Issue
Renew. Energy Environ. Sustain.
Volume 2, 2017
Sustainable energy systems for the future
Article Number 30
Number of page(s) 6
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/rees/2017004
Published online 08 September 2017

© M.T. Arif and A.M.T. Oo, published by EDP Sciences, 2017

Licence Creative Commons
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1 Introduction

A net-zero emission building refers to a building where yearly average emission becomes zero. Emission from the building depends on how much energy is consumed and what are the sources of energy of the building. Australia’s energy consumption is primarily composed of 94% from fossil fuel and 6% from renewable energy (RE) sources [1]. Australia is world’s 12th largest energy consumer in 2013 and ranked 17th on per person basis [1]. Australia is responsible for around 1.3% of global carbon emission [2], therefore pressure is rising locally and globally to reduce carbon emission. Australia has a target to reduce Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission 5% below 2000 level by 2020 and 26–28% below 2005 level by 2030 [2]. Residential, commercial, mining and services are the second largest energy-consuming sectors [3,4]. Australia has over 9 million homes and projected to 12.7 million in 2036 [5] therefore a significant contribution of GHG emission will continue from these residential buildings if not controlled.

This paper concentrates on the emission reduction from residential buildings. The aim of this paper is to investigate the possibility to achieve a net-zero emission residential building in Geelong, Australia. The weather in Geelong is temperate type according to RP-884 thermal comfort database [6]. In temperate weather region temperature fluctuation is very high in short time therefore overall energy demand is higher around the year. Eventually this energy consumption is directly or indirectly related to GHG emission. In this paper the load demand of a three-bedroom house in Geelong was considered, cost of energy (COE) and grid emission rate was considered to minimize the energy demand and examined how to meet the energy demand from onsite RE such as roof-top solar photovoltaic (PV) to offset the net yearly GHG emission. Comparing various configurations with updated cost and emission data from various sources, an optimised system configuration was identified that makes the three-bedroom house in Geelong as the net-zero emission building.

2 Background

The common form of energy application in a house is for space conditioning, water heating, electrical appliances and for lighting. The common source of the energy for a house is grid connected electricity and/or gas. One of the effects of energy conversion is carbon emission which can be from direct application like combustion in boilers or furnaces onsite or from indirect application associated with consumption like purchasing electricity, heating and cooling. Fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, petroleum oil are mostly explored and utilized source of energy for electricity generation and for most other domestic and commercial applications. As a consequence, GHG or equivalent carbon emission into the atmosphere is increasing [7]. Worldwide energy use in buildings (including houses) accounted for over 40% of primary energy use and that contributes to 24% of GHG emission [8].

Indoor comfort temperature depends on the outdoor air temperature and energy requirement can be reduced by designing natural and hybrid ventilation in many moderate climate zones of the world [6]. Modern building codes, practices and governments initiatives have improved the insulation on new houses in Australia which eventually improves the in-house heating/cooling condition. However, a lot of energy is consumed by electrical appliances. A typical Australian house uses around 6.5 MWh/year of electricity [9]. Therefore load pattern, information of weather that influence the load and emission from the house are essential to know to estimate the ways to reduce the carbon emission to zero.

2.1 Weather condition

This paper considered a residential building in Geelong, Australia where weather condition is temperate and temperature fluctuation is very high. Figure 1 shows the daily temperature change in 2013, which indicates the higher demand of energy for the whole year. Geelong has four climatic seasons as summer (December–February), autumn (March–May), winter (June–August) and spring (September–November). From weather data [10] in Geelong it is found that in 2013 minimum temperature was −2 °C and maximum 41 °C. Maximum temperature fluctuation observed in 1 day in 2013 was 29 °C in summer, 20 °C in autumn, 16 °C in winter and 22 °C in spring as presented in Figure 1. Therefore houses in this area require both heating and cooling and consume a significant amount of energy.

thumbnail Fig. 1

Daily temperature fluctuation in Geelong in 2013.

2.2 Residential load

Load demand varies with different conditions (number of people, number of appliances and how the appliances are used and householders individual behaviour, etc.), however a trend of residential load demand profile was developed in 2014 by surveying 4000 households in Australia [11]. The total load demand includes electrical and thermal load. Thermal load can be supported by other source, like using natural gas or can be used with equivalent electricity supply.

Average residential electricity usage in weekdays in Victoria is 13.51 kWh/d in summer, 14.57 kWh/d in autumn, 17.70 kWh/d in winter and 14.24 kWh/d in spring during the period of 2009–10 [12]. However in Geelong a three-bedroom house has daily electricity demand of 10.3 kWh/d in summer, 11.2 kWh/d in autumn, 13.5 kWh/d in winter and 9.6 kWh/d in spring [11] and if thermal load demand is supported by equivalent electrical source the daily electricity demand becomes 15.9 kWh/d in summer, 18.1 kWh/d in autumn, 26.1 kWh/d in winter and 16.4 kWh/d in spring [11]. Figure 2 illustrates daily load profile of a three-bedroom house in Geelong. Loads are distributed in four seasonal profiles and in Figure 2, blue coloured profile shows only electrical load and red coloured profile shows both electrical and thermal equivalent electrical load to present the total residential load demand.

thumbnail Fig. 2

Residential Building Load profile with seasonal variation.

