Daikin aims for zero energy building

Daikin Europe is joining major European research institutions in developing economically feasible net zero energy building (nZEB) concepts based on heat pumps. These research institutions, including Manchester University, will be partners in this exceptional cross-border project, coordinated by Environment Application Research at Daikin Europe.

Daikin Europe and the Zeller Group, a German heat pump and air conditioning expert and Daikin equipment installer, will construct the house and install the various technologies and monitoring equipment. Testing, monitoring and tours for interested parties began in July 2010 and run for 12 months. From 2012, new technologies in the pipeline will be added to the project to test and promote their use. Similar projects are planned by Daikin for France in the autumn of 2011 and in the UK and/or Italy in the spring of 2012.

The EU has imposed ambitious reduction targets for year 2020: 20% reduction in energy use compared to projected levels, 20% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to 1990 levels and the use of 20% renewable energy. At present the energy consumption of buildings accounts for 41% of total consumption and of this, 80% is attributable to heating, cooling and hot water. Clearly, increasing building energy efficiency will play a major role in meeting these goals.

To contribute proactively to meeting these targets, Daikin has promoted the construction of a typical office with a net zero energy use, utilising heat pumps and solar cells as renewable energy sources. Heat pumps will also reduce CO2 emissions compared to fossil fuel based heating. Collaboration is being actively sought with European research and educational institutions to further optimise energy reducing technologies. The emphasis of the project is on practicality and the building type chosen – a combination office/warehouse complex – is a widely used concept to which existing and easily available technologies will be applied. Although a new building is being used, the intention is also to gain information to apply to existing buildings.

Existing technologies will be used including heat pumps, energy recovery ventilation and energy production using solar cells. These technologies fit together well since the low net energy consumption of heat pumps makes it economically feasible to generate the required electricity using solar cells. Ventilation with heat and humidity recovery, as well as free cooling will also be used. Furthermore nZEB will be made Smart Grid Ready through energy use and adaptation of demand.

Subsequent to monitoring the project and establishing conclusions, the German Energy Agency DENA will be requested to grant green building certification in order to become a part of the EU Greenbuilding Programme.