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

Document Type : Research Article


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

2 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 practical 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 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 AAC and BioPCMs in energy consumption and sustainable development was also assessed. It was found that case No.2, where PCM and AAC are 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.


Main Subjects

[1] Y. Cui, J. Xie, J. Liu, S. Pan, Review of Phase Change Materials Integrated in Building Walls for Energy Saving, Procedia Engineering, 121 (2015) 763-770.
[2] M.K. Nematchoua, A. Marie-Reine Nishimwe, S. Reiter, Towards nearly zero-energy residential neighborhoods in the European Union: A case study, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 135 (2021) 110198.
[3] O.G. Pop, L. Fechete Tutunaru, F. Bode, A.C. Abrudan, M.C. Balan, Energy efficiency of PCM integrated in fresh air cooling systems in different climatic conditions, Applied Energy, 212 (2018) 976-996.
[4] A. D'Alessandro, A.L. Pisello, C. Fabiani, F. Ubertini, L.F. Cabeza, F. Cotana, Multifunctional smart concretes with novel phase change materials: Mechanical and thermo-energy investigation, Applied Energy, 212 (2018) 1448-1461.
[5] H. Omrany, A. Ghaffarianhoseini, A. Ghaffarianhoseini, K. Raahemifar, J. Tookey, Application of passive wall systems for improving the energy efficiency in buildings: A comprehensive review, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 62 (2016) 1252-1269.
[6] T.C.W. Team, R.K. Pachauri, A. Reisinger, IPCC, 2007:Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva, Switzerland, 2007.
[7] A.J. Marszal, P. Heiselberg, J.S. Bourrelle, E. Musall, K. Voss, I. Sartori, A. Napolitano, Zero Energy Building – A review of definitions and calculation methodologies, Energy and Buildings, 43(4) (2011) 971-979.
[8] C. Carpino, R. Bruno, N. Arcuri, Social housing refurbishment in Mediterranean climate: Cost-optimal analysis towards the n-ZEB target, Energy and Buildings, 174 (2018) 642-656.
[9] DIRECTIVE 2010/31/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings (recast), Official Journal of the European Union,  (2010).
[10] S. Moshiri, S. Lechtenböhmer, Sustainable energy strategy for Iran, 2015.
[11] F. Abbasizade, M. Abbaspour, M. Soltanieh, A. Kani, An innovative executive and financial mechanism for energy conservation in new and existing buildings in Iran, International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 17(10) (2020) 4217-4232.
[12] J. Taherahmadi, Y. Noorollahi, M. Panahi, Toward comprehensive zero energy building definitions: a literature review and recommendations, International Journal of Sustainable Energy, 40(2) (2021) 120-148.
[13] S. Verbeke, A. Audenaert, Thermal inertia in buildings: A review of impacts across climate and building use, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 82 (2018) 2300-2318.
[14] J. Xie, W. Wang, J. Liu, S. Pan, Thermal performance analysis of PCM wallboards for building application based on numerical simulation, Solar Energy, 162 (2018) 533-540.
[15] R. Stropnik, R. Koželj, E. Zavrl, U. Stritih, Improved thermal energy storage for nearly zero energy buildings with PCM integration, Solar Energy, 190 (2019) 420-426.
[16] M. Kenisarin, K. Mahkamov, Passive thermal control in residential buildings using phase change materials, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 55 (2016) 371-398.
[17] I. Dincer, M.A. Rosen, Thermal Energy Storage: Systems and Applications, second ed., John Wiley & Sons, United Kingdom, 2010.
[18] I. Sarbu, C. Sebarchievici, A Comprehensive Review of Thermal Energy Storage, Sustainability, 10(1) (2018) 191.
[19] H. Mehling, L.F. Cabeza, Heat and cold storage with PCM, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2008.
[20] J. Kosny, N. Shukla, A. Fallahi, Cost analysis of simple phase change material-enhanced building envelopes in southern US climates, National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States), 2013.
