sdaarchi SDA Architect Net Zero Energy Buildings in Green and Sustainable House Floor Plans

Certifying Bodies for Net Zero Energy Buildings

The certifying bodies for Net Zero Energy Buildings in the US A are :
A) Department of Energy
, DOE, an equivalent to the Malaysian Ministry of Energy
B) Zero Energy Commercial Building consortium
C) New Building Institute. NBI
A nonprofit organization that provides research and improved energy performance in commercial buildings
D)International Living Future Institute

The Programs surrounding the Net Zero Energy Buildings are :
1)2030 Challenge
The top 80% of 10 Architectural firms and 70% of the top 20 Architectural firms use The Challenge 2030.whereby all developments, new buildings and major renovation shall be carbon neutral by 2030 in the US and thereby reducing the temperature by 2 degree below the pre-industrial times.Net Zero Energy Buildings are also refereed too as Zero Energy Buildings.

2)Ashrae Vision 2020
Ashrae is a strong supporter of NZEB, and where Ashrae Vision 2020 was developed to promote energy Efficiency. NZE is defined as uses as much energy as it produces as measured at the site.

The Industry Codes and Regulations  surrounding the Net Zero Energy Buildings  in the world are: 
1)Security Act of 2007
2)Energy Independence and Security Act( Malaysian Renewable Energy Act)
3)California Public Utilities Commission
4)Massachusetts Zero Energy Building Task Force

5)European Union
The parliament passed a directive to achieve NZE by 2019 but focused on residential buildings and not commercial buildings: UK-Zero Carbon Hub to be carbon neutral by 2016, Germany-Passivhaus, Netherlands-energy neutral by 2020, France to be Energy positive by 2020.

The Building Codes surrounding the Net Zero Energy Buildings  in the USA are:  
1)IgCC– International Green Construction Code
This code is developed in conjunction with AIA,USGBC (MGBC-a Malaysian equivalent body –Malaysian Green Building Council) , 2)ASHRAE,ASTM,IES
3)CalGreen, California Green Building
4)Standard 189.1

The Building rating and Energy Labelling Systems surrounding the Net Zero Energy Buildings  in the USA are:

1) Energy Star
Is an energy labelling program of EPA( Environmental Protection Agency) and DOE( Department of Energy) It labels energy efficient products, homes, and commercial buildings. It scores on a table of 1 to 100.100 is a top performer. Energy Star does not recognize NZEBs. But the NZEB would score 90 in this program.
2) Leed/Green Building Index
The energy efficiency is the first and primary focus of the certification, one cannot obtain a platinum certification without designing for a high performance building. Incidentally the Net Zero building would easily obtain the Platinum with a marginal additional cost
3) Living Building Challenge by International Living Future Institute
Defines Imperatives for Net Zero Energy:

  • Net Zero Energy-if this imperative is not achieved it will not be qualified for the Living Building Challenge. The definition of NZEB are on: renewable energy, photo voltaic, wind turbines, water powered micro turbines, direct geo thermal. Biomass or combustion of any kind is not allowed. Hydrogen cell is allowed if energy is fueled by Hydrogen. Off grid connection is a must.
  • Site Imperatives-Site is restricted for gray fields and brownfields
  • Equity Imperatives-fresh air, sunlight and natural waterways
  • Beauty Imperatives-Beauty, spirit, inspiration and education


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Prepared by Ar. Perumal Nagapushnam

eco sustainable home using photovoltaic solar panel

eco sustainable home

What is Eco Green Homes Design

An Eco Home is rating scheme in UK for encouraging low-impact on the environmental home designs and build homes using materials and technology that reduces its greenhouse effect and lowers its energy needs.It rating is based on Energy,Transport,Pollution,Water,Land Use and Ecology,Health and Well being and Management.
Going Green with homes are related to using material that affect the environment and energy savings, see the difference between Net Zero Energy Architect to Green solutions

Eco has reference to the ecological in the environment, therefore it is using the landscaping and green ecological strategies to enhance the environment’s sustainability.

Hence Eco Green House suggest that house that maintains the natural green environment in a house, applying the principal of reduce, recycle and reuse as in produce clean air, healthier environment, improving quality of water, more energy efficiency and minimize waste. green environmental design as in friendly and sustainable. The focus is in energy conservation, improving water and air quality and using building materials which helps to achieve these purposes of energy savings or improving water and air quality. so that we can lives well without needlessly damaging the environment using ecological strategies.

