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Carbon Neutral - 1.4

Carbon Neutral - 1.4

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Published by CarbonSimplicity
Our lifestyles and homes have a significant impact on the environment. to balance and reduce this trend there is a growing interest in carbon neutral, zero energy and carbon positive homes. this fact sheet outlines key considerations for designing such homes.
Our lifestyles and homes have a significant impact on the environment. to balance and reduce this trend there is a growing interest in carbon neutral, zero energy and carbon positive homes. this fact sheet outlines key considerations for designing such homes.

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Published by: CarbonSimplicity on May 21, 2009
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 1.4 CarbON NeuTral
introduction
11
Carbon Neutral
o lesyles a hmes have a sgfampa  he evme. t balae aee hs e hee s a gwg ees ab eal, ze eegy a abpsve hmes. ths a shee les keyseas  esgg sh hmes.
Steps or moving towards a carbon neutralhome:> Calculate the amount o emissions andenergy being used.> Reduce the demand or energy and activitiesthat produce greenhouse gas emissions.> Improve energy eciency technologies.> Incorporate renewable energy and useGreenPower.> Oset the equivalent amount o emissions inother areas and activities.
WHAt iS cArBon nEutrAL?
 The term ‘carbon neutral’ aims to balance theoverall amount o CO
2
being emitted into theatmosphere, by calculating how much CO
2
isbeing emitted rom an activity and reducing theequivalent amount o CO
2
in another activity.Carbon dioxide (CO
2
 ) is a naturally occurringgas in the atmosphere. Beore the industrialrevolution CO
2
levels in the atmosphere wereconsistently between 260 and 280 parts permillion (ppm). Since the industrial revolutionhuman society has become increasinglydependent on burning the ossil uels o coaland oil and as a result human activities haveincreased the concentration o CO
2
in theatmosphere to more than 380ppm.
Activities that we think o asquite ordinary, like drivinga car or heating a housewith a gas or electric heater,continue to contribute to therelease o CO
2
.
 Although CO
2
is a small part o theatmosphere’s composition it plays a majorrole in creating the greenhouse eect, whichenables the atmosphere to trap solar energyand make the planet hospitable to lie aswe know it. Increased levels o CO
2
havebeen shown to relate to global warming andclimate change, and while reduction o CO
2
 to pre-industrial levels is considered dicultto achieve, any reduction is likely to help slowdown climate change and every householdercan contribute. The goal o becoming carbon neutral may beachieved by carbon osets. By purchasingoset credits that reduce CO
2
by an amountequal to that being produced, the overallamount o CO
2
being emitted into theatmosphere can be eectively zero, hencecarbon neutral. There are many carbon neutral or carbon osetschemes available in the market that oer tobalance or oset the CO
2
emissions createdby our liestyles and homes. These schemesgenerally involve three steps:1. The o-set scheme attaches a cost toemissions by working out how much itwill cost them to carry out a project that isspecically set up to provide a greenhousesavings or benet. (eg new tree plantings orstopping greenhouse gases rom landlls).2. The o-set scheme calculates the amount o CO
2
emissions produced by an activity.3. The cost calculated in step 1 is applied tostep 2 to give a cost to oset the activity.In the ollowing example, a cost is attachedto carbon to show how an o-set schemedetermines a dollar gure to oset the CO
2
 emissions o a domestic fight.Carbon osets need to sequester carbon andtake it out o the atmosphere to contribute toa carbon neutral result. They may also haveother benets, eg. trees not only absorb carbondioxide while they grow and trap it or years tocome, they can also help to combat salinity,reduce soil erosion, clean underground watersystems and provide habitat or wildlie.
Reducing energy use is notthe same as taking carbonout o the atmosphere – itonly reduces the amount oCO
2
released.
F example:
CO
2
emissiOns are CalCulatedfOr an aCtivityOffset Credits arepurChased thrOugh an aCCredited sChemeOverall CO
2
 in the systemis neutral
If 1 tonne of CO
2
is emitted eachyear, eg. through transportationor the burning of fossil fuels forelectricity generation+1 tonne of CO
2
is absorbedby planting trees or othersequestration measures=the net result of CO
2
being emittedby the activity is deemed to becarbon neutral
F example:
1. If one tonne of carbon costs $13.75.2. And one seat on the average short domesticreturn flight (up to 2600km) generates 0.399tonnes of CO
2
emissions.3. Then 0.399 tonnes of CO
2
emissions fromthe domestic flight would therefore cost $5.50to offset.4. Purchasecarbon offsets3. Incorporate renewableenergy and GreenPower2. Improve energy efficiency1. Reduce energy use and CO
2
emissions
 
