermostats to reduce energy loss using the Internet of Things (IoT). The devices connect to a structure’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. IoT assesses weather predictions in real-time using the internet to regulate indoor temperatures. On cool summer nights, the thermostat may detect climate changes and shut off an HVAC system.

High Efficiency LED lights and day lights or sky Lighting will reduce the actual power consumption. Using low energy consumption equipment such as EC motors, VFD drives, radiant panels, and cooled beams wherever necessary, along with implementing proper insulation, ventilation, sensor-based lighting techniques, motion-based sensor lights are some of the other ways to lower energy consumption. 

IoT solutions in indoor air quality concepts such as monitor PM2.5 dust levels, Co2 content, etc. define the wellbeing degree of employees along with occupancy criteria in the building for effective usage of the space. 

Building owners can also minimize resource exploitation by installing rainwater harvesting systems, a process that collects storm runoff in barrels. Depending on the water’s potential use, a pump filters the liquid to irrigation systems or filters. Advanced purification technologies convert the stormwater into accessible, non-potable supply that decreases the reliance on city water sources. 

– Improvement in renewable energy techniques

The concept is to generate the power through wind or solar to equalize the actual power requirement for the building envelope by installing solar panels on the roof of the structure. Wind turbines, too, on the buildings will harness wind energy that will meet the power requirements. Use of fuel cells, battery backup systems, and DG sets with LNG connections will substantially reduce the power requirement from EB and reduce the carbon emissions.
Additionally, new-age concepts of generating power through PV panels on bus shelters or façades of buildings are also proving to be effective.

Application of New HVAC technologies in Commercial Buildings

When it comes to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), many technologies have emerged to make it more effective. However, up until now, the HVAC technologies have been great for the consumer but pretty harmful for the environment. While we have been successful in controlling the temperature, humidity and even air purification in indoor spaces, some conventional technologies have proven to release greenhouse gas emissions that have caused an adverse impact on the surroundings. 

The power consumption by HVAC equipment and technologies is massive, and to reduce this, the emerging Radiant Technologies are going to be implemented in our future projects. 

Radiant Technologies is the mixed use of radiant panels and chilled beams that, when implemented, will bring down the power consumption by almost 30%. The radiant panels, that occupy around 30% of the office area, is a cooling arrangement where sensible and latent loads are decoupled and handled independently. High temperature chillers are employed for sensible heat removal and low temperature chillers employed for latent heat removal, together, bringing down the overall HVAC energy consumption. 

Similarly, chilled beams are installed that result in reduced cooling loads, lower duct sizes, lesser space requirements, noise reduction, lower costs, and a healthier atmosphere, among others. 

The technology, like any other one, is not without its disadvantages. However, these risks are rare and resolvable. They include the risk of condensation and water leakage, difficulty in space reorganization and limited option for false ceiling designs. 

But the advantages far supersede the risks. Here are the significant advantages of having a decoupled HVAC system.

– 30% more efficient than most efficient conventional cooling 
– No recirculation of air-conditioned air resulting in healthier environment
– Requires 75% less air compared to the conventional system
– Higher thermal comfort due to better mean radiant temperature in space
– Pleasant indoor experience – no daft of cold air, no stale recirculated air
– Smaller ducts-less space required above false ceiling
– Lower cooling loads and connected power
– Noise reduction and lesser acoustics

With all stakeholders of the real estate sector opting for green solutions, implementing technologies like these will be viable, prompt and effective. Reducing our carbon footprint and inching towards net zero targets must be prioritized, and together, we can begin to create a sustainable future for the industry. 

Source: colliers.com

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