7 Tools for Net Zero Energy by Green Architect

Net Zero Energy Resort

Bentong Cultural Village, Malaysia designed as Net Zero Energy Village with a 680 bed room Hotels, chalets &Indian Villages

7 Tools for Net Zero Energy

We have discussed in other articles about definitions, terms and the broad and misconceptions of Net Zero Energy, in this article I am focusing on the Tool often used in designing the parametric for Net Zero Energy buildings or communities. The 7 Tools for Net Zero Energy are soft-wares, such as Dynamic Energy Modeling, Air Flow Analysis, Wind Driven Rain, Day lighting, Finite Element Modelling, Sun and Shadow Studies. Solar Thermal Systems Design, Photo voltaic System Design, Rainwater Harvesting System Design, Ecotect, Vasari Design Studio and  Therm

Soft-wares-7 Tools for Net Zero Energy Dynamic Energy Modelling

DesignBuilder, a software developed recently. It is a state of the art software tool for checking building energy, building carbon foot print, lighting and comfort levels. The software simulates real time situation and compares performance levels of each parametric. It interfaces with by EnergyPlus a software developed by  DOE, Department of Energy, USA.

DesignBuilder gives environmental performance data during all stages of the design process. It is a great contribution to the 7 Tools for Net Zero Energy.

TOOL 1) Air Flow Analysis

CFD, Computerized Fluid Dynamics is a tool to analyze the flow of air flow and heat transfer within the building and in the external sides of the building. This studies can be used for Mechanical Engineers for air conditioning studies, for ventilation purposes for architects and the wind load on external cladding and external microclimate where heat island are detected and it can be eliminated by designing the layouts. These are some of issues CFD will address:
a) temperature distribution along the atrium, b)the adequacy of the diffusers for air distribution, c) adequacy of air conditioning diffusers and outlets for comfort, d)the adequacy of natural ventilation, e)the effect of wind speed in the locality affected by the shape of the building f) stale air islands are discovered.

TOOL 2) Wind Driven Rain, WDR

The negative effect of humidity and hygrothermal situation are predicted early, that which affects the durability of buildings. The covered area for the pedestrians, protection during a storm is studied. by studying the intensity and spiral distribution of driving rain.

Tool 3) Finite Element Modelling

Soft-wares such as Therm 6.3 and Window 5 are state of the art computer soft-wares that analyses details of building, windows, walls, sills etc to discover sources of  losses of heat (during winters) or sources of heat is gain(during summers)

This software was developed by Lawerence Berkely National Laboratory

Tool 4) Sun and Shadow Studies

The soft-wares are google sketch up,Ecotect,Rhino/Grasshoper, and Honeybee/Ladybug

Understanding the building sun and shadow will help to discover sides of the building that needs to insulated from heat gain or heat loss.The shadow analysis will help to evaluate the effect of window and shading devices that keep the building comfortable.

Tool 5) Solar Thermal Systems Design

Softwares used are T*SOL, PRO.It is a program that simulates accurately the  heat gained over the year and calculates the amount of energy that is needed to maintain comfort

Tool 6) Day lighting Soft-wares

Daylight factors, dynamic  and climate based indices(Spatial daylight automation, useful daylight illumination, daylight availability) are studied . Standard report detailing eligibility for Energy and Environmental performance in Leed. are provided. And Photo realistic situation and daylight simulation are studied.

Tool 7) Photo-voltaic System Design

PV*SOL is a software that is used to study the optimum amount of solar panels that are needed .

Call us at +60172246901 or contact us via our email peru@sda-architect.com for further queries with respect to designing for Net Zero Energy Designing or pertaining to queries on the  above software 7 Tools for Net Zero Energy

Green architect

Green architect



Book our seminar for Net Zero Energy and Zero carbon Seminar here,click here

Check out our Green and Sustainable House Floor Plans,Click Here


Prepared by Architect Perumal Nagapushnam

Case of Net Zero Energy Building all over the world
Many are skeptical about the reality of Net Zero Energy Building Design. As such I though it is best to show you the buildings which have achieved the Net Zero Energy Building Design status. This Net Zero Energy Building Design approaches and strategies has become a trend world wide as the movement is catching on quire rapidly. Here there are 5 cases of the strategies adopted world over from Indonesia, Malaysia to the US.
Case 1

