With the pressure of international net-zero emissions and the clarion call for carbon tariffs in Europe and the United States, countries have formulated relevant policies to devote themselves to energy conservation and carbon reduction.
According to the 2020 UNEP report of the United Nations Environment Program, building energy consumption accounted for 35% of the world's total energy consumption in 2019, and greenhouse gas emissions accounted for 38% of the total, even higher than the total emissions of the industrial sector and transportation. Therefore, reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption in the construction industry is an important part of achieving net zero emissions.
Towards Net Zero Emissions, How to Calculate Building Energy Consumption?
Zero Emission Building (ZEB):
The zero emission usually refers to the zero emission of CO2 and GHG in the total of building materials and energy used. The so-called life cycle zero discharge refers to the category of zero discharge plus zero discharge in the fields of transportation, construction, demolition, and waste disposal. Zero carbon emissions, zero emissions, and zero life cycle emissions are sequentially first-order and more comprehensive environmental impact assessments.
Buildings must first use high energy efficiency design to reduce their energy demand and then use green energy to achieve the state of zero energy. Although ZEB can strengthen building energy efficiency laws and force builders to propose higher energy efficiency designs than current buildings, the laws must take into account practical considerations and cannot be implemented all at once. If we want new buildings after 2030 to practice near-zero-energy buildings, we still need to rely on the government or private environmental protection agencies to take voluntary and declarative actions, requiring builders and architectural designers to actively go beyond energy-saving laws and regulations, and design lower energy-consuming buildings. architecture. Although ZEB aims to produce more green energy in the building site than the energy used in the building, green energy technology is independent of the technology and investment outside the building, and the focus of building administration is on the high energy efficiency design of the building.
Green buildings try to rediscover the relationship between man and nature and use the friendliest attitude towards nature to consume the least earth resources in a series of processes from building material production to building planning and design, construction, use, management, and demolition, a building that uses the least amount of energy and produces the least amount of waste. Because such a building balances the negative impact on the environment, it naturally reduces the negative impact on people, because the operation of the human body and the environment are layered and interlocking. People living in such buildings can naturally get the best quality of living, and physical and mental health.
How is Net Zero Emissions Different from Carbon Neutrality?
Carbon neutrality means that a country or a company removes the additional man-made carbon emissions emitted into the atmosphere through tree planting or engineering technology, or uses carbon trading to obtain carbon rights to offset. To achieve positive and negative offsets, and nominally does not produce extra carbon. Carbon neutrality only focuses on the balance of carbon dioxide, which is fairly simple, and net zero emissions go further, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), all currently classified greenhouse gases, must remove all greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere instead of using Carbon trading obtains carbon credit offsets, and nominally does not produce additional greenhouse gases, which is net zero emissions.
Why do We Need Net Zero Emissions?
Carbon reduction is the same as epidemic prevention. The carbon emissions in Taiwan will affect the whole world. The global carbon emissions will also affect Taiwan. Therefore, carbon neutrality and net zero emissions are not for loving the earth, but for collective risk control. The earth needs temperature and humidity regulation just like the human body. There are greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases will block and absorb the solar radiant heat (infrared rays) reflected from the earth back to space, helping the earth maintain a constant temperature. The original regulation system works well. However, after the Industrial Revolution, fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, and natural gas) dominated our energy output. After burning, many carbon dioxide was released into the air. This regulating system is like being covered with a big quilt, which cannot absorb Wet sweating, problems with the circulatory system, people will have problems, and the earth is of course no exception. It's just that the earth has problems, and it's not the earth that affects us, but humans and all kinds of creatures that live with us.
National Net Zero Emissions Declaration Progress:
In the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015, the global environmental goal of not exceeding 2°C was set at the end of this century. According to the estimates of various international think tanks, the increase in atmospheric temperature will exceed 2°C shortly! Therefore, all countries must achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Otherwise, the economic loss alone will be a serious blow to all countries. More than 12 countries around the world have announced through legislation that they will achieve net zero emissions by the middle of this century, and more than 100 countries are discussing plans for net zero emissions. 2050 is the target year set by most countries, and some European countries set an earlier time point, such as Sweden in 2045 and Finland in 2035.
Taiwan Zero Building-related Policies:
The building energy efficiency labeling system that is about to be launched in Taiwan requires residential buildings to be at least 40% energy efficient, and non-residential buildings to be 50% energy efficient. The current near-zero-energy building policy is based on the year 2000 when Taiwan’s green building system was launched as the calculation origin for near-zero-energy buildings. Buildings that want to obtain the Green Building Label must achieve 20% energy efficiency; residential buildings must achieve at least 40% energy efficiency, and non-residential buildings must achieve 50% energy efficiency.
From the energy efficiency label of a new building, we can know the energy-saving efficiency of the building when it is completed, but the performance evaluation only uses theoretical simulation and does not need to verify the actual energy consumption data. The purpose is to allow the construction management unit to manage the energy-saving design efficiency of the new building. The energy efficiency labels of existing buildings announce the actual energy-saving efficiency. In terms of calculation, factors such as the building shell, energy equipment, usage behavior, and operation management must be integrated, and the actual power consumption must be counted. These data will help the government manage and improve the energy consumption of old buildings in the future.
The carbon reduction goal represents the goal of resetting human society. Therefore, food, clothing, housing, transportation, education, and entertainment are all-encompassing, and a pragmatic business model is required to convert consumption habits to a low-carbon model. As long as whoever has the leading technology, whose products can be popularized quickly, and whose carbon financial market is established the fastest, whoever has the power to formulate the rules of the game. Carbon reduction has surpassed the level of environmental protection and loving the earth. The development of green industry and industrial greening will be a game on a global scale, and a balance will be achieved in the future world and life.