Buildings consume almost 40% of all electricity generated. That’s a lot.
At the same time, there are many buildings worldwide that claim to be zero energy buildings.
But such claims to zero energy buildings make people wonder what a zero energy building could indeed mean.
Well, the confusion is justified. Surely, a building with amenities required for comfortable living cannot be run on zero energy?
Of course, it cannot be.
What a zero energy building implies is that, the total amount of energy used by the building is the same as the total renewable energy created on the site of the building.
Essentially, it means that the entire building is for all practical purposes run using renewable energy generated right at the building location.
That is, it is a zero energy building as far as the world outside the building is concerned because it does not take any energy from outside its premises.
In fact, a few years back, I had the opportunity to tour the BEDZED, a zero energy building community at Beddington, just outside London. The entire community indeed looked pretty interesting. Predictably, all houses in the community had solar panels on all the buildings, and in addition, a biomass power generation plant within the community. I reckon these things together enabled the community to go “zero energy”.