Commercial energy use in Arizona is different from the rest of the United States because of their high demand for air conditioning. Nearly half of the energy used in commercial buildings goes to heating, cooling, and ventilation. In an attempt to reduce overall every use in buildings, looking at these categories led to an examination of ventilation in buildings, which is the main cause for high heating and cooling costs. Ventilation of fresh air is required in order to provide a safe, healthy environment, with acceptable indoor air quality. Indoor air quality and pollution has continuously come to light as a major health concern for building occupants. Chemicals used in manufacturing allow consumers to buy and expose themselves to toxic substances such as volatile organic compounds on a daily basis. With minimal regulations on indoor air, it is important to find ways to better filter and clean it. The traditional solution is ventilation, but more fresh air ventilation means more heating and cooling. This paper explores the research that has been done on plants and phytoremediation and the applicability to indoor air quality. With the proof that certain combinations and amounts of plants can filter the air of volatile organic compounds, systems are explored for indoor air filtration instead of mechanical ventilation. This type of system can greatly reduce heating and cooling costs in buildings due to the reduction of outdoor air being brought in and requiring conditioning. A system of this type is a feasible solution to indoor air quality and can lead to a significant reduction in energy use. The proposed AIRMAPS is a system that in certain quantities can reduce the need for fresh air ventilation by 25%, which in turn has shown through the validation by eQUEST, that the energy used for heating, cooling, and ventilation fans can also be reduced by approximately the same amount. The plants used are spider plant, dumb cane, English ivy, and golden pothos. The average formaldehyde removal by each of these plants is a low approximation of 75% per cubic meter. This paper also considers the growing materials used for the plants; activated carbon, potting soil mix, and grow-stones, as well as their formaldehyde removal capabilities.
Gaxiola Camacho, Ivan Eladio (The University of Arizona., 2016)
Consequences of human activity in natural environments can be observed in urban phenomena. Urban Heat Island is one of those consequences, it is characterized by higher temperature levels in surface-cover and air in urban centers compared with its surrounding rural areas. UHIs are present in cities of arid ecosystems such as Phoenix and Tucson. Existing urban development trends contribute to UHI episodes. Urban Agriculture (UA) is an emerging environmental strategy and, contrary to traditional and industrial agricultural methods, UA systems provide the option of not using soil, its geometrical arrangement lets grow crops disregarding of extensive surface of land to be consumed. UA systems can be implemented as building fabric components. Urban Agriculture provides access to healthier and economic food, it is more energy efficient and promotes a more vegetarian diet which can eventually contribute diminishing health problems such as obesity and toxicity. A response for achieving a decrease in temperature levels in an urban arid region scenario can be established by demonstrating the following premise: "Urban Heat Island effect in arid regions can be mitigated if vegetated surface in the form of agriculture is properly integrated in the built environment". Research procedures were applied at building scale. Results involved physical objective data acquisition. Research methods required the use of software and thermodynamic tools to measure thermal behavior of samples. The impact of vegetated cover in temperature levels and thermal comfort in an outdoor scenario was digitally simulated. The selected research case contributed as a source of data for comparison and baseline benchmarking of thermodynamic circumstances. Employment of green infrastructure in cities can contribute to the improvement of energy efficiency in buildings and developing self-sufficient communities. Urban agriculture comprises implications and side beneficial environmental consequences in arid habitats beyond decreasing temperature levels in cities, such effects are energy conservation, reducing air pollution, diminishing food security concerns, improving soil quality and runoff wastewater as well as cutting down fossil fuel use in transportation of food. In that sense, future research fields include water quality and availability, innovative emerging materials, climate analysis, societal and cultural value, Net zero development and energy efficiency as well as solid waste management.
Alsalih, Hussein Ali Naser (The University of Arizona., 2017)
World energy consumption attends to increase in all sectors, which leads to more CO2 emissions and air pollution. In 2016, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that world energy consumption will increase up to 48% by 2040. The building sector is the largest consumer of the energy. Consequently, the global needs a universal proposal to mitigate and reduce the impacts on the environment and the natural resources. The energy consumption is accumulative of different aspects, such as buildings, transportation, industrial and other sectors. The building sector is the largest consumer of the energy. The energy consumption in the building is accumulative of different aspects of the annual usage, such as cooling, heating, lighting, and others. For instance, lighting consumes up to 22 % in the commercial buildings and 14% in the residential buildings in the hot-arid climate (Arizona). Therefore, this study focuses on proposing a method of daylight optimization that leads to Net-zero energy buildings in the hot-arid climate. Achieving Net Zero buildings needs high efficient buildings at the first step to make the task more affordable. By exploring and applying the daylight optimization strategies, energy consumption will be reduced in the way that cut down the CO2 emissions and the air pollution. These strategies attempt to turn off the artificial lighting during the useful daylight illuminance and provides a comfortable level for the occupancies. The Daylight passive technique usually categories under three main topics, which are the Sidelighting, Toplighting, and Corelighting. Furthermore, the daylight performance is assessed through different methods, such as daylight factor, daylight autonomy, glare index and the useful daylight illuminance. The method in this study is proposing passive daylight strategies and, testing how the new strategy would contribute to achieving the net-zero status, and validate the results (physical and digital experiments have been conducted to achieve the optimum proposal) to maintain the daylight through the building envelope (shading device, and fenestrations orientation sizes and materials).
Humaidan, Omar Abdulmughni (The University of Arizona., 2017)
This thesis demonstrates achieving a net-zero energy commercial building in the hot, arid region of Saudi Arabia. The development process uses three main concepts: evaluating and assessing selected existing commercial buildings, incorporating energy efficiency strategies, and implementing renewable energy source technologies. This study has been divided into five chapters: Introduction and Problem Statement, The Net-Zero Approach, Background of Saudi Arabia and Its Climatic Variations, Case Studies, and Project Development and Demonstration. Initially, an assessment of the Umm Al-Qura University administration building was conducted in two steps: 1) collecting building data and creating a building simulation in eQUEST software to obtain accurate performance prediction results and 2) implementing energy efficient strategies for both passive and active systems to mitigate energy use in commercial buildings located in hot, arid climates. Finally, embracing renewable energy sources through adopting Photovoltaic (PV) Panels will meet remaining energy needs after energy efficiency strategies have been applied. To summarize, the main focus is on designing energy efficiency strategies rather than focusing on technologies. After conducting this research, the following results were achieved in the simulation and calculation: 1. The energy savings were beyond expectation at 150,036 kWh in remaining energy. 2. A utility bill savings of more than half the cost of building operations. 3. The simple payback on the entire solar panel system for the proposed design will be approximately 3.3 years.
Alhawas, Mosad Abdulaziz (The University of Arizona., 2016)
The purpose of this research is to evaluate and assess the residential buildings energy consumption in the east cost of the Arabian Gulf region. After, conducting the energy performance assessment, the main goal is to reduce the energy consumption of those homes to reach the net-zero stage. Moreover, a net-zero strategies tree have been created. The tree has so many elements in order to help designing the Net-Zero prototype which going to reach the Net-Zero stage see fig.1: the strategies are :- renewable energy, passive technique and enhancing building quality. Furthermore, at the beginning of the research, a study was made for the Arabian Gulf vernacular architecture in order to help designing the net-zero prototype and learn some construction lessons from them since individuals were living in a net-zero homes at the time (no electricity).
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