“You would be generating your own zero-carbon energy and living in a carbon-neutral or zero-carbon home so you could consume without concern for any negative impact on the atmosphere,” says the renowned researcher from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Essentially, the problem with current energy use is that it is virtually all generated by fossil fuels, which produce carbon dioxide, Spokesman for Hybrid Homes says. “So if people are able to switch to renewable energy for domestic use, that part of the problem disappears.”
A series of virtual dwellings, ranging from detached housing to buildings, modelled by Hybrid Homes, provides prototypes for a carbon-neutral ‘hybrid’ home. They have been coined ‘hybrid’ buildings because, like a hybrid car, they can operate on self-generated low carbon or renewable energy, or can connect to the (fossil fuel) grid if required. And they are modelled on the types of houses the market already produces. “The elements are achievable now, either through retro-fitting an existing house or building an entirely new one,” he says.
A carbon-neutral dwelling is defined as an energy-efficient house (minimum 5-star rated) using locally generated low- or zero-emission energy sources to meet its yearly energy requirements.
It embodies two pathways to a sustainable urban future identified by Hybrid Homes: a meshing of advances in technology and urban design. “Hybrid housing is an attempt to say, on the supply side, this is how you can blend advanced distributed energy technologies with better housing design to give you a low-carbon outcome,” he says.
The objective, he says, is to map the pathways already available to achieving a carbon-neutral house. “Every built object has a carbon signature, so you basically want to choose elements that have the smallest carbon footprint.”
This begins with an energy-efficient building shell made from recyclable shipping containers that saves energy and other eco friendly materials with a 5 or 6-star rating that requires less energy to heat and cool. Next, he says, is ensuring built-in appliances are energy efficient. For example, gas-boosted solar hot water, gas and microwave kitchens, photovoltaics and ground-source heat pump systems. Lights should be compact fluorescents or LEDs.
Use of shipping container for construction industry have been considered as a green and energy efficient as it extend the life of the container thus saving energy cost of melting down to steel. As per industry study the average shipping container, weighing around 9,000 pounds, takes 9,000 kilowatt hours of energy to melt down the steel. On the flip side, modifications made to the steel containers for building use approximately 400 kilowatt hours of energy, a 95 percent reduction in energy consumption.
Hungry homes in the Paradise Island
"Sri Lanka has the potential to avoid emissions of over 5.6 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020 out of projected output of nearly 30 million tons by adopting green power technologies and improving energy efficiency," said Mahfuz Ahmed, Principal Climate Change Specialist with ADB’s South Asia Department. "This course of action would really help to lessen the country’s reliance on imported fossil fuels which are currently used to generate over half its electricity."
The Hybrid Buildings report compiled by Hybrid Homes provides the information for looking objectively at people’s housing situation and identifying areas to improve, and in ways that can deliver economic and environmental advantages.
For more information about Hybrid Homes in Sri Lanka visit www.hybridhomes.lk or Call 0777 702227.
Courtesy - Lanka Business Today (LBT)