Climate change and global warming have been pressing issues for the last few decades. Buildings, including residential and commercial, are a major contribution to energy consumption. The energy consumption in buildings has been significantly increasing every year due to the rapid increase in human comfort and services. Multiple factors affect the energy consumption used for cooling/ heating buildings, such as windows, wall structures, and building orientation, according to climatic conditions. The building construction, operation and maintenance have a significant impact on the total energy and water usage of the world resources.

Net-Zero Energy Buildings: The Principles and Applications - Sheet1
Net Zero_©bigrentz

The characteristics of building envelopes’ contribution to the thermal effect of and by the building have now become of rising significance for owners and designers due to their relation to energy consumption. As the name suggests, the purpose of this article is to discuss the Principles and design application for net-zero energy buildings. Let’s see how followed by understanding what exactly are net-zero buildings! 

Net-Zero Energy Buildings: The Principles and Applications - Sheet2
Net Zero _©

Concept and Requirement

In the last few decades, fuels have been running out and hence leading to a significant rise in the cost. Global warming issues are at their peak. In addition, there have been many other issues, such as well-being, health and pollution, which can be deducted if we reduce emissions because of a better energy consumption plan.

The Ultimate source of fossil fuel from Earth has been vanishing at a rapid pace for the past 200 years, causing a heavily damaged rate of climate change. New reserves of fossil fuels have become difficult to search for, and we have found earlier the ones discovered and significantly smaller.

Various aspects of increased emissions and increased rate of energy consumption are global warming. The rising issues have a long list of thought-provoking questionnaires for designers to consider and act upon to contribute their creativity to the rising concerns of the environment, And so the consideration of a Net-zero building.   

A Net-zero Energy building is defined as a module that produces enough renewable energy to meet its consumption requirement annually. It has a very high energy performance with low energy requirement, which gets covered by renewable sources from the sources produced on-site or nearby, and a building that contributes to more sustainability and has the potential to reduce the human impact on the environment. 

Principles and Application of Net-Zero

Some numerous techniques and tools optimize the concept of Net-zero such as–Building Orientation, Shading, Exposure, Heat Island reduction, lighting system, Temperature, humidity, Natural Resources, landscaping and the overall system efficiency, etc. But majorly are three principles to achieve good net-zero energy building design:

  1. Building Envelope Measures

It should design the Buildings in a way to minimize HVAC loads with the installation of overhangs and shades to reduce the direct sun rays. Increase Insulation on opaque surfaces, usage of low solar heat gain coefficient values should be promoted, double skin façade and the building envelope should be designed such that they suit the location of site climatic condition.

Net-Zero Energy Buildings: The Principles and Applications - Sheet3
Features of Netzero_©
  1. Energy Efficiency Measures

The right sized systems for the structure are extremely crucial for energy-efficient measures. It can be achieved by applying factors to stimulate the model to design and predict the requirements. The consideration of high–efficiency lighting and control systems are a must e.g.–LED lights, high-performance ballasts, Occupancy sensors, dual circuited task lighting and daylight dimming sensors.

Net-Zero Energy Buildings: The Principles and Applications - Sheet4
Energy-efficient techniques_©

The optimization for HVAC loads is–Using heat recovery chillers, High-efficiency chillers, underfloor air distribution systems, passive cooling techniques, Thermal storage using phase change materials, Natural ventilation, combined heating and power.

  1. Renewable Energy Measures

Maximizing the energy sources through the first two measures listed above. Renewable energy measures are usually more expensive than these two measures, and so designers are required to begin with the first two measures and optimize their design, which would reduce the energy requirement needed in this step.

Net-Zero Energy Buildings: The Principles and Applications - Sheet5
Renewable source of energy_©

There are many renewable energy resources such as solar, which can be used for generating heating water, electricity, storing energy, wind, biomass and other resources. Solar heating systems include roof-mounted solar collectors, which could heat a fluid that could heat water. Wind systems provide energy at a very efficient cost if the wind is steady and continuous, with speed above ten mph. Biomass systems could supply heat by burning biomass material. Geothermal systems provide an excellent source for both cooling and heating by running refrigerant pipes under the ground that provide nearly constant temperatures. They do not produce emissions. 

Net zero advancement_©


Net–Zero Energy buildings are a requirement of the hour. Designers and users need to consider reducing energy consumption by using energy-efficient techniques, utilities and systems and go green by using energy-efficient systems and utilities by the usage of renewable sources such as biomass, solar, wind, and geothermal heat sinks, and rivers. The concept of using Net-zero Buildings stands today as an efficient way to not only reduce energy consumption but also as an alternative, if not a complete solution, to reducing the carbon emission from the construction industry. 


  1. 2022. [online] Available at:

[Accessed 5 June 2022].

  1. 2022. [online] Available at:

[Accessed 5 June 2022].


Disha is an architecture graduate from Nagpur University, 2021. Being an avid traveler, she has always tried to connect the city’s art & culture with architecture. She is a keen learner & an extremely creative individual who always seeks opportunities to enhance knowledge & experience in the field of architecture.