Constructing a Net Zero building is no easy task. Whoever achieves that, deserves an honour. However, we can start by practicing sustainable building in many other ways. Sustainable building is the construction of buildings using renewable and recyclable building materials. The main objective is that buildings positively impact the health of our environment and humankind.
Building construction and construction operations have become one of the biggest resources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Greenhouse gas (Carbon dioxide) is the main cause of global warming. This is because carbon dioxide builds up with ongoing human emissions and remains in the atmosphere for centuries.
It may not always be easy, but we need to stop producing carbon as far as possible. With the building trade contributing 30% on average worldwide to the annual carbon footprint, it is not difficult to understand why using timber in houses and buildings as much as possible will greatly assist in offsetting global warming. Of all building materials, timber is the most environmentally friendly, having the lowest energy consumption and carbon footprint.
Net zero energy building
It refers to the construction of buildings using renewable or recyclable materials and renewable energy. The idea is to to produce the same amount of energy it uses. Now, we know it may not always be possible to build an absolute net-zero building all the time. But we can try to get as “near” to net zero as we can during and after construction.
E.g. Hybrid timber construction systems is becoming a trend in building construction as it holds many sustainable benefits. Hybrid construction is generally when wood is combined with other building materials (e.g. steel, concrete and glass) and techniques to deliver a wide range of structural solutions.
3 key factors to consider when designing and constructing a building
Building construction operations are just as important as after the building is built. During construction operations contractors should try to work more sustainable by avoiding the creation of unnecessary waste. Occupants staying in the home should enjoy a healthy lifestyle by continuing to use renewable energy. Fortunately, there are organizations such as PWC Global that promote the urgency and achievability of net-zero carbon buildings.
Here are 3 key components that are important to consider in design and construction:
A high-quality building envelope is key here. Your walls, ceilings, and floors need to be properly insulated. Windows and doors have to be sealed up tight to prevent heat loss.
LED lights are a great option for energy consumption reduction, achieving energy savings of up to 80% compared to other technologies.
Nowadays appliances are manufactured with energy efficiency in mind. To ensure that the appliances you want are energy efficient, look out for the Energy Star label. A product that has been certified by Energy star will be up to 50% more efficient than other appliances.
Solar is the most common way of sourcing energy. Solar technologies convert sunlight into electrical energy either through photovoltaic panels or through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation. Nowadays solar panels can even generate energy in cloudy weather.
Energy detained by the Earth is about 10,000 times greater than the rate at which humankind consumes energy. It can supply heat, cooling, natural lighting, electricity, and fuels for a host of applications.
Using renewable energy
The orientation of the building is important. The building should be able to take full advantage of the sun during both summer and winter times. E.g., Rooms that require a lot of heating/lighting should be placed alongside the northern side and rooms that require less heat/sunlight should be placed along the southern side.
You can bring Natural lighting into a building by adding windows with tall head heights or by adding uniform windows across the entire façade to light the space evenly. Or you can add joint windows that are placed opposite each other to light the entrance from every angle.
You can also orient your entrance door away from the direction of the wind to prevent cold air from entering the building.
Using renewable building materials
One of the simplest ways to capture carbon and reduce CO2 in the atmosphere is by increasing the use of wood in construction. Timber structural systems, such as timber frames or cross-laminated timber. These building systems not only reduce carbon emissions but also reduce building time and waste, improve safety, and cause less disruption in the local area.
Another building method is to combine wood with other sustainable building materials such as stone, or exposed concrete. This is what we call Hybrid timber construction systems. Where natural materials such as timber make a statement that often reflects the exterior features of modern homes.
Thatched roofs are very effective in high-temperature areas with low humidity. They also make a great setting for lapas and entertainment areas, cottages, huge hotels, houses, commercial establishments, heritage centers, holiday villages, game lodges, and more.
This is mainly because they have exceptional self-insolation qualities. With that being said, your building will stay warm when it’s cold outside and cool during the hot days. Thatched roofs are built using CCA-treated Eucalyptus Poles, laths, and Cape thatching reed (dakriet) and grass. These are all natural, renewable materials.
The idea is not to scare you off by forcing you to build sustainably. But to help you realise the importance thereof and to give you a general idea of where to start.
We also realize the negative effects of deforestation and the exhaustion of other natural resources. Therefore, we aim to run our business as sustainably and environmentally friendly as possible. The poles and timber we supply are CCA Pressure Treated. CCA Pressure-treated poles and timber are one of the most valuable aspects of implementing sustainable forestry within the whole industry.
Buying CCA Treated Poles and Timber from us not only means that you are supporting sustainable forestry practices, but you are also reducing your carbon footprint with sustainable building.
Examples of Net zero energy timber buildings
Here are 3 examples of beautiful net-zero buildings that will blow your mind:
Net zero CreekSide Hybrid Timber Home
New Energy Works Timber framers designed a net zero hybrid home (The Creekside) which includes a timber frame. The hybrid timber frame features natural lighting, an on-site photovoltaic (PV) array, and several other elements to help reduce its carbon footprint. It is tuned in with an environment suited for creating artwork, woodworking, and a generally relaxed retirement lifestyle.
The Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) office building
Thanks to Passive House projects, this net zero building was built to take maximum advantage of the sun and shade. It includes windows sized and spaced for optimal daylight and to minimize energy loss. The office includes a photovoltaic array (Solar) on the roof. It that generates all of the necessary energy for the building to operate smoothly while achieving a net zero office design. – Source: Global magazine
Historic Massachusetts Contemporary Home
This home consists of 40 solar panels. They are placed on the roof above the garage – It produces enough energy to cover the home’s annual energy use.
Designed by A3 Architects, the 4,200 square-foot house is also entirely electric from appliances to heating. With double wall construction and triple-glazed windows for tight insulation, all making it 58% more energy-efficient than a standard home.