Measurement and Verification Protocols of Net-Zero Energy Buildings


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50 Measurement and verification protocol of Net-Zero Energy building

1. measurement metrics and parameters relating to ZEB...standards and directive, energy consumption rates, IEQ,

2. calculation and methodology...simulation….monitoring…

3. tools….design, simulation, test etc.

4. standardization...certification, recognition program (IEA, ASHRAE….) etc… current examples...

What is Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB)?

There have been attempts to define the ZEB concept. There are many common definitions such as this; ‘A Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) is a building that has zero carbon emissions and net zero energy consumption and over the course of one year.

What qualifies a building as a NZEB can be determined using different metrics.?

  1. Net Zero Site Energy (NZSE): A Site ZEB which produces in a year at least as much energy as it uses, when accounted for at the site. Applying this definition is convenient as verification can be achieved through on-site metering. This encourages energy-efficient designs; however, it does not distinguish fuel types or take into account inefficiencies in the utility grid.
  1. Net Zero Source Energy (NZSE): A Source ZEB produces annually at least as much energy as it uses, when accounted for at the source. Source energy means the primary energy for generation and delivery of the energy to the site.In order to calculate a building’s total source the appropriate site-to-source conversion, multipliers are used to calculate energy the imported and exported energy. This illustrate clearer the total energy impact compared to a site definition. It is challenged, however, by the difficulties to acquire site-to-source conversions, and by the constraints of these conversions.
  1. Net Zero Energy Costs (NZEC): In a Cost ZEB, the capital the utility pays the building owner for the energy from the building to the grid is at least the same as the amount the owner pays the utility annually in return for the energy services and energy used. This definition, is easy to verify with utility bills. Getting to zero, may be difficult because of utility rate structures
  1. Net Zero Energy Emissions (NZEE): A NZEE building produces at least the same amount of emissions-free renewable energy as it uses from the sources of emissions-producing energy [#1] This is probably a better model for “green”energy sources; however, like the source NZEB definition, it can be difficult to calculate.

Net-Zero Energy Building performance

The terms “net zero energy”, “zero net energy”, “net zero carbon” building may have different meanings and are not thoroughly understood, a number of IEA countries have adopted this vision as the long-term goal of one of their building energy policies. What is missing is a definite interpretation and an international agreement on the measures for building performance that can inform zero energy building policies, zeroprograms and industry adoption (IEA SHC group 2012 <>). Framework has been developed to map out the factors involved in this type of building to assist sustainable designers of new buildings and retrofitting of existing buildings.

Common Monitoring Strategies

There are three common monitoring strategies for Net-zero energy building evaluation process.

  1. Whole-building approach, which is based on energy flow measurement of the whole building, carry out at the boundary of building by via utility meters or other manual method.
  2. Sub-metering approach, based on gathering of measurements of isolated energy usage of systems or components through dedicated equipment.
  3. The indoor environment quality (IEQ), based on measurement of comfort parameters such as relative humidity, temperature, luminosity, etc. to assess occupant comfort level.

Table 1. Steps to be considered during the different phases of Net ZEB monitoring [6-6]

Source: IEA SHC/ECBCS Task 40/Annex 52 – Towards Net Zero Energy solar Buildings

M&V protocol for Net ZEB. A technical report of STA, 2013

Building performance approach to NZEB

An NZEB energy performance can be accounted for or defined in several ways, subject to different boundary and the metric or the definitions of NZEB. It also depends on the project goals and the values of the design team and building owner. depending. A number of limitations seem to exist with the current definitions. What appears to be needed is a more exhaustive framework, which starts to unpack some of these variables in terms of building performance. The term building performance is commonly associated with occupant comfort or more broadly indoor environmental quality (IEQ) that leads to comfort and energy efficiency. There are two more factors that also need to be considered.First it needs efficient equipment and materials appropriate for the location and conditions (technical factors); and second, amenities and services appropriate to the building’s intended use; and operated in such a manner as to have a low energy use compared to other, similar, buildings (non technical factors)

What is IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality)?

