As energy demand is rapidly increasing worldwide, new approaches to conserve and create energy are being implemented, one of which is self-sufficient buildings.
What are Self-Sufficient Buildings?
Energy Self-Sufficient refers to the ratio between energy generation and consumption during a certain period. If the ratio is equal to one, it means that the generated energy is equal to the consumed energy during a set period of time. If the ratio is lower than one, it means that the generated energy is not good enough to supply the total energy demand of the building. Since the ratio is below one, extra energy through external sources is needed for the building to run. An example of an extra energy source is a distribution grid. If the ratio is higher than one, it means that the building is generating more energy than its demand. This excess energy could either be stored or sold to a power grid.
Why are Self-Sufficient Buildings better?
Self-sufficient buildings are buildings that produce the energy needed for its functions. The use of Self-sufficient buildings significantly reduces the environmental impact of the building, increases safety, and decreases costs. Since the energy is being created within the building, no external energy is necessary. This cuts down the costs and environmental impact of the external energy. The external energy does not need to be bought, since it is made within the building. The environmental impact also decreases because there is no need for transportation to bring the energy to the building.
Many steps can be taken toward implementing self-sufficient buildings.
To decrease the energy demand in a building:
Switching to the use of highly efficient electrical appliances - decrease 25% energy use
Using motion and occupancy sensors to monitor and switch devices on/off
To increase energy production:
Storing the energy in energy storage systems: batteries, solar water heaters
Increasing the use of efficient renewable energy technologies
Installing solar/renewable energy tech on roofs, facades, and windows
Self-sufficient buildings are the future of buildings. They provide a promising solution for buildings to create their own energy, as opposed to receiving energy from an external source. With their significant positive impacts, self-sufficient buildings decrease energy demand, increase energy production, and decrease environmental impacts.