You are on page 1of 3


Amid growing concerns about rising energy prices, energy independence, and the impact of
climate change, statistics show that the residential and industrial sectors remained
the major drivers of energy consumption in the Philippines. This fact underscores the importance
of targeting building energy use as a key to decreasing the nation's energy consumption. The
building sector can significantly reduce energy use by incorporating energy-efficient strategies
into the design, construction, and operation of new buildings and undertaking retrofits to improve
the efficiency of existing buildings. It can further reduce dependence on fossil fuel derived energy
by increasing use of on-site and off-site renewable energy sources.

The concept of a Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB), one which produces as much energy as it
uses over the course of a year, recently has been evolving from research to reality. Currently, there
are only a small number of highly efficient buildings that meet the criteria to be called "Net Zero".
As a result of advances in construction technologies, renewable energy systems, and academic
research, creating Net Zero Energy buildings is becoming more and more feasible.

Requisites of Net Zero Energy Building:

 Exemplary building design to minimize energy requirements

 Renewable energy systems that meet these reduced energy needs.

Project Description
Zero Energy Building Cagayan de Oro City is an initiative to promote sustainable construction.
This project involves construction of a zero energy building and to test-bed the following Green
Building Technologies (GBTs):
 Solar Photovoltaic Array;
 Radiant Cooling System;
 Hydroponic Phytoremediation Wall System;
 Direct Current Electrified Grid;
 Water Reclamation Cistern;
 Municipal Sewer Heat Exchange System; and
 Building Management System (BMS)
As a net zero energy building, this building generates its own source of energy onsite via the
photovoltaic system. The energy generated will be used to power the building and excess energy
will be supplied back to the grid. As a showcase project, other GBTs are also installed onsite for
research purpose. The GBTs are:
Solar Photovoltaic Array
Photovoltaics (PV) is the name of the method that converts solar energy into direct current
electricity. A solar PV array generates electricity from the sun at the time of day when energy is
most expensive to purchase and is at peak demand. In turn, it decreases the carbon footprint of the
building and increases the revenue stream by lowering utility bills. PV arrays tied to the electrical
grid are now a standard design feature for net zero construction.
Radiant Cooling System
By circulating chilled water through a network of pipes installed in the ceiling’s 2-by-2 or 2-by-4
panels, the hydronic cooling system will help maintain spaces at even, comfortable temperatures
using less energy than a traditional forced-air system. The cooled ceiling surface panels will evenly
absorb heat energy transferred from people, lights, and equipment. Heat and ventilation air will be
provided by a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) that will work in conjunction with the radiant
cooling system for ventilation, pressurization, and humidity control.
Hydroponic Phytoremediation Wall System, or Green Wall
A green wall works with a building’s HVAC system to reduce energy loads and improve indoor
air quality. Typically, buildings are ventilated with air sourced from outside and must be heated in
the winter and cooled in the summer, which can represent more than 30 percent of the energy
consumed by a building.
The green wall is an engineered system which will allow indoor air that is already at the right
temperature and humidity to be circulated through the root system of live plants where it will be
cleaned and filtered of carbon dioxide before passing back into the building, providing a large
energy cost savings. Because the plants’ roots are submerged in water, instead of being buried in
soil, the plants’ air-cleaning capacity increases by 200 to 300 percent and is extremely effective at
removing large particles and oxygenating the air. Sampling of the outside air quality will help
determine what types of plants will need to be selected to address the air pollutants found.
Direct Current Electrified Grid
Electricity is primarily transmitted from utility companies to homes and businesses by alternating
current (AC) as it is the best way for electricity to travel long distances. However, many devices—
LED light bulbs, computers, printers, phone chargers, and kitchen appliances—run on direct
current (DC). This requires a converter at the end of the electrical cord to bring the higher AC
voltage down to DC. This conversion accounts for an energy efficiency loss of nearly 20 percent.
By installing 2-by-2 DC electrified grids in the ceiling, the conversion process will become
obsolete allowing the building to be more energy efficient and use DC power generated by the
solar PV array. A controller mounted in the ceiling will constantly monitor the power supply to
determine if there is an adequate supply of DC power being generated by the solar PV array. On
cloudy days, and during evening hours, the power supply to the ceiling grid will automatically
shift to the city’s AC power supply as necessary. This technology will also allow the building to
have limited functionality during a catastrophic failure of the city’s electric grid.
Water Reclamation Cistern
Water reclamation is an effective way to reduce water and sewer utility bills by reusing rainwater
before it is discharged to the combined storm and sanitary sewer system. A water reclamation
cistern will collect rainwater from the roof, as well as condensate water from the dedicated outdoor
air system, and will filter, chemically treat, and condition the water. Through this process, the
building will be able to produce all the water needed for flushing toilets and irrigating on-site.
Municipal Sewer Heat Exchange System
A municipal sewer heat exchange system is an innovative way to recover thermal energy from
wastewater. The municipal sewer heat exchange system will tap into the sewer line and divert
wastewater to a settling tank located outside of the building. Water from the settling tank will then
be circulated inside the building to an exchange system that will extract energy from the water for
heating and cooling before the water is returned to the sanitary sewer system.
Building Management System (BMS)
A building management system is installed onsite to monitor and control the performance of the
building. Sensors are mounted at various locations to collect data on energy consumption, indoor
environment quality, management control and special systems. The data collected will be used to
assess the performance of the GBTs installed onsite.

Building and Construction Authority (BCA). (2009). 2nd Green Building Masterplan. BCA,
Knox, Randy. (2008). Greening an Existing Building “ The Adobe Story” . The Sustainable
Buildings Conference. U.S.: Adobe Systems Incorporated.
Schiavon, S., Melikov, A. K. and Sekhar, C. (2009). Energy analysis of the personalised ventilation
system in hot and humid climates. Energy and Buildings, 1-9.
Solar Energy Technologies Program. (2005). PV Systems. United States: Depatment of Energy.
Retrieved 23 February 2010 from Solar Tracking
Skylights, Inc. (2010). STS Background. Chicago: Solar Tracking Skylights, Inc. Retrived 23
February 2010 from
Torcellini, P., Pless, S. and Deru, M. (2006). Zero Energy Buildings: A Critical Look at the
Definition. ACEEE Summer Study, Pacific Grove, California, August, pp. 1-12.
Wong, Nyuk Hien and Heryanto, Sani. (2004). The study of active stack effect to enhance natural
ventilation using wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. Energy and
Buildings, 36, 668-678.
Wong, N. H., Tan, P. Y. and Chen, Y. (2007). Study of thermal performance of extensive rooftop
greenery systems in the tropical climate. Building and Environment, 42, 25-54.
Wong, N. H., Yong, A. K. T., Chen, Y., Sekar, K., Tan, P. Y. Chan, D., Chiang, K. and Wong, N.
C. (2010). Thermal evaluation of vertical greenery systems for building wall. Building and
Environment, 45, 663-672.