2.3 Carbon emission

Emission comes from various energy conversion processes and emission from electricity generation is either from on-site generator directly or from grid energy contribution to the load indirectly and the following pollutants emit in different rates. Total emission is measured as yearly emission of emitted gases in kg/year and emission per capita or emission factor in g/kWh. When energy is purchased from grid, the grid-related emission is determined by the emission factor and total energy purchase from grid. The emission factors of different pollutant gases are CO2 (carbon-dioxide) 632.0 g/kWh, CO (carbon-monoxide) 0.7 g/kWh, UHC (unburned hydrocarbons) 0.08 g/kWh, PM (particulate matter) 0.052 g/kWh, SO2 (sulphur-dioxide) 2.74 g/kWh and NOX (nitrogen oxides) 1.34 g/kWh [13].

3 Emission reduction from residential building

As emission is directly related to the amount of energy used therefore reduction of emission is also related to the reduction of energy use. Net home energy use can be reduced by (a) improving energy efficiency and (b) by incorporating on-site RE sources [14]. Many countries around the world including Australia is involved in joint research to develop Net-Zero Energy Solar Building (NetZEB) [8] to reduce building energy consumption and GHG emission.

3.1 Building energy efficiency

One of the key factors to reduce carbon emission is to improve building energy efficiency. When constructing a house, its site and surroundings have to be taken into account to control the house’s thermal condition and the amount of lighting. Energy efficiency at home can be improved by (a) minimizing energy use (b) improving home energy rating and (c) by improving appliances energy rating. Resident’s behaviour in maintaining thermal condition and choice of appliances impacts on energy consumption. In Australia, Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) intends to reduce energy consumption by good design and construction [15]. Design includes layout of the house, construction of roof, wall, window, floor, orientation of window and shading for sun’s path and local breeze etc.

Appliances consume 33% of home energy [16] and energy rating gives a comparative assessment on appliances energy efficiency. By using energy efficient appliances and by properly utilizing appliances in daily activities, it is possible to reduce emission up to 50% [17]. In comparison with traditional cooling systems, evaporative cooling is more economical, energy efficient, best for dry hot environment and low CO2 emission [18,19]. Overall an energy efficient house consumes 20% less energy than a typical house [20]. Also by installing alternative energy sources such as RE sources, GHG emission can be further reduced.

3.2 Renewable energy

Australia is the world’s 9th largest energy producer [3] and has huge potential for RE due to its strategic location. Currently, most solar energy in Australia is used for residential water heating, which accounts for around 2% of energy consumption in residential sector [3]. The uptake of small scale solar PV has increased significantly in the past few years supported by various Australian and state/territory government programs, such as rebates and feed-in tariffs. Geelong is an old city in Victoria and has potential for solar energy [21] as shown in Figure 3.

thumbnail Fig. 3

Daily average solar radiation in Geelong area.

3.3 Net-zero emission

Net zero emission building is a concept that a house or building can meet its total energy demand such that yearly total emission balance from the house becomes zero. In order to achieve carbon emission to zero, it is considered to reduce energy use by improving energy efficiency and by integrating on-site RE source to reduce the grid dependency. However the consumed grid energy can be balanced by selling back the on-site generation to the grid. Victoria has approximately 2.2 million residential electricity customers [22], therefore net-zero emission building will directly help to reduce overall emission.

4 Methodology

In order to investigate the prospect of net-zero emission residential building in Geelong (latitude 38.22 °S, longitude 144.33 °E) a software model was developed as indicated in Figure 4 and yearly energy output from various capacity PV system was investigated to support the residential load. Total carbon emission considering different configuration of the PV system with present cost of each component was computed to identify the optimized system that support the load and yearly net emissions becomes zero.

thumbnail Fig. 4

A typical model in investigation.

4.1 Model development

Seasonal load, grid consumption, local generation and consumption from PV, cost of each component and emission rate are input to the model. The optimized system configuration was achieved based on total net present cost and accordingly emission from the system was compared. The emission factor considered in this model is explained in Section 2.3.

4.2 Load consideration

Residential load with seasonal profile was considered as shown in Figure 2. First, only electrical load was considered then thermal load was also considered but in its equivalent electrical form. Finally efficient building was considered where 20% less energy is required although the load pattern remains same.