[21] P. Devaux, M.M. Farid, Benefits of PCM underfloor heating with PCM wallboards for space heating in winter, Applied Energy, 191 (2017) 593-602.
[22] Y. Ding, S. Riffat, Thermochemical energy storage technologies for building applications: A state-of-The- Art review, International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies, 8 (2012) 106-116.
[23] X. Sun, J. Jovanovic, Y. Zhang, S. Fan, Y. Chu, Y. Mo, S. Liao, Use of encapsulated phase change materials in lightweight building walls for annual thermal regulation, Energy, 180 (2019) 858-872.
[24] H. Wang, W. Lu, Z. Wu, G. Zhang, Parametric analysis of applying PCM wallboards for energy saving in high-rise lightweight buildings in Shanghai, Renewable Energy, 145 (2020) 52-64.
[25] U. Stritih, V.V. Tyagi, R. Stropnik, H. Paksoy, F. Haghighat, M.M. Joybari, Integration of passive PCM technologies for net-zero energy buildings, Sustainable Cities and Society, 41 (2018) 286-295.
[26] F. Souayfane, P.H. Biwole, F. Fardoun, P. Achard, Energy performance and economic analysis of a TIM-PCM wall under different climates, Energy, 169 (2019) 1274-1291.
[27] R. Saxena, D. Rakshit, S.C. Kaushik, Phase change material (PCM) incorporated bricks for energy conservation in composite climate: A sustainable building solution, Solar Energy, 183 (2019) 276-284.
[28] Z.X. Li, A.A.A.A. Al-Rashed, M. Rostamzadeh, R. Kalbasi, A. Shahsavar, M. Afrand, Heat transfer reduction in buildings by embedding phase change material in multi-layer walls: Effects of repositioning, thermophysical properties and thickness of PCM, Energy Conversion and Management, 195 (2019) 43-56.
[29] Q. Wang, R. Wu, Y. Wu, C.Y. Zhao, Parametric analysis of using PCM walls for heating loads reduction, Energy and Buildings, 172 (2018) 328-336.
[30] S. Ramakrishnan, X. Wang, J. Sanjayan, J. Wilson, Thermal performance of buildings integrated with phase change materials to reduce heat stress risks during extreme heatwave events, Applied Energy, 194 (2017) 410-421.
[31] G.P. Panayiotou, S.A. Kalogirou, S.A. Tassou, Evaluation of the application of Phase Change Materials (PCM) on the envelope of a typical dwelling in the Mediterranean region, Renewable Energy, 97 (2016) 24-32.
[32] A. Baniassadi, B. Sajadi, M. Amidpour, N. Noori, Economic optimization of PCM and insulation layer thickness in residential buildings, Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments, 14 (2016) 92-99.
[33] K.O. Lee, M.A. Medina, X. Sun, X. Jin, Thermal performance of phase change materials (PCM)-enhanced cellulose insulation in passive solar residential building walls, Solar Energy, 163 (2018) 113-121.
[34] M. Saffari, A. de Gracia, C. Fernández, L.F. Cabeza, Simulation-based optimization of PCM melting temperature to improve the energy performance in buildings, Applied Energy, 202 (2017) 420-434.
[35] F. Ascione, N. Bianco, R.F. De Masi, F. de’Rossi, G.P. Vanoli, Energy refurbishment of existing buildings through the use of phase change materials: Energy savings and indoor comfort in the cooling season, Applied Energy, 113 (2014) 990-1007.
[36] M. Alam, H. Jamil, J. Sanjayan, J. Wilson, Energy saving potential of phase change materials in major Australian cities, Energy and Buildings, 78 (2014) 192-201.
[37] F. Kuznik, J. Virgone, Experimental assessment of a phase change material for wall building use, Applied Energy, 86(10) (2009) 2038-2046.
[38] M. Auzeby, S. Wei, C. Underwood, J. Tindall, C. Chen, H. Ling, R. Buswell, Effectiveness of Using Phase Change Materials on Reducing Summer Overheating Issues in UK Residential Buildings with Identification of Influential Factors, Energies, 9(8) (2016) 605.
[41] B. Litterman, What Is the Right Price for Carbon Emissions? The unknown potential for devastating effects from climate change complicates pricing, in, 2013.
[42] R. Khakian, M. Karimimoshaver, F. Aram, S. Zoroufchi Benis, A. Mosavi, A. Varkonyi-Koczy, Modeling Nearly Zero Energy Buildings for Sustainable Development in Rural Areas, Energies, 13 (2020).
[43] A.M. Thiele, A. Jamet, G. Sant, L. Pilon, Annual energy analysis of concrete containing phase change materials for building envelopes, Energy Conversion and Management, 103 (2015) 374-386.