Renewable Management and Net-Zero Buildings

There are many different terms circulating right now about the future of energy. Alternative energy, sustainable energy, clean energy and renewable energy are some of the terms that are widely used. Looking at each of these terms it is easy to distinguish there really isn’t very much difference. Alternative energy merely means something that is different than what we are currently using. Sustainable or clean energy is described as an energy source that does not pollute or that can be maintained indefinitely. Trapped within all of these definitions is Renewable Energy. Since renewable energy is alternative, clean and sustainable it will suffice to say that the term Renewable Energy will cover all of these categories.

Another constantly changing term is Net-zero buildings. This term has been modified to be zero energy building. This type of building is defined as one that does not rely on the electrical supply grid. All the energy needs of the building can be harvested on site. Some definitions will include that the net-zero building may require energy at some points in time, but overall when factoring in the energy being produced and the energy being used the net result is no energy being consumed from the grid. Commonly the net-zero building and renewable energy will go hand in hand, and indeed, some definitions will include that net-zero buildings do not produce any pollution or carbon emissions, resulting from the use of renewable energy.

A common trend in the definitions of net-zero buildings is that some comfort must be sacrificed on the part of the occupants of the building. In other words, when the renewable energy source is not producing you live in the dark, or in brown-out conditions. This doesn’t need to be the case! With Renewable Energy monitoring you will know exactly how much energy you are producing or how much is coming from the grid. If you wish to not impact lifestyles then you can use this information to decide if you need more renewable energy, perhaps in the form of a new solar panel, or if the amount you have is sufficient to create a net-zero amount. Without knowing how much you are producing and how much from the grid you are using there is no way to tell if you are maintaining net-zero amounts. With real-time renewable portfolio management you can reach net-zero and maintain it.

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