Apartment in NY ( read on Apartment in NY )
The Apartment had 48 apartments of an gross area of 53,000-sq-ft
Approaches to Net Zero Energy Designs strategies(The strategies adopted contrived a 90% reduction of consumption of energy);
• wall and roof insulation,
• window glass with low-e coatings and insulated frames,
• shading of building
• Reduction of infiltration through building skin
• Compartmentalization of ventilation spaces provided the best controlled fresh air into the apartment spaces.
• A high-performance air-source heat pump was introduced as a heating plus cooling system.
• One VRF outdoor condensing unit is recommended per apartment
• Domestic hot water included heat recovery from the drain as a pre-heater and recovering the waste heat from the VRF system by using a heat exchanger.
• Improved zone temperature control and substantially reduced energy usage
• Higher-efficiency cooling/heating
• Improved tenant comfort; potential to sub meter heating, cooling, and DHW
• Resiliency (no boiler on the lower floors); and most important, dramatically lower carbon emissions.
• Lighting strategies include low lighting power density (LPD) design solutions while maintaining acceptable levels of illumination. Where applicable, occupancy sensors and bi-level lighting controls are evaluated. The most efficient available appliances are considered for apartments and common areas.
• Solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays
• High performing Appliances s such as : refrigerators, Clothes dryer, Television and TV set-top (cable) boxes


Case 2

The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington, 6 storey Office block of approx 60,000ft2

Approaches to Net Zero Energy Building Design strategies:
• Day lighting harvesting
• geothermal heating and cooling,
• Operable windows and other measures to increase its energy efficiency.
• increase the height of each floor of the building to allow for improved day lighting further into the core of the structure,
• Reducing the need for heat-generating light fixtures.
• Geothermal and radiant floor heating & cooling are used to efficiently moderate temperatures
• The BMS controls the heating & cooling , the window shades, operable windows , composting, water treatment, and ventilation.
• photo voltaic used to create renewable energy
Case 3
Pusat Tenaga Malaysia Zero Energy Office Building ( PTM ZEO)

The area of building was 43,000sq ft averaging BEI of 35kW/sqm.year with a reduction of 80% of the national average BEI
It is the world’s first net zero energy commercial office building.

Approaches to Net Zero Energy Designs strategies :
• Double-pane windows reducing heat gain and provide day light harvesting.
• Energy efficient building envelope.
• Day lighting with controls of blinds and light shelves.
• High efficiency pumps and fans.
• Desiccant heat wheel DE-humidification.
• Energy efficient office equipment.
• Concrete slab thermal cooling and storage.
• Wet/ trickling water night cooling roof.
• Phase change thermal storage.
• photo voltaic used to create renewable energy
Case 4

NREL Building, USA

The floor area is about Area-360,000sq ft , energy use intensity target of the new building is 35 kBtu/SF/year, (110kWh/m2/year)
Approaches to Net Zero Energy Building Designs strategies :
The largest commercial Net-Zero Energy Building in the United States
Energy performance for the facility is 50% better than ASHRAE 90.1 standards.
• orientation of the building to minimize heat gain and
• maximize day lighting harvesting
• operable triple-glazed windows,
• hydronic heating and cooling using thermal slabs, and
• demand-controlled outside air system with energy recovery.
• a combination of evaporative cooling,
• outside air ventilation,
• waste heat capture
• efficient servers
• The data center has a remarkable power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.12 compared to a national average of 1.91
• photo voltaic used to create renewable energy 2.5 MW solar PV rooftop and parking canopy
Case 5

Pertamina Building
There Pertamina Building , a 99 storey office tower will be a Net Zero Energy Building

Approaches to Net Zero Energy Building Designs strategies :
• A ‘wind funnel generate energy.
• The tower’s curved facade will reduce the heat gain throughout the year.
• Exterior sun shades will dramatically improve the workplace environment
• Artificial lighting in the office
• photo voltaic used to create renewable energy
Other case are reported here read on: http://living-future.org/casestudies
Prepared by Net Zero Energy Building Architect Perumal Nagapushnam