1.4 CarbON NeuTral
introduction
12
Beore considering a carbonoset scheme, ensurethat the oset scheme iscredible, and has undergoneindependent auditing.
 Although carbon osetting can provide a wayto assist in balancing the amounts o CO
2
beingemitted into the atmosphere as a whole, along-term sustainable solution to environmentalproblems requires reductions in the amounto CO
2
being emitted in our homes andappropriate changes to our liestyles.
BEcoMinG cArBon nEutrAL
 The rst step in becoming carbon neutral is toreduce the demand or energy and the amounto CO
2
being emitted. Ater reductions havebeen made oset credits can be purchasedequivalent to the remaining emissions.Reducing CO
2
emissions rom our homescan be achieved by adopting many o thetechniques and procedures described in the
Your Home
Technical Manual, eg.> Reducing the use o electrical appliancesand switching o lights, appliances andequipment at the plug when they are notneeded – especially a second rerigerator.
[See: 6.4 Appliances]
> Selecting smaller energy ecient applianceswith low standby power use and avoidingunnecessary purchases.
[See: 6.4Appliances; 6.10 Home Automation]
> Reducing water use (it takes energy to treatand pump water to a home) and reducinghot water heating by installing water ecientshowerheads, taking shorter showers andusing cold water or washing clothes.
[See: 7.2 Reducing Water Demand]
> Draught-sealing and weather-stripping toreduce unnecessary heat loss and heat gainand setting thermostats appropriately.
[See: 4.7 Insulation]
> Installing curtains and pelmets, external blindsand shading to reduce the need or additionalheating and cooling.
[See: 4.4 Shading]
> Changing the uel source o hot watersystems and home heating. For exampleswitching rom electric hot water systemsto gas or solar hot water systems.
[See: 6.2Heating and Cooling; 6.5 Hot Water Service]
> Improving the energy eciency o the homewhen building, renovating, renting or buyingthrough methods such as:– ensuring eective orientation and layout tomaximise solar-passive strategies
[See: 4.2 Design or Climate]
– adding or increasing insulation
[See: 4.7 Insulation]
– sizing and orientating windowsappropriately
[See: 4.10 Glazing]
– providing double-glazing to windows
[See: 4.10 Glazing]
– using materials that enhance passive solarstrategies
[See: 5.0 Material Use]
> Adopting and developing a zero energy home
 see next section
.Reducing CO
2
emissions in our liestyles can beachieved by:> Switching to low greenhouse impact transportoptions like walking, cycling or publictransport – or use the telephone or email.I a car is essential, use a uel-ecient one.> Considering the time and cost o travel romyour home location to work, school, shopsand leisure activities.
[See: 2.6 Transport]
> Diverting ood and garden wastes rom landllto composting – when ood and gardenwastes break down without resh air theycreate a mixture o gases including the verydamaging greenhouse gas, methane.> Purchasing ood, products and other servicesthat have not travelled long distances.> Minimising waste o packaging and materials– ‘reuse, reduce, re-use, recycle’.> Reducing the purchase o non-essentialproducts – ask “do I really need it?”> Holidaying closer to home rather than fyingto distant destinations.
WHAt iS A ZEro EnErGY HoME?
 The terms ‘zero energy’, ‘zero carbon’ or ‘zeroemission’ are applied to buildings that userenewable energy sources on-site to generateenergy or their operation, so that over a yearthe net amount o energy generated on-siteequals the net amount o energy required bythe building.For example, a home that uses 5000kWho electricity or a year may incorporatephotovoltaic panels that generate 2160kWho electricity in winter. This may not be enoughelectricity or what is needed during winter, butin summer 2840kWh o electricity could begenerated, which would be more electricity thanis needed at this time. I the combined resulto electricity generated on-site or the year isequal to the amount o energy used or the year(2160 + 2840 = 5000kWh), the building can beconsidered to be zero energy. Nevertheless,it should be noted that in winter the additionalenergy needed would still result in carbondioxide being released to the atmosphereunless it is also sourced rom renewables.Zero energy homes set out to use renewableelectricity generated on-site. Although obtainingelectricity rom the grid through accreditedgreen electricity providers should be used andcould be considered as having net zero CO
2
 emissions, the intention o zero energy homesis that they are relatively sel-contained. Thisprovides occupants with a ull understandingo how much space and cost is required toprovide renewable energy solutions on-site andthe benets o energy eciency.
Stricter defnitions o ‘zeroenergy’ buildings also takeinto account the energy usedin their construction andeventual decommissioning.
emitted by:
– electrical appliances– heating– cooling– hot water
CO
2
 emissionsCO
2
 reductionsZeroemissionbuilding
Carbon NeutralCarbon NegativeCarbon Positive
reduced by:
– clean energy(such as:wind power,solar power, etc)
the overall CO
2
 emissions areequal to theoverall CO
2
 reductions
 
