Passive Solar Design
Passive solar buildings are designed to keep occupants at a comfortable temperature using the home’s physical structure and site conditions alone, requiring little or no purchased energy for heating, cooling and ventilation. BRANZ has published a useful factsheet and guide to help with the basics of good passive solar design. This can be accessed here.
Active Solar Design
From a building integrated perspective, there are a large number of examples to be found around the world of projects where special attention was given to the integration of solar heating products into buildings.
The most effective system design will depend on the selection of the most cost-effective solar collector for the application and careful system design. A system that is incorrectly configured may result in stagnation in some sections of the collector array and thus a significant reduction in heat output.
Product and Materials
Specifying products and materials that have achieved ecolabel certifications or other environmental performance standards recognised by the Green Building Rating Systems is worth a significant portion of a Building’s certification. It is vital to get this right, and the standards change between different rating systems and countries. There are tools available, such as EnviroSpec (www.envirospec.nz) to ensure you find the right products. EnviroSpec is an organisation specialised in this regard and it acts as an independent verifier of product claims, publishing the potential points any given product could contribute towards your Green Building Rating.
An important part of designing power systems is understanding what power and energy requirements the project may have, and based on these criteria, suitable power systems can be sized. When using renewables, these fundamentals are key for a successful and efficient design.
Optimizing energy consumption in existing buildings is not always a straight forward task. Often we need to analyze the power demand and energy consumption on an hour by hour basis. There are 8760 hours in a typical year and energy meter readings often come in half or quarter-hourly intervals. We use Energy Lens as our starting point to set energy efficiency benchmarks, analysis of loads and plan load shedding or shifting strategies. More information can be accessed here