Placed on – 18 November 2021

Green Buildings and Renewable Energy

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Green Buildings and Renewable Energy

In addition to reducing the energy consumption of a building, it is also important to look at the remaining energy needs of a building and how this can be compensated through more sustainable methods, such as renewable energy.

Green buildings
A green building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. Integrating renewable energy into smart buildings is one way that can help meet the major challenge of achieving international and national climate goals. Renewable energy sources commonly used for construction applications include solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass.

Green buildings incorporate different techniques and practices to use renewable resources. An example is solar panels, both on the roof and on the ground, that convert solar energy into electricity. Another technology that green buildings use is micro wind turbines. Micro wind turbines are suitable for building scalable applications and are referred to as building-integrated wind turbines. Recent advances in this technology have resulted in improved reliability and efficiency at low wind speeds, and reducing costs.

Green roofs
Green buildings often also contain green roofs with small trees, plants, and rain gardens that conserve water. Green roofs contribute to cleaner air, a reduction in energy demand, more biodiversity, and longer roof life. When dry, the green roof layers act as insulators, reducing heat flow through the roof and thus reducing the energy required to cool the building’s interior. In winter, these insulating effects reduce the heat emission of the building so that less heating is required. In summer, green roof vegetation lowers the temperature of the roof and the surrounding air, thus reducing the need for energy for cooling.

Powering sensors through energy harvesting
Energy harvesting is a way to power sensors and devices by converting energy from other sources into usable electrical energy. Energy sources include light, heat differences, mechanical vibrations, transmitted RF signals, or any source that can produce an electrical charge through a transducer. These energy sources are all around us and can be converted into electrical energy, such as a thermoelectric generator (TEG) for temperature difference, a piezoelectric element for vibrations, a photovoltaic cell for sunlight (or indoor lighting), and even galvanic energy from moisture. This creates a selfsufficient and sustainable sensor network independent of energy and extends the operating time of the sensor.

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