Energy-Saving and Energy-Generating Products Contribute to the Creation of Zero-Energy Buildings
ZEB: Similarities and Differences across countries
A net Zero Energy Building (ZEB) is commonly defined as “an energy efficient building that generates enough Renewable Energy (RE) on-site to equal or exceed its annual energy use”.
The above is a commonly used definition but is not universally applied. For example, some definitions require renewable energy to be generated on-site while others allow it to be off-site. Depending on the country, there are multiple terms and thresholds to indicate a building’s progress towards becoming zero-energy based on their degree of primary energy consumption, such as Nearly ZEB (Japan) or Super Low Energy Building (Singapore).
Regardless of the definitions that are adopted, they all share a common goal of reducing emissions caused by building operations. Generally, there are 2 necessary steps to take for a building to become a ZEB:-
To reiterate, both steps have to be fulfilled for a building to be classified as a ZEB. In a hypothetical situation where a building has no measures taken to reduce energy consumption but somehow manages to generate enough renewable energy to offset consumption, it will not qualify as a ZEB.
Achieving ZEB in Japan – AGC Kashima Plant Administrative Building
In accordance with the 2 steps, there are primarily 2 ways to achieve the zero-energy status: (1) utilizing energy-saving products to reduce energy consumption; and (2) utilizing energy-generating products to increase energy generation.
In 2018, AGC successfully constructed the Administrative Building in our Kashima Plant (located in Kamisu City, Ibaraki Prefecture) as a ZEB under Japanese standards.
In Japan, as compared to a reference building, a minimum of 50% reduction in energy consumption is required before a building can qualify for any of the ZEB classifications (i.e. ZEB Ready, Nearly ZEB, or ZEB).
The design of the Kashima Plant Administrative Building includes the use of AGC Group products and materials. As part of its ZEB classifications, the Kashima Plant Administrative Building boasts of the following energy-saving and energy-generating initiatives:-
- Energy-Saving products reduced energy consumption to 49.6% of a reference building; and
- Energy-Generating products generated energy equivalent to 64.3% of a reference building’s energy consumption.
The front part of the building uses glass materials that combines the use of high-heat insulating effects and photovoltaic modules to achieve not just energy savings, but also energy generation. In addition, the walls and other parts of the building utilize urethane foam insulation made with AGC Group materials to increase energy-saving effects. This ZEB serves as a showcase for AGC’s environmentally-friendly products.
Range of AGC Asia Pacific Products relevant to ZEB
[Energy-Generating] SunEwat Building-integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) Solution
SunEwat BIPV comprises of laminated glass with embedded solar cells. SunEwat BIPV is now available with Low-E coating and can be laminated or double glazed, offering energy-efficient glass modules that have the capability to harvest clean and green solar renewable energy.
[Energy-Saving] Halio smart-tinting glass
Halio® smart-tinting glass provides energy-saving potential through its electrochromic glazing technology. Halio optimizes daylight and building’s energy efficiency by modulating the solar heat gain through the window. The dynamic properties of Halio smart-tinting glass can reduce pressure on Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, decrease artificial lighting consumption and eliminate the use of shading devices in the building.
[Energy-Saving] Solar Control Low-E Glass Stopray
Stopray Offline Solar Control Low-E glass allows the highest level of light into the building without any trade-off involving the heat that naturally comes with light. Always used in double or triple glazing, it has high energy-saving effects and can reduce the heating and cooling loads of buildings, contributing to reductions in carbon dioxide emissions
[Energy-Saving] Raw material for heat-insulating urethane foam EXCENOL™
Urethane products are used in a wide variety of day-to-day situations such as soft sponges, rubber, and hard insulating materials. EXCENOL™ is used by customers as the main raw material for urethane products in a wide range of applications.
 Understanding Net Zero Energy, Net Zero Carbon and Carbon Neutral Buildings. (2018, March). SG Green, (6).