Solar Energy, Vol.206, 245-255, 2020
Energy, carbon and cost analysis for an innovative zero energy community design
A substantial percentage of the energy consumption worldwide is consumed by buildings. Initiatives have been taken by investors, governments and policy-makers towards sustainability in different cities. The aim of this paper is to propose an innovative sustainable Zero Energy Community (ZEC) with 8 different building designs and 52 buildings to simulate a real community. The simulation is conducted using DesignBuilder and EnergyPlus software. The chosen building designs were based on the Egyptian community. Results show that the ZEC concept is achieved and the energy of the community relied only on renewable energy sources. For validation, the ZEC is compared to a conventional community in terms of energy, carbon footprint and economic analysis. Results show that the ZEC achieved an average annual percentage energy consumption reduction by 57.6% and in carbon dioxide emissions by 390 tons of CO2 compared to the conventional community. Buildings have payback periods that range from 1 to 10 years. Applying ZEC concepts proved to be feasible under hot climates such as Egypt. The proposed procedure can be followed by researchers in different climatic regions to achieve ZECs based on the chosen location's community designs and weather conditions. Practitioners can build-upon this work by implementing real ZECs by adopting integrated design concept that includes all stakeholders and by simulating every aspect and testing its feasibility before going into the practical implementations. Moreover, this study would help policy-makers and governments in achieving their strategic and broad perspective of achieving sustainable and zero energy cities and communities.