Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) is a living laboratory on CEPT University campus in Ahmedabad. It is a fitting example of NZEB —a building where the total amount of energy used annually is approximately equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site with hi tech equipment. This laboratory has fed 15% surplus energy into the electricity grid in 2015-16. At any point, approximately 900 sensors are operational in the building. It is a unique building which demystifies energy use in buildings to undergraduate students, serves as an experimental facility to postgraduate students for advanced learning and offers a state-of-art research platform for doctoral fellows. CEPT’s Center for Advanced Research in Building Science and Energy (CARBSE) manages the NZEB which serves as hi-tech lab for the master’s program in Building Energy Performance. CEPT University is recognized internationally for high quality research and deep experience in energy efficiency and net-zero energy buildings. The world-class research facility houses the state-of-the-art equipment which tests and measures thermal and luminous effects in buildings and building components. The NZEB was shortlisted for ACREX Hall of Fame 2017 by ISHRAE sponsored by DANFOSS – check video on http://www.danfoss.in/acrex-hall-of-fame/#/
CEPT University’s NZEB has also featured in a UNEP publication in November 2016:‘Greening Universities Toolkit V2.0’ which has a goal to transform universities around the world into viable green and sustainable campuses. The toolkit edition contains initiatives conducted by 28 universities across the world on their campuses as ‘global exemplar’ case studies from five global regions including both developed and developing countries.
The NZEB building has hybrid ventilation and cooling system combining natural ventilation with radiant cooling to maximize the use of fresh air for passive cooling, and still offsets peak temperature discomfort. In natural ventilation mode, the active air-conditioning system is turned off and chimney window will be opened to allow the natural draft through the building. In mechanical system mode, the building runs a primary (active radiant system with direct outdoor air units) and secondary cooling system (VRV/digital scroll) to maintain space comfort. In lighting, the goal is to limit energy use to three to four watts per square meter with minimal artificial lighting and reduced lighting power density. The NZEB living laboratory houses CARBSE’s test chambers: the thermal comfort chamber, guarded hot box and mirror box – artificial sky. Their control platforms are integrated with the building level platform. These chambers are available both for scholarly research and for industry testing.
CARBSE was recognized in December 2016 by The Indo-Swiss Building Energy Efficiency Project (BEEP), a bilateral cooperation project of the Ministry of Power, Government of India and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Swiss Confederation. CARBSE is also leading the prestigious US-India clean energy research and development project for building energy efficiency. Recently, CEPT- CARBSE research on thermal comfort became the new basis for the new version National Building Code 2016 for the Indian standards of thermal comfort model (derived mathematical equations done at NZEB) as India specific standard to provide thermal comfort in buildings.