Carbon zero carbon positive 449 housing of the future

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Carbon zero, carbon positive
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449 Housing of the future Creating a carbon zero home The ASBEC definition of carbon zero buildings requires that all carbon emissions be offset by on-site renewable energy generation. It can be achieved relatively simply by installing an appropriately sized rooftop solar array or photovoltaic (PV) system (i.e. one that meets all current household needs) but that’s often unaffordable. Achieving carbon zero status cost effectively requires careful design and planning because, while the cost of PV installations has decreased markedly in recent years, this is still a relatively expensive way to offset carbon emissions compared to reducing your energy consumption. Reducing the amount of energy you use and then increasing the efficiency of your home is the most cost effective place to start. If rooftop solar is not affordable at this time, you can still become carbon zero by subscribing to GreenPower or carbon offsets ( see ‘Carbon offsetting’ below ). Design considerations Designing a carbon zero home requires that each design solution be tailored to the specific location to maximise site advantages like solar or cool breeze access and diurnal temperature variations, or to identify alternative solutions when these are not available. Designers should have an understanding of how to incorporate renewable energy sources on site and consider actual energy use — which is affected by both building features and occupant behaviour. Basic principles for designing carbon zero homes used throughout Your Home include: incorporating energy efficiency strategies with renewable energy options from the outset of the project (see Energy use ) choosing a site that allows for renewable energy generation, passive solar heating and cooling, and food production, and reduces transport (see Choosing a site ; Passive solar heating ; Passive cooling ; Transport ) maximising passive design strategies in the design of the home to reduce energy demand (see Passive design ; Passive cooling ) reducing water use — particularly hot water (see the section Water ) choosing appropriate materials that enhance the passive design strategy and have a low embodied energy (see the section Materials ; Embodied energy ). Locking in efficiencies Maximising energy efficiency significantly reduces the amount of renewable energy required to meet your needs without carbon emissions. This improves viability at three levels: physical — reduces roof surface area requirements for PV economic — needs a smaller capacity system environmental — uses fewer resources to manufacture system components. For example, a typical Sydney home uses around 5,000kWh of electricity per year. By applying the simple efficiency measures in the table on the next page, this can be reduced to 3,000kWh — and your PV system could cost 40% less. Energy savings of up to 80% are possible with carefully designed new homes and lifestyle modifications. System size varies depending on solar
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