Does Zero Energy Pay Back in Hot Humid Climates?

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We undertook an energy simulation and net present value study of 6 actual buildings designed by our architecture firm for green certification in the Texas Gulf Coast. Our object was to simulate them as net-zero energy buildings, and determine whether net-zero makes sense from a financial standpoint. We also looked at the financial value of the “extreme” energy efficiency upgrades required to bring the buildings to zero energy. We determined that net-zero is a good investment when looked at over the lifetime of the building- which we assumed to be 25 years. The “extreme” energy efficiency measures alone are a positive investment at between 10-13 years. This indicates that owners willing to tolerate a 10-13 year payback should design buildings to be “net-zero ready” today. In coming years, as renewables become more efficient and affordable, these buildings can be converted to zero energy. Julie Hendricks and Kapil Upadhyaya work together at Kirksey EcoServices, where combined they have facilitated the integrated sustainable design process on more than 40 completed LEED certified projects. Julie Hendricks has spoken at numerous conferences since 2008, including CATEE 2009 and CleanTech 2009, and has had several media appearances. Kapil performs energy, envelope and daylight modeling at Kirksey, and has spoken on the subject to numerous groups including AIA Austin and the 16th Hot & Humid Symposium.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: Technical Proceedings of the 2011 Clean Technology Conference and Trade Show
Published: June 13, 2011
Pages: 359 - 362
Industry sectors: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing | Energy & Sustainability
Topicss: Materials for Sustainable Building, Sustainable Materials
ISBN: 978-1-4398-8189-7