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Strategies for zero electric bills

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With the advent of technologies and special designs, the days when the electric bill stresses one up are of the far past, writes  Net Zero Energy Building and System design Architect Perumal Nagapushnam. Net zero energy design reduces the waste in electric bills.

The Net Energy Design strategy is making your building more energy efficient. Less wasteful and recycle the waste whenever possible.

  • Firstly by keep the heat out of your building by orientating the building, minimizing the surface expose to direct heat and provide sufficient shading for the building. This wills reduce the electric cooling bill by 20%.
  • Smart landscaping will help reduce consumption
  • By using energy saving systems, monitoring sensors and other systems, the energy is reduced by 20%.
  • With daylight harvesting, we can reduce the energy bill by 15% of the bills. Imagine the amount of lighting levels needed for comfortable reading is 400lux, and in broad mid daylight, the amount light available is about 140,000lux . All we need to harvest a small light for consumption. Modern light fittings enable the light transfer from the external spaces to deep interiors to light up spaces
  • Enabling control systems such as motions sensors, light sensors etc will further reduce energy bill.
  • Controls in the air conditions systems will help  reduce the energy bill by 15% of the total bills
  • Electrical light fitting layouts will also reduce the energy consumption
  • High performance systems and equipment will help reduce the consumption, such as pumps
  • Sub metering helps to review the energy consumption  patterns
  • Effectively insulating the building from gaining heat is studied using soft wares such as Ecotect, Vasari, Design studio.  One is also  able to evaluate the materals to be used to reduce the heat gain or heat loss and thereby reducing energy consumptions.
  • Renewable energy  may be available in the locality such as mini hydro turbines, wind energy , solar energy , biomass waste energy and  geo-thermal energy. These energy which is characteristic of
    the area would be used to provide the energy needed for the building, This will finally make the building net zero in cost or consumption. The data of energy that can be tapped from most parts of the world is available from many climate sources, which can  then be  used to calculate the efficiency of these PV solar panels

All this sounds very simple but in context of large buildings, one has to simulate the building in the computer (energy model) to evaluate the energy consumption before proceeding to the construction.

It is now becoming viable for projects of large scale to be designed for Net Zero Energy , such as Pertamina Tower , 99 levels building in Indonesia and Royal Bentong Cultural Resorts in Malaysia.  Previously it was envisaged that it is was viable only for  small scaled projects and this has now  been proven wrong with the advent of sophisticated software and technologies.


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