Types of Eco Green Homes

There’s two types of Eco Green house designs, namely:
Eco friendly house designs, Eco friendly home literally refers to minimizing harm to the environment by using eco friendly materials.
Sustainable Eco house designs , Sustainable Eco home means environment conscious design to comply with the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability of the environment.

The Eco green home make use of the available resources such as wind, water and sun to lower the environmental impact and reduce the energy consumption.
For following instances are the case:

The main facade and the larger window should face at south during summers in the temperate areas And in the east, west and north have to place a few small windows to prevent heat loss. An the small opening have to be on the north side to help cooling.
In the tropics the FACADE should be aligned along the east west direction minimizing heat gain of the building and windows should be facing the rising sun and large window are avoided in the setting suns side of the homes.
Solar panels are also used to recycle the solar energy to produce electricity and hot water.
Use Natural day light harvesting will enable a savings of about 20% of energy bills.
Energy Efficient light fittings are also used in this Eco Green home design to save electricity. These may be high performance LED lights .


Eco Green Homes designs may use the cross ventilation by the prevailing winds to cool the house using a wind tunnel.
Mini wind turbine energy for residential use to produce electricity.Tubines can generate electricity where there is sufficient winds. Read on factors that make the wind turbine work.

Eco Green Homes are designed to collect rain water from the roof into drums or collection tanks and reuse it as portable water.How this is done may vary from one to another.
Bios-vales can also be used to collect water and to dispense the water a little by little for the landscape areas instead of running off tot the streams as this minimizes the flooding the rivers with run offs. This options also reduces the option to installing over-site water tanks to retain the overflowing of the streams.
Bios-vales can also be used a replacement for external drains as it will serve as a collection point and discharged or retained for future use.Remember that external drains if poorly built can breed mosquitoes and rats which can be a sources of spread of pest related diseases.
Bios-vales can also be used as underground retaining ponds and treated water can be recycled as drinking water. Contact us for more information on bios-vales
Waste water is also treated to produce clean and reusable water.

Other Factors for Energy Savings strategies in Eco Green Homes:

1)Insulating from the sun

Energy is saved on heating and cooling of house by insulating the walls and ceiling well. Super insulation of homes will keep the heat in during winters and keep the heat out during summers. Insulation acts as a barrier both against the undesired heat and cold air from outside and reduce possible leaks inside the home. With good insulation you can make financial savings of the energy bill up to 20-30%.

2)Thermal Zones

Materials that are used in Eco Green homes have walls of high thermal insulting character- high resistivity, and with an air chamber spaces created , to act as thermal zones to control the heat gain and lost of heat, such as Trombe Wall.
Glass walls are double glazing to give a greater insulation as the air in between the glasses are a good insulating matter . Besides, shading element for that house are important to prevent the unwanted heat gains.

Eco friendly and sustainable green house

3.)Eco strategies-Living Roof

Another good solution for improving thermal resistivity on roofs is to cover them with plants, or geothermal heating as it takes the advantage of maintaining the temperature that earth has thermal insulation, thermal inertia. This is called living roof, Living roofs are excellent noise insulators, reduce pollution from dust and other agents and provide a natural habitat for local fauna. The roof also collects the rainwater and processes the water clean for consumption, the water can be diverted into bios-vales.
Presence of plants ensures optimal air quality due to the purifying effect of the plant masses and many other benefits, Read the benefits of ecological strategies..

Eco-friendly  homes are homes that support the Green strategies.

4.)Renewable -Biomass Energy for Eco Green Homes

Biomass material available in the neighborhood can generate energy for heating and cooling the building. There’s many advantages to biomass. The Biomass Energy is cleaner than energy generated from fossil fuel oil and electricity, and from the environmental perspective the biomass stoves are less cleaner and less polluting than convectional energy from fossil fuel. It may be cheaper pending the sources of biomass.

5.)Green Material used in Eco Green Homes

Eco green home would mean a healthier home too as materials free of the volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde are used.Materials such paint solvents, glues, silicone, etc such as non-toxic materials, odorless paint and solvent-free materials free of the volatile which is harmful to occupants and the environment.

6.)Waste is reduced, recycled and reused in Eco Green Homes

. It has many benefits by minimizing waste. The designs are following the principles of reduce, recycle and reuse to produce a healthier, cleaner and better quality environment. This design can also provide a high energy efficiency living area, more valuable over long term, more delightful to come home.

Eco green home design principles are a new concept as a response to the demands of the global call for climate changes and climate warning. Hence this principle can be adopted into any homes styles such as modern green home designs, cottage green home designs and mountain green home designs.

Written by Winnie Kong. of Saito College and Ar Perumal Nagapushnam, Eco Green architect.