The energy released from homes and other buildings is a significant contributor to the emission of carbon. Internationally, we are moving towards constructing buildings that are not only technology-rich, but also low-energy or near zero-level buildings – buildings that are designed specially to reduce the need of additional lighting, heating, and cooling.
These low-energy buildings use various sources of renewable energy to reduce the requirement of fossil energy.
Energy Sources in Low-Energy Buildings in the UK
Low-energy buildings, usually, use a combination of different passive building techniques and certain active systems to reduce the greenhouse gases in the environment.
Passive building techniques include the material of which is used in the construction of the building and shape of the building. Whereas, active systems in the building is referred to the use of machinery to reduce the use of energy within a building.
Although using renewable sources of energy can help in decreasing the pollution by emitting lesser carbon dioxide, to make this a more viable option, the amount of energy that is used in a building also needs to be reduced.
One of the examples of passive building techniques could be Passivhaus. This could be defined as a standard by which the overall energy consumed by the buildings is reduced by using passive measures such as air-tightness, proper insulation, solar giants, and high-performing glazing. All of these techniques help in creating an environment which is liveable and comfortable.
In the passive building technique, sun, occupants of the building, heat from the extract air, and household appliances are used to meet the majority of the heat demand.
Although this is a relatively new concept in the UK, low-energy buildings can drop up to 75% of the energy requirement.
A typical home in the UK requires approximately 130kWh/m2 energy for heating every year, whereas, a low-energy house only requires 15kWh/m2 per year. This can help the government of the UK to achieve at least 80% reduction in the CO2 emission.