Net zero building design looks to be the direction of the future. A building is considered net zero when it produces as much renewable energy on-site as it consumes on-site on an annual basis. This is achieved by completely neutralizing or positively redressing carbon emissions, water consumption, solid waste to landfill and/or negative ecological impacts. Matt Jarmel, founder and principal of Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers, gives insight into material trends and technologies he and others like him in the industry are seeing that can be utilized in successfully moving towards net zero design and construction.
Flexibility and Sustainability
Flexibility and sustainability are reference points used to gauge the building material industry’s introduction of new processes or technologies and where the industry is heading next. They are also drivers for the transformation of the building industry because as technology evolves, the way we use buildings changes as well. As we move towards net-zero buildings, we need technology capable of bending to those changes. While design-build firms work to create buildings that can be repurposed and reused down the road, new opportunities for building materials companies arise simultaneously. Following are some of the evolving material and technology trends being used in net zero construction:
- Photovoltaic Solar Cells
Used to generate power, these are now being more seamlessly integrated into other building materials such as glass, shingles and roof membranes
- Wind Sail Turbines
Especially useful in skyscraper construction for producing power
- Solar/Thermal Applications
Can be used to generate heat and in combination with boilers and steam turbines, to further reduce energy needs
- Switching from AC to DC & Using LED Lighting
LED lighting uses DC current which is more efficient than AC
- POE (Power Over Ethernet) Lighting
Using a separate ethernet connection that allows for control over lighting in addition to providing the energy to power it
Whatever the building technology or material, it is important for companies in the industry to increase their visibility with the design-build firms who would be most interested in learning about and implementing their offerings. Make sure your company is educating architectural, engineering and construction firms with direct communications involving strategy and a strong web presence. And don’t forget the benefits of making sure the end-user of your product is also well educated. They can be your best brand advocates!