Renewable energy based energetic systems integration for buildings

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Buildings have a significant impact in energy use and in the environment. In Portugal, 30,2% of final energy and 60,1% of electricity is used in buildings. An empowerment in sustainable construction is being made in Portugal, as architects and designers are becoming aware of the factors that contribute to the building users comfort and welfare. One of the principal characteristics of sustainable construction is the reduced level of both, energy use and CO2 emissions, through all the life cycle of the building. In the construction process, in the demand side management approach, the design of the building’s envelop and energetic systems, can be made in such a way that energy use can be minimized. On the other hand, in the supply side management approach, even if a smaller amount of energy is required to operate an efficient building, if the building is capable to generate the energy required to its operation, through the conversion of a renewable energy resource, a balance between useful energy requirement and useful energy generation can be obtained (the so called Net Zero – energy and, or, emissions – Buildings). Since electricity was discovered, if one new activity requires power load, incremental need of a new fossil-fuel fired power plant has been assumed. Due to the environmental preoccupations and due to the need of societies to get prepared towards a fossil-fuel free economy, strategies to reduce energy inefficiencies must be pursued. Net Zero Energy and Emissions Buildings seem to be a clever way to mitigate the risks of environmental and social sustainability.

Interested in knowing the results of a supply side management simulation made to a non-residential building (a home for the elderly)?

The work consisted in the use of dynamic simulation information of a projected non-residential building (a home for the elderly), in the dimensioning of the RES based integrated solution to provide thermal energy (DHW, ambient heating and ambient cooling).

Without DSM measures CO2 emissions dropped 50 %. However, economical viability was hardly achieved in this subsidized-free project.

Acronym of the case

RES for nearly-zero energy buildings

Lessons learnt

True impact of RES in local and global terms. Hardly achievable economic viability of nearly-zero energy buildings.

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Start date - End date

Monday, 17 May, 2010 to Wednesday, 23 February, 2011

Operational date

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011