4.3 Cost consideration

The cost of solar PV is decreasing over time and also decreases with increased capacity. There are different vendors operating in Australia for the residential PV system. A 5.0 kW PV system including inverter and installation cost varies from A$3499.00 to A$4599.0 [23], therefore an average cost of A$1100.0/kW was considered in the model to cover some higher price as well. Grid electricity price for residential application is distributed in peak and off-peak hours. The off-peak time is for weekends and from 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM in weekdays and all other time is considered as peak time. The rate of electricity is A$0.2364/kWh for off-peak, A$0.337/kWh for peak time which includes supply charge of A$1.296/day and 10% goods and services tax. The sell back price is A$0.061/kWh [20].

5 Results and discussions

The simulation results showed that GHG emission or equivalent CO2 emission reduces with the integration of PV to support the load demand. Model was simulated in two load conditions, once only for electrical load and then total load that includes electrical load and thermal equivalent electrical load. Model was simulated for different PV configurations and found that under full load condition a PV system of 5.0 kW with 3.0 kW inverter generates enough energy to support load demand as well as selling enough energy to the grid that net carbon emission becomes zero.

The COE is the cost of per unit energy and expressed in $/kWh. It was found that a typical house without RE installation consumed electrical load of 4051 kWh/year and combined electrical and thermal load of 6935 kWh/year and the overall COE was A$.287/kWh. For the energy efficient house without RE installation the electrical load was 3234 kWh/year and combined electrical and thermal equivalent load was 5548 kWh/year where COE was found same A$0.287/kWh. Table 1 shows the summary of the simulation result for RE installed condition and the optimized system configurations for typical house load and energy efficient house load in Geelong Victoria. It was found that 5.0 kW PV with 3.0 kW inverter supports the total electrical and thermal load with overall COE of $0.216/kWh.

Figure 5 shows the yearly total emission from the four different configurations of the system that includes solar PV to support the load. It can be seen from Figure 5 that the amount of carbon emission reduces as the installed capacity of PV increases. A typical house emits 2581 kg of CO2 in a year to support electrical load and 4417 kg of CO2 to support electrical and thermal load demand. An energy efficient house emits 2060 kg of CO2 to support electrical load and 3533 kg of CO2 to support electrical and thermal load demand. After installing PV on site a part of the load demand was met by PV and due to unmatched profile of load and PV generation, a part of the energy from PV was sold back to grid. From the simulation it was found that 5.0 kW PV system is sufficient to support the total electrical and thermal load demand that overall CO2 emission becomes zero and ensures net-zero emission condition of the three-bedroom house. Figure 5 also indicates the required system in different load conditions. Figure 6 illustrates the relation of an efficient house load demand with grid support, PV capacity, PV output and CO2 emission. It also indicates the point when the whole system becomes a net-zero emission system. COE become stable after sufficient size of PV installation, however increased size PV helped to reduce the CO2 emission further as illustrated clearly in Figure 7.

Table 1

Optimized system configuration.

thumbnail Fig. 5

Net-zero emission condition of different system configurations.

thumbnail Fig. 6

Relation of load demand, PV contribution and emission in the optimized system.

thumbnail Fig. 7

Relation of COE and emission in the energy efficient residential house.

6 Conclusion

This paper investigated a residential load demand in a temperate weather condition in Australia and identified the optimized system configurations to make a yearly equivalent net-zero emission from the residential building. The findings showed that the required PV system for a typical house is larger to make emission to zero, however the system size can be reduced by making energy efficient house. In this configuration the net energy production is higher than yearly net load demand due to the uneven relation of buying and selling price of electrical energy. This finding clearly indicates that one house in Geelong can save 4417 kg of CO2 emission each year, therefore 9 million Australian houses can save approximately 44 Mt (million tons) of CO2 emission each year which is a great support to achieve the emission reduction target.

