Implications of weighting factors on technology preference in net zero energy buildings
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With the current movement towards Net Zero Energy Buildings (Net ZEBs) decisions regarding energy carrier weighting factors will have implications on which technologies could be favoured or disfavoured, and therefore adopted or not adopted, in the building sector of the near future. These implications should be taken into consideration by policy makers when developing legislation and regulations addressing the building sector. A parametric analysis was conducted on six buildings in Europe of different typologies and climates in order to assess how different weighting factors would impact the choice of technical systems to be installed. For each combination the amount of PV capacity necessary to achieve a net zero balance has been calculated and used as the main indicator for comparison; where less PV area means more favourable condition. The effect of including a solar thermal system is also discussed. With the current European national weighting factors, biomass boiler is largely the preferred solution, frequently achieving the balance with PV installed on the roof, while gas boiler is the most penalized. The situation changes when strategic weighting factors are applied. Lower weighting factors for electricity and district heating, e.g. reflecting national targets of increased penetration of renewables in such grids, would promote the use of heat pump and district heating, respectively. Asymmetric factors aimed at rewarding electricity export to the grid would facilitate the achievement of the zero balance for all technologies, promoting cogeneration in some cases. On the contrary, low weighting factors for electricity, e.g. reflecting a scenario of high decarbonisation of the power system, prove quite demanding; only few technical solutions would be able to reach the balance within the available roof area for PV, because of the low value credited to exported electricity. In this situation, the preferred solution would be heat pumps combined with solar thermal. In addition, the choice of weighting factors and the resulting favoured technologies will determine the temporal matching of load and generation. While all-electric solutions tend to use the grid as seasonal storage, other solutions will have a yearly net export of electricity to the grid to compensate for the supply of other (thermal) energy carriers. Therefore, it is important to consider the implications for the electricity grid resulting from the choice of weighting factors. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.