Toward Nearly Zero Energy Building Designs: A Comparative Study of Various Techniques

Document Type : Research Article


Department of Civil Engineering, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran



Global warming is a very serious issue that most countries in the world are facing its consequences; the construction industry has a significant impact on global warming by emitting greenhouse gases (GHG). The construction industry began to recognize the impact of its activities on the environment during the 1990s, and has faced some challenges towards more sustainable buildings with minimal environmental damage. One of the practicable ways to reduce energy and GHG emissions is to use a relatively new approach called Zero/Near zero buildings. To achieve zero energy buildings (ZEB), building energy demand should be initially minimized, and then met by renewable energy resources. Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems represent a large share of buildings’ energy consumption. Construction materials can also attenuate the consumption if appropriately selected. In this paper, the assessment of the energy performance of a building located in Tabriz is studied, considering two case studies where different HVAC systems and construction materials are used. Moreover, the efficiency of Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) and Bio Phase Change Materials (BioPCMs) in energy consumption, and in sustainable development was also assessed. It was found that case No.2, where PCM and AAC is incorporated into the building simultaneously, can reduce natural gas and electricity consumption by 139 MWh and 8.4 MWh, respectively, compared to the conventional construction. The availability of this system and materials allows building designers and project teams to manage the sustainable design and construction, and energy performance of their building in the early stages of project operation.


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