Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 18

Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Journal of Cleaner Production


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jclepro

An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation


of sustainability based on emergy theory
Hwang Yi a, *, Ravi S. Srinivasan b, William W. Braham c, David R. Tilley d
a
Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture, College of Communication, Architecture þ The Arts, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA
b
M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction, College of Design, Construction and Planning, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
c
Department of Architecture, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania, 210 S. Street, Meyerson Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
d
Department of Environmental Science and Technology, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: This study evaluates the sustainability of net-zero energy building (NZEB), in terms of ecosystems
Received 20 July 2016 development on a global environmental scale, with ecological indices and metrics. Employing Howard
Received in revised form Odum's ecosystems theory and emergy (spelled with an “m”), authors attempt to associate building
26 November 2016
energy consumption with thermodynamic networking of energy quality transformation. All upstream
Accepted 12 December 2016
Available online xxx
impacts of energy use are evaluated with emergy-based sustainability indicators. A LEED-platinum
credited NZEB was chosen for tests and a previous study was revisited to set a baseline (non-NZEB) with
refined data for comparative analyses. Findings show that NZEB uses greater nonrenewable emergy to
Keywords:
Net-zero energy building (NZEB)
seek a zero-energy budget despite its greater emergy sustainability index (ESI). It was identified that
Emergy analysis production of renewable energy and the intensification of a climate-modifying function (insulation)
Maximum empower principle required an increase of environmental inputs (construction materials, economic services and labor) with
Emergy sustainability index (ESI) upgraded energy quality. Empower distributions through building components characterize spatial hi-
erarchies of building energy flow. This work demonstrates that building sustainability tends to depend
on increasing power, not efficiency, which justifies maximum empower principle in environmental
building research.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction and strategy) and whether on-site or off-site generation is taken for
a renewable energy option. In other words, NZEB seems easily
Net-zero energy building (NZEB) has been recognized as a achieved once energy cost (use or emission) and generation, at
progressive mission among building professionals to achieve the either a source or site, are balanced over a specific timeframe.
highest building performance. Current environmental building However, despite the wide acceptance of NZEB definitions and
certification programs and agendas, such as Living Building Chal- the development of integrated approaches (e.g., life-cycle NZEB,
lenge, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air- nearly-zero building, zero embodied-energy building (Marszal
Conditioning Engineers) Vision 2020, and the Architecture 2030 are et al., 2011)), obscurity inherent in “net-zero” leads to a knowl-
related, in a direct or indirect manner, to the vision of NZEB edge gap in terms of the integration of buildings and extended
(Crawley et al., 2009). Net-zero energy (NZE), an integral term of environmental contexts. Srinivasan et al. (2012). address three
NZEB, is in effect a hypothetical definition that can be qualified in problems of zero-energy definitions: (i) the zero-energy concept
different technical terms. Pless and Torcellini (2010) classify NZEB regards renewable sources as limitless and free, (ii) there is no clear
definitions into four categories by addressing different boundaries threshold for the degree of energy reduction, and (iii) the NZEB's
of renewable source production and energy balance; the spatial/ capacity for renewable source production is balanced primarily
temporal scale that renewable inputs offset environmental/ with operational energy use or cost. In fact, renewable resources
economical loads and impacts (thereby establishing a design goal are far from “free.”; environmental systems expend significant
work to generate wind, tide, and ground heat, and technologies to
capture and concentrate them to be useful necessarily involve
* Corresponding author.
considerable energy investment. Renewable resources are simply
E-mail address: hyi@fiu.edu (H. Yi). different kinds of energy inputs with shorter renewal frequencies.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
0959-6526/© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
2 H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18

