This report deals with how to define what a Zero Emission Building (ZEB) is with explanation and analysis of different parameters related to embodied emissions of CO2 equivalents. The report can be used as a guidance tool on how to assess embodied emissions, and also on what parameters should be evaluated in such an assessment.

Different ambition levels for ZEBs may include life stages, operation, material, construction and end-of-life and can be documented according to EN 15978. Calculation procedures should include system boundaries, embodied emissions from materials, transport, the construction process and waste handling according to the ambition level. CO2 eq emissions factors, service life estimates and payback scenarios for CO2 emissions need to be considered.

The report does not contain one single clearly defined method, but rather a state-of-the-art summary on the different issues and refers to other relevant national and international work in the field of ZEB definitions. The issues presented here are in early stages of development and will need to be verified and further developed.

Published in Reports

Net zero energy buildings (nZEBs) are understood as grid-connected buildings which do not require net inputs of non-renewable energy over a defined period of their life cycle. Energy requirements of nZEBs have until now been assessed based on the impact buildings have on the existing energy system. This paper introduces a new approach to nZEB energy balance that takes into account the actual amount of energy nZEBs require.

Energy balance methods previously proposed for nZEBs are illustrated in a new way and expressed in a series of equations based on a common terminology. Taking a different standpoint on the very logic that lies behind energy calculations; this article presents a new approach to energy balance in nZEBs. The paper highlights the important difference between preventing an increase in the demand for grid energy and ensuring that a building requires no net non-renewable energy. The authors argue that an energy payback approach constitute a more adequate way to tackle the environmental challenges nZEBs are meant to help solving, and to abide to a definition which stipulates that nZEBs should require no net non-renewable energy

Published in Journal papers

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