– The tougher energy requirements for buildings, NZE, acting in accordance with the EU's 2020 targets apply to all new buildings from 2021. It is something that poses major challenges for the construction industry and both new constructions and renovations will have the energy issue in focus. In my thesis, I present several useful solutions and approaches for the industry, says Thule Brahed, who now works as a civil engineer at the company Norconsult, where he also did his thesis.
A smorgasbord of techniques
While the energy requirements for buildings are becoming stricter, new products to reduce energy consumption are constantly launched and existing products are also improved. Future construction projects must in the early stages do an energy analysis and proceed with energy efficiency measures.
– Different technologies are competing, and to meet the requirements of near-zero energy buildings you must design a system in which the techniques are complementary. Therefore, each property's energy flows are investigated, and in my thesis, I studied an apartment building in Stockholm where I simulated 26 different energy efficiency measures, says Thule Brahed.
To meet the new requirements of the National Board of Housing one needs to also understand the rules. Energy from the sun, wind, water and soil that are produced within the property border, are for example classified as "free energy supplement".
– I suspect that the free energy sources, particularly from the sun, will take off. There is much excess heat in summer we must learn to take advantage of. One of the techniques involves seasonal storage of low-temperature heat which can greatly help to build more energy-efficient.
What Thule Brahed thought was the most fun with the thesis was to work with an area that is so current and to come into contact with the business community. The European Commission's 2020 target is close in time, which affects much of the discussions held within the energy sector. Getting the price from the Swedish Society of HVAC Engineers SWEDVAC, the largest personal association in the construction sector, was of course something he appreciated.
– I had the opportunity to present the work to people in the construction industry. Many approached me and wanted to discuss my results. NZE is hot right now, and many see problems that the future requirements may lead to. I understand that I have knowledge that the market is in need of, which of course feels good. Being involved in the development to achieve climate-smart solutions is a strong motivator for me.
Photo: Ted Karlsson