On the other hand, due to the unbounded limit of energy reduction be avoided at any cost; rather, it is quite opposite. This study admits
in the zero-energy conception, NZEB does not distinguish differ- that it is necessary to examine building sustainability in a broader
ence between a building of high energy users with a large renew- terrain which spans across human economy, nature, and a course of
able substitution and low energy users with a reduced substitution. mutual interaction that defines complex building energy flows.
No matter how much energy and materials are consumed, net-zero
balancing concerns only whether or not renewable energy meets 1.2. Objectives and scope of study
immediate demands for building operation, maintenance, and/or
construction. Moreover, in recent life-cycle approaches and the A prevailing NZEB definition focusing on operational energy use
consideration of embodied energies in the evaluation of NZEB often overlooks broader building systematic actions, such as
(Cellura et al., 2014), “net-zero” does not clearly account for the rebound effects triggered by increased material inputs for energy
entire building lifecycle that includes the environmental “forma- reduction and high efficiency on a global scale. This may prevent
tion” phases of renewable and nonrenewable resources. All these the comprehensive management and decision-making of building
gaps are fundamentally due to the NZEB's extreme pursuit of the construction and design. To fill this gap, this study seeks to adopt an
greatest energy efficiency and reduction, which excludes indirect emergy analysis method and associated environmental concep-
influences or positive engagements of man and natural environ- tions, because emergy metrics measure material, energy, and eco-
ment. This reveals a rationale to consider NZEB in a greater coor- nomic consumption in terms of commeasurable global
dination of environmental work as well as with the need for a environmental energy cost. Results present the emergy-based
holistic approach to its performance evaluation. environmental performance of NZEB, introducing a new under-
standing of building sustainability based on a global ecosystems
1.1. Needs for an eco-systemic approach to NZEB evaluation principle. A widened NZEB analysis boundary from an ecological
perspective incorporates not only the quantity of energy con-
An underlying principle in current efficiency-oriented ap- sumption but also the energy quality (which was slightly noticed by
proaches to sustainable building is “maximum energy gains and energy analysis) into the ecosystem's thermodynamic mechanism.
efficiency, minimizing loss”; in this conception, energy-saving For comparison with the performance of non-NZEB, a similar sized
mechanisms qualify environmental values of matter and energy single-family house named Ellis house (“building A” hereinafter.
against the scarcity of material and energy resources with a focus Authors revisited our previous study (Yi and Braham, 2015) to
on the final productdbuilding. In this frame, a building is modeled correct and refine the emergy data of this building.) is evaluated.
merely as a machine that overwhelms available resources for its Experiments with case study buildings are undertaken to evaluate
sustenance; implementation of building technology for high per- the environmental performance of NZEB. The targets of our
formance ends up an obsession with efficiency. However, a building investigation include:
should be thought of as an agency that can help the environment
grow and develop consistently (Peacock, 1999). At the global C Evaluation of sustainability based on methods and indices
environment level, what is wasted during a building's lifetime can from emergy theory.
be redirected to enliven relationships between environmental C Description on the profiles of embodied energetic power and
systems or even to augment resource generation (Braham, 2015). the resource intensities of NZEB through emergy accounting.
Nevertheless, major sustainability assessment methods do not C Evaluation of the qualitative aspects of NZEB's renewable
allow for broader contexts of building work such as the geo- energy production and material inputs using emergy indices.
biospherical environmental interactions of building components C Characterization of NZEB's sustainability based on Odum's
and human activities. The workplace performance of occupants or maximum empower principle.
the engagement of productive social elements for the building
operation is as important as purchased energy cost. 2. New framework for the evaluation of building
An emergy (spelled with an “m”)-based ecological under- sustainability
standing of building energy analysis incorporates building perfor-
mance with the complex energetic functioning of environmental 2.1. Overview of emergy theory
systems. Particularly, emergy evaluation based on the second
thermodynamic principle integrates building, nature, and human By definition, emergy is “the availability of energy of one kind
work under the consistent circulation and evolving hierarchies of that is used up in transformations directly and indirectly to make a
global resources; it helps explain building as a form of energetic product or service (Odum, 1996).” In the 1980s, H.T. Odum, a pio-
organization that underlines positive aspects of source utility; this neering ecologist, suggested the ideas of solar embodied ener-
approach can characterize the generative potential of an aban- gydemergy, and associative evaluation methods have been
doned resource, such as construction waste. Energy consumption is developed later on by Odum and his colleagues (Odum, 1983, 1996).
evaluated not only in terms of resource scarcity but also potential Emergy theory is fundamentally grounded in the biologists primary
for environmental productivity (a degree of contribution to other concern on the logic of natural selection; it aims to find with a
systems). In this approach, renewable energy is not merely a sub- holistic view structures and processes that can explicate the com-
stitute for nonrenewable energy; in terms of thermodynamic plex phenomenological behaviors and relationships of ecosystems,
mechanism, both function to concentrate/dissipate materials and integrating all living and nonliving elements. The key concept of
to degrade energy quality, while increasing the entropy of the this theory is that a different form of energy has a different energy
global environmental system (the earth), whereby renewable en- quality, and the energy transformation work is the dominant player
ergy suppliers can be substantial energy consumers. Accordingly, that determines the quality. Integration of the following two terms
the self-production of energy or a net energy balance, in the NZE makes emergy distinctive from other environmental accounting
concept, aided by renewable resources can be said as a different metrics: (i) the “available (useful)” portion of energy quantity; and
way of building's energetic trading with other systems. Introduc- (ii) memorizing the contribution of “indirect” energy transfer. The
tion of an ecosystem approach to NZEB is neither to negate use of special emphasis on the available amount of an energy resource
the high-end technologies for improving building performance nor accounts for the thermodynamic basis of the emergy theory,
to insist that fossil-fueled building operation and construction must because the availability identifies how far a system under

