Exploring the feasibility of energy neutrality in existing office buildings with current instruments – E.W.E. van Oosterhout

One of the major causes of climate change is the energy use of human activity and in specific the build environment. The built environment accounts for approximately 35% of the total Dutchenergy consumption. More than half of this part is used in commercial buildings such as schools and offices (Agentschap NL, Infoblad energieneutrale scholen en kantoren, 2012). Where80% of the CO2 emissions is caused by the operating phase of the existing buildings.

 As part of this problem, this research tried to find a solution for reaching energy neutrality within the build environment and in specific, office buildings. There is no approach yet for making office buildings on a larger scale energy neutral. This research describes a bottom-up approach for reaching neutrality in office buildings. First, a definition of Zero Energy Buildings is given to show what neutrality is and when it is reached by using a literature study and expert interviews. Second, a model is proposed to show how neutrality can be reached for office buildings with current available instruments, using a System Dynamics approach. The research showed that it is possible to reach energy neutrality within office buildings. In many cases off-site generation is needed to reach energy neutrality which means that this model can also be used to connect more office buildings to the model.

 For practical use, this model can be used by companies to go to their clients and convince them to invest in neutrality and show the package list of investments for reaching neutrality. The model needs minimum capacity and time to provide an optimization package per building. 

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