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Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Global landmarks such as the, Sydney Harbour Bridge, The CN Tower in Toronto, The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome's Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.
In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world's largest global climate change initiative.
Earth Hour 2010 takes place on Saturday 27 March at 8.30pm (local time) and is a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community throughout the world. It is a call to stand up, to take responsibility, to get involved and lead the way towards a sustainable future. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Europe to Asia to the Americas will stand in darkness. People across the world from all walks of life will turn off their lights and join together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common - our planet. So sign up now and let's make 2010 the biggest Earth Hour yet!.
It's Showtime! Show the world what can be done.
Blueprint to a Sustainable and Brilliant Future
Buildings touch every aspect of our lives as they are the basic structures of everyday living - they represent the very core of modern living as we live, work and play in them. In developed nations, buildings utilise up to a third of total energy consumption. The rate of consumption would be even higher in Third World Nations as they constantly need more buildings to support their growth programme.
The twentieth century sustained massive usage of energy to fuel the rapid development of industrialisation worldwide. However, the turn of the millennium witnessed an environmental crisis which necessitated sustainable development. While it is important to produce more energy to power buildings, proper management of energy consumption in buildings is vital to eliminate wastage of energy that was generated.
One form of energy that should be managed is electricity, as savings from energy-efficient buildings can be converted into funding for research and development for other similar energy saving projects or education and transportation, among others.
The Zero Energy Office of Pusat Tenaga Malaysia (PTM)
Malaysia has heeded the global call for energy efficiency in buildings in the form of collaborations between the public and private sector. One such collaboration resulted in the creation of the PTM's Zero Energy Office (ZEO) in Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor.
Modelled after the Low Energy Office (LEO) building of the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications (MEWC) in Putrajaya, this one-of-its-kind structure is a pioneer effort in integrating the energy efficiency and renewable energy practice. This creation will serve as the foundation for industry professionals and academics in improving energy efficient and renewable energy technologies and skills in the nation.
In formulating its design, the natural climatic conditions of Malaysia were taken into account. The conditions were determined to be indeed favourable to such a venture as sunlight is in abundance in Malaysia. Furthermore, daylight (i.e. an all-natural and free source of lighting) is accessible for up to twelve hours a day, all year long.
As such, the PTM-ZEO building aims to utilise natural sunlight to the maximum, by harnessing daylight through the roof and evening light via the windows. With this objective, PTM hopes to spearhead international cooperation on sustainable buildings in tropical climates, such as that experienced in Malaysia.
Integrated Design Elements
The primary design objective for the PTM-ZEO was to achieve zero energy consumption with the least construction costs. From the conceptual stage and at every juncture of its engineering, the building was designed using integrated design development methods comprising cooperation of all parties including the client, architects, energy engineer, engineers and advanced computer energy design tools. This design hence provided a basis for several key energy saving strategies.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy was implemented through various encompassing facets of the building overall design. Foremost is the integrated Solar Photovoltaic (PV) system in the roof of the building, namely the Building Integrated PV (BIPV) System. Energy from the sun is harnessed through this PV system and would address all electricity needs of the building. In other words, the entire electricity load of the building is covered by the BIPV System, where the PV elements are based on the rich & sustainable supply of solar energy available in Malaysia.
Another sustainable design feature for the PTM ZEO building would be the utilisation and application of high performance glazing (advanced window system) and proper insulation. High performance glazing, namely Spectrally Selective Glazing (SS glazing), works by allowing visible spectrum of light to pass but expelling the infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) wave. The sealed double-glazing used is the key feature to the harnessing of the natural daylight resource while eliminating to a great degree the unnecessary heat radiation into the building. The effect is increased energy efficiency for the building while at the same time heightening general productivity as a result of the greater preservation of physical well-being for those who work within.
The floors of the building are also a key part of the sustainable design element due to their role in the storage of cooling for the building at night time. This works by embedding tubes (Poly Ethylene crosslink, PEX) within the screeding on top of concrete floor slabs, allowing the floors to effectively cool down at night. In the day, this stored cooling will be released from the floor slabs to the rooms above and below them, providing part of the building's cooling load during the day, which will also be supplemented by conventional air cooling systems.