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) is major component for the evaluation of meeting the concept of Net-zero energy building. It is to describe as condition inside the building, which means the environmental quality of space. Elements of IEQ are accounting for twenty-one percentage of criteria for green building evaluation for non-residential buildings, including academic building in higher educational intuitions. Factors that involve such as air quality, lighting, thermal comfort, acoustic conditions, humidity, sound, occupant control and odor. Energy, natural ventilation, design of the building...etc.

IEQ Monitoring

IEQ requirements is one of the major risks a Net-zero energy building would sacrifice to decrease energy consumption. In that case, IEQ must be monitored in order to clarity the level of comfort that can be acceptable. Furthermore, measurements of these factors would need as adjustment purpose that enable to the comparison with design values’ and detect malfunctioning consumption.

Measurements of IEQ can also be conducted assessing of occupant comfort via indirect or direct (measurement and/or questionnaires) assessments. Moreover, if the comfort condition is absent, occupant would react immediately and finding solutions, which would affect performance of energy. In that case, commissioning of building will continue to verify the performance is really crucial or not. IEQ monitoring level is based on specific objectives, such as assessment of comfort and/or alignment processes, as well as budget or effort that available. Selection of relevant parameters would allow equipping larger number of point, in fact more parameters can provide offer detailed picture. There are four monitoring level, including Level 1 Basic Monitoring, Level 2 Advanced Basic Monitoring, Level 3, Detailed Monitoring and Level Advanced Detailed Monitoring.

Table 2 as below will provide overview of four different monitoring levels


The Net ZEB evaluation tool, available for free download at, can assist with the calculation of the energy balance, load match index and operation cost

International energy efficiency requirements for new buildings

Different countries have started to go for developing a common international requirement or standard for the energy efficiency, but at the moment, most of energy efficiency requirement of building codes is following local, state or base on national tradition. Such as US, it is based on Energy Efficiency standards (IECC 200415 and ASHRAE 200416), these standards are applying in US and Canada. Like the European Energy Performance in the Buildings Directive (EPBD), it would require their members’ state of European Union to determine requirements for energy

efficiency for new building.


[50.6] "Measurement and Verification protocol for Net Zero Energy Buildings"


[50.8] ASHRAE. 2002. ASHRAE GUIDELINE 14-2002 Measurement of energy and Demand Savings.

SF Tool, 2013. Indoor Environmental Quality [online] Available at:

<> [Accessed 30 April 2014]

M.A Sulaiman et al, 2013. Evaluation of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) on dense Academic building case studies Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 3, Issue 1

[1] The Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010

on the energy performance of buildings, Official Journal of the European Union.

[2] J. Ayoub, IEA SHC /ECBCS Project Factsheet Towards Net Zero Energy Solar Buildings.



[3] L. Aelenei, R. Lollini, H. Gonçalves, D. Aelenei, M. Noguchi, M. Donn and F. Garde.

Passive cooling approaches in net-zero energy solar buildings: lessons learned from

demonstration buildings. In: CISBAT, Lausanne, September 2011.

[4] I. Sartori, A. Napolitano and K. Voss. Net zero energy buildings: A consistent definition

framework. Energy and Buildings. Volume (48) 2012 220–232.

[5] IEA SHC Task 40/ECBCS Annex 52. Towards Net Zero Energy Solar Buildings (NZEBs).


“A Design Framework for Achieving Net Zero Energy Commercial Buildings”

[40.17]Torcellini, P., S. Pless, S. and M. Deru, M, 2006, ‘Zero Energy Buildings: A Critical Look at the Definition,’ NationalRenewable Energy Laboratory D. Crawley U.S. Department of Energy. ACEEE Summer Study Pacific Grove, California August 14−18.

[#1]Torcellini, P., S. Pless, S. and M. Deru, M, 2006, ‘Zero Energy Buildings: A Critical Look at the Definition,’ NationalRenewable Energy Laboratory D. Crawley U.S. Department of Energy. ACEEE Summer Study Pacific Grove, California August 14−18.

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