References

  1. P. Pham, A. Ball, S. Ahmad, G. Bragatheswaran, C. McCluskey, C. Tisdell et al., Energy in Australia 2015 (Office of the Chief Economist, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Government, 2016) [Google Scholar]
  2. C.O. Australia, The Australian Government’s Action on Climate Change (Fact Sheet, Department of the Environment and Energy, Australian Government, 2016) [Google Scholar]
  3. K. Penney, A. Schultz, A. Ball, N. Hitchins, C.S.A.K. Martin, Energy in Australia 2012 (Report, Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, Australian Government, 2012) [Google Scholar]
  4. T. Willcock, N. Che, C. McCluskey, Energy in Australia 2013 (Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, Australian Government, 2013) [Google Scholar]
  5. C.O. Australia, 3236.0 – Household and Family Projections, Australia, 2011 to 2036 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015), Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/3236.0Main%20Features42011%20to%202036 [accessed 23.09.2016] [Google Scholar]
  6. R. de Dear, G. Schiller Brager, The adaptive model of thermal comfort and energy conservation in the built environment, Int. J. Biometeorol. 45, 100 (2001) [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  7. L. Pérez-Lombard, J. Ortiz, C. Pout, A review on buildings energy consumption information, Energy Build. 40, 394 (2008) [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  8. K. Voss, E. Musall, Net zero energy solar buildings, in Solar Heating & Cooling Programme, SHC Task 40, International Energy Agency (IEA) (2012), Available from: http://task40.iea-shc.org [accessed 23.10.2015] [Google Scholar]
  9. F.P. Sioshansi, Distributed Generation and its Implications for the Utility Industry (Elsevier Science, 2014) [Google Scholar]
  10. AccuWeather, Weather for Geelong (2014), Available from: http://www.accuweather.com/en/au/geelong/15892/month/15892?monyr=1/01/2013 [accessed 15.04.2014] [Google Scholar]
  11. EnergyMadeEasy, Understand and Compare your Home Electricity Usage (Australian Government, 2016), Available from: https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/benchmark [accessed 07.01.2017] [Google Scholar]
  12. Deloitte Australia, Advanced Metering Infrastructure Customer Impacts Study, Final Report: Volume 1 (Department of Primary Industries, 2011), Available from: http://www.smartmeters.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/1175858/CIS-Final-report-18-Oct-Volume-1.pdf [accessed 07.01.2017, 18.10.2011] [Google Scholar]
  13. M.T. Arif, A.M. Oo, A. Ali, G. Shafiullah, Significance of storage on solar photovoltaic system: a residential load case study in Australia, Smart Grid Renew. Energy 4, 167 (2013) [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  14. Leonardo ENERGY, Net Zero Energy Homes (2011), Available from: http://www.leonardo-energy.org/resources/587/net-zero-energy-homes-581b3ca484413 [accessed 17.11.2015] [Google Scholar]
  15. M. Ambrose, M. Syme, House Energy Efficiency Inspections Project (Energy Flagship, Final Report, CSIRO, Australia, 2015), Available from: http://nathers.gov.au/sites/prod.nathers/files/publications/House%20Energy%20Efficiency%20Inspect%20Proj.pdf [accessed 25.11.2016] [Google Scholar]
  16. C. Riedy, G. Milne, Your Home, Australia’s Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes (Australian Government, 2013), Available from: http://yourhome.gov.au/energy/appliances [accessed 25.11.2016] [Google Scholar]
  17. D.J. Wright, D.P. Osman, P. Ashworth, The CSIRO Home Energy Saving Handbook − How to Save Energy, Save Money and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint (2009) p. 240 [Google Scholar]
  18. Air & Water, Evaporative Cooling vs. Air Conditioning: A True Comparison (2017), Available from: http://www.air-n-water.com/evaporative-cooler-ac-comparison.htm [accessed 07.01.2017] [Google Scholar]
  19. Cool Breeze, Cool Breeze Air Conditioning, Evaporative vs Reverse Cycle Air conditioning (2016), Available from: https://www.coolbreeze.com.au/reverse-cycle-air-conditioning/ [accessed 07.01.2017] [Google Scholar]
  20. AGL, AGL Electricity − Energy Price, Collected Price Data (2016), Available from: www.agl.com.au/residential/energy-plans/ [accessed 21.11.2016] [Google Scholar]
  21. J.M. Kusterer, NASA Surface Meteorology and Solar Energy − Location (Atmospheric Science Data Center, 2013), Available from: https://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/sse/grid.cgi [accessed 08.09.2013] [Google Scholar]
  22. Smartmeters, About Smart Meters, Advanced Metering Infrastructure Customer Impacts Study − Volume 1, The Victorian Electricity Market Region (Victorian State Government, 2016), Available from: http://www.smartmeters.vic.gov.au/about-smart-meters/reports-and-consultations/advanced-metering-infrastructure-customer-impacts-study-volume-1/2-background [accessed 07.01.2017] [Google Scholar]
  23. Clean Technology Services, Solar PV system price, Available from: http://www.cleantechnologyservices.com.au/special/ [accessed 29.12.2016] [Google Scholar]

Cite this article as: Mohammad T. Arif, Amanullah M. Than Oo, Net-zero emission residential building in temperate weather condition, Renew. Energy Environ. Sustain. 2, 30 (2017)

All Tables

Table 1

Optimized system configuration.

All Figures

thumbnail Fig. 1

Daily temperature fluctuation in Geelong in 2013.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 2

Residential Building Load profile with seasonal variation.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 3

Daily average solar radiation in Geelong area.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 4

A typical model in investigation.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 5

Net-zero emission condition of different system configurations.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 6

Relation of load demand, PV contribution and emission in the optimized system.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 7

Relation of COE and emission in the energy efficient residential house.

In the text

Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.

Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.

Initial download of the metrics may take a while.