Foresight in planning has also ensured the preservation of air quality via the process of dehumidification. However, dehumidification of air in any building consumes a great load of electricity in general. To reduce this load, a desiccant heat wheel is used to exchange incoming hot and humid fresh air with cooler and drier exhaust air. At the same time, the CO2 level of air within the building will also be a determiner on the amount of fresh air to be led in - the higher the CO2 level, the more fresh air will be circulated within the building.
A Positive Outlook for Energy Efficient Architecture
As the first decade of the second millennium comes to a close, it is crucial to implement measures to best manage all available energy resources. Pioneer efforts like the PTM ZEO building serve as an impetus - effectively leading the way to a more fulfilling, rewarding and enriching quality of life for now and future generations.
The Zero Energy Office of Pusat Tenaga Malaysia
Following the success of the Low Energy Office (LEO Building) which hosted the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications (KTAK) in Putrajaya, Pusat Tenaga Malaysia (PTM), has now taken the initiative to develop the region's first Zero Energy Office building called in short as the ZEO.
The building which sited on a 5-acre site in Seksyen 9, Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor marked another milestone towards greater adoption of sustainable building concept in Malaysian building projects.
The ZEO was designed to be energy efficient, thus consuming very little fossil fuels with energy index of 40 kWh/m2year; compared to conventional office building of 250 - 300 kWh/m2year.
Being a pilot project for sustainable office buildings of the future, where fossil fuels will have to be used judicially for provision of cooling and lighting features in buildings, the building demonstrates that the ZEO concept can be realized using technologies already available today while taking full advantage of an environment where solar generated electricity and daylight are plentiful.
The BIPV panels is integrated into the building design such that it is both architecturally and aesthetically integrated, as well as providing all the electricity the building uses. The BIPV system is then integrated in the electrical grid by feeding electricity into the network and shaving the peak power demand of the grid during the peak daylight hours.
This will demonstrates how a combination of advanced energy saving techniques and integration of renewable energy sources in the building design can lead to a building with net zero energy consumption, optimize the usage of the electric grid during cheap off-peak hours, while being aesthetically attractive.
This extremely low energy consumption of 40 kWh/m2year is achieved using a range of advanced energy efficiency measures. These measures include :
Advanced building architecture, where the windows face only north and south, and the glazing is double pane spectrally selective glazing that filters the light so that only the "cool" visible light is allowed to pass whereas infrared and ultraviolet light is held back. The interior of the building receives enough daylight to make the building 100% daylit during daytime, whereas very little heat radiation heat enters the building.
Daylight is the main light source of the building, and light from the daylight windows in the façade is supplemented by roof lights and light shafts that transmit cool daylight deep into the building.
Electric lighting will primarily be used in the evenings and during very dark periods in the daytime. Electric lighting will be very energy efficient, providing the necessary 300 lux at an installed capacity of only 6 W/m2, compared to normally 15 - 20 W/m2. Electric lights are only on during short periods.
The photovoltaic (PV) system of the building provides all the electricity the building needs on a daily or monthly basis. During daytime, the PV system produces excess electricity that is exported to the TNB grid, coinciding with the periods where there is a peak load on the grid. During nighttime electricity is bought back from the grid and used to run the chillers. This means that beyond using no electricity at a net basis, the building also contributes to load shifting in the national grid.
Cooling produced during nighttime is stored in two different systems. Some of the cooling produced is stored in a phase change storage tank, where the melting point of the storage medium is 10oC. The rest of the cooling load is stored in the concrete floor slabs of the building via embedded pipes. During daytime, cooling is gradually released to the rooms from the ceiling and the floors. Water at 10oC from the storage tank is used to dehumidify the air in the building.
The rising of energy cost and the growing electricity consumption could not be avoided in the future. With the success of the PTM ZEO Building, it could paved the way for such concepts to be applied in the building sector which account for 20 to 40 percent of the national energy consumption.