Net zero energy buildings: A consistent definition framework
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The term Net ZEB, Net Zero Energy Building, indicates a building connected to the energy grids. It is recognized that the sole satisfaction of an annual balance is not sufficient to fully characterize Net ZEBs and the interaction between buildings and energy grids need to be addressed. It is also recognized that different definitions are possible, in accordance with a country's political targets and specific conditions. This paper presents a consistent framework for setting Net ZEB definitions. Evaluation of the criteria in the definition framework and selection of the related options becomes a methodology to set Net ZEB definitions in a systematic way. The balance concept is central in the definition framework and two major types of balance are identified, namely the import/export balance and the load/generation balance. As compromise between the two a simplified monthly net balance is also described. Concerning the temporal energy match, two major characteristics are described to reflect a Net ZEB's ability to match its own load by on-site generation and to work beneficially with respect to the needs of the local grids. Possible indicators are presented and the concept of grid interaction flexibility is introduced as a desirable target in the building energy design. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.