 1.4 CarbON NeuTral
introduction
13
Limitations o zero energy homes as describedhere, are that they only include the energy tooperate the home and not other CO
2
emittingareas associated with our homes, such as themanuacture and transportation o buildingmaterials and energy used during construction.Major benets o creating zero energy, zerocarbon or zero emission homes come rom theincreased energy eciency strategies that arenecessary to make on-site renewable energysources viable and the immediate awarenessand better understanding o energy use theyencourage or their occupants.
dESiGninG A ZEroEnErGY HoME
Designing a zero energy, zero carbon or zeroemission home can be complex, as eachdesign solution must be tailored to thespecic location. This includes designing to the eaturesand qualities o the site, designing or therequirements o the building’s use, designingwith an understanding o how to incorporaterenewable energy sources on-site anddesigning with consideration o actual energyuse – which is aected by occupant behaviour. The basic principles that can be ollowed ordesigning zero energy homes are described inthe
Your Home
act sheets and include:> Incorporating energy eciency strategies withrenewable energy options rom the outset o the project.
[See: 6.0 Energy Use]
> Choosing a site or location that allows orrenewable energy opportunities and reducestransportation and ood production needs.
[See: 2.0 Sustainable Communities]
> Maximising passive design strategies inthe design o the home to reduce energydemand.
[See: 4.0 Passive Design]
> Reducing water use in conjunction withreducing the demand or hot water.
[See: 7.0 Water Use]
> Selecting materials use appropriately, byincorporating materials that enhance thepassive design strategy and have a lowembodied energy.
[See: 5.0 Material Use]
> Reducing energy use in all areas o the home.
[See: 6.0 Energy Use]
Maximising energy eciency allows energyneeds to be met with reduced amounts o energy needing to be supplied. Renewableenergy opportunities then become:> Physically viable with reduced spacerequirements.> Economically viable with a reduced amount o renewable energy source being required; and> Environmentally viable with less resourcesbeing used to manuacture the renewableenergy source.
F example:
In the early 21st century a typical Sydneyhousehold uses about 5,000kWh o electricityper year. Table 1 indicates the types o reductions that could be made to a typicalhome to reduce energy demand based on anall-electric household with a 2 star rating. There are a range o opportunities orreducing the energy demand o a home, butthese depend on the specic household. Theenergy eciency measures in Table 1 areindicative only. Ater reducing the energy use o the home,renewable energy opportunities can bereviewed as seen in Table 2.
inCOrpOrating renewable energy sOurCes (apprOximate amOunt Of renewables required)renewable OppOrtunitiesinitial lOad Of 5000wapprOx. COst ($)new lOad Of 3068wapprOx. COst ($)
Photovoltaics Grid connected32m
2
$38,265.0020m
2
$23,480.00Photovoltaics Stand alone44m
2
$52,887.0027m
2
$32,451.00
renewable OppOrtunities5000kwh = apprOx. 3500wapprOx. COst ($)3068w= apprOx. 7900wapprOx. COst ($)
Wind Average wind speed = 7m/s2 x 1kW turbines$14,0001 x 1kW turbines$7,000
Note: Costs are indicative only and provide a comparison for the base renewable source only. They do not include installation, inverter (which may cost $3,000 or more), batteries, connections etc. Costs are basedon a 165W panel costing $1,800 and 6 panels being required to produce 1kW peak. Obtain advice from accredited designers for actual amounts of renewable energy required and costs.
reduCing demandenergy use Of an average australian hOme eaCh yearinitiallOad(w) apprOxCOst assuming$0.15c/wCarbOnemissiOnsenergy effiCienCy measures apprOx.energyeffiCienCysavingsnewlOad(w) apprOx.savings assuming$0.15c/w
Heating / cooling
38%1900$285.0020%Improve house energy rating from 2 to 5 star35%1235$99.75
Water heating
25%1250$187.5023%Change to solar hot water system50%625$93.75
Other electrical appliances
16%800$120.0024%Improve efficiency and reduce use10%720$12.00
Lighting
7%350$52.5011%Change to compact fluorescent lighting75%88$39.38
Cooking
4%200$30.005%Improve efficiency by using a microwave30%140$9.00
Refrigeration
7%350$52.5012%Improve efficiency by 2 stars30%245$15.75
Standby
3%150$22.505%Turn off most appliances at the plug90%15$20.25
Total5000$750.003068$209.88
Note: This example is based on a typical Sydney household which is situated in a temperate climate. These prices are indicative only and will vary depending on location, price and use of electricity.Source: Global Warming Cool it, (Australian Greenhouse Office, 2007). Baseline Energy Estimates, 2008. www.nathers.gov.au
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