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18 3

observation is positioned from thermodynamic equilibrium, and embodiment of environmental resources and the organizing
thus defines the ability of the target system to perform work in pattern of building energy transfer. Regarding the fifth law, Odum
relation with the ambient environment. In this sense, emergy states, “the energy flows of the universe are organized in an energy
overlaps in part with exergy (free-energy relative to the sur- transformation hierarchy (Odum, 1996)”. The concept of energy
rounding). However, they are not fully interchangeable with each hierarchy is meant by that the system's position within the global
other, since emergy recognizes the embodiment of used energies, environment can be ranked by identifying the ability to perform
i.e., concentration of environmental support in system entities work, so a higher ranked system controls the behavior of lower
(Ulgiati, 1999). It does a sum by adding up all the quantities of systems. Here, emergy gains for system development do not
useful energy used for every energy transformation process, necessarily refer to large accumulation of embodied energy, but
including the formation of environmental sources. Therefore, also production (yield) of small high-quality energy. Then, trans-
emergy enables to interface seamlessly the processes of human- formity in emergy theory becomes a paramount descriptor of the
dominated systems and nature. hierarchical system organization, for it is the measure of in-
To provide a uniform language for this concept, Odum believed efficiency, the payoff of high-quality energy outputs. Based on the
that energy at any scale can be compared by measuring it with one fifth law, Odum found a functional relation between the quantity
kind of energy, and then he proposed to use solar embodied energy and quality of useful energy produced (measured by transformity)
equivalent, i.e., solar emjoule (sej), in order to convert all different through system work, as he describes that large quantity tends to
energy metrics into a single emergy unit. be coupled with low quality (Odum, 1996). Adapted from this
In emergy accounting, emergy of a product or service is esti- finding, Fig. 1 plots a conceptual line (E-Tr line) by coordinating
mated by the multiplication of an inefficiency factor (termed energy (quantity) and transformity (quality). From the integration
transformity) and the quantity of available energy output. Total of the MePP and the fifth law, we expect that the arrangement of
emergy is thus obtained by the summation of a unit emergy value energy quality of a developing system, in the stable surroundings,
of each transformation process such that: would follow an indicated direction of the E-Tr line, in order to
X maximize emergy power.
Em ¼ Tri $Ei (1) Meanwhile, energy system standing can be categorized by
i subdividing the chart into four zones, each of which refers to a
different type of system development. The results of energy
where Em is a total emergy value, Tri is a transformity value of the transformations under a stable environment would be displayed in
ith energy transformation work (of a product or service), and Ei zones (II) and (IV), whereas zones (I) and (III) would include un-
denotes an available energy output. The output energy is usually stable or biased processes (Fig. 1).
measured in Joule, giving a transformity a unit of sej/J. When it is
more reasonable to measure the final output in mass, transformity 2.3. Emergy-based indices of system performance and
is expressed with a unit of weight (kg or g), and then it becomes sej/ sustainability
kg or sej/g, so it shall be termed specific emergy, rather than
transformity (Brown, 2005). However, this distinction is occasion- Once the ecosystem principle is substantiated, it looks as if we
ally so blurred in accounting as to be referred to both as unit can draw an immediate consequence that the overarching goal of
emergy value (UEV). building sustainability is maximizing empower of building systems,
if we regard, as widely known in the Brundtland Report (WCED,
2.2. Maximum empower principle and ecosystem development 1987), that sustainability is directed towards a long-lasting

The significance of an ecological understanding (using emergy


theory) of building performance rests upon teleological principles,
in which enables to explain the causality of systemic changes in the
course of the development of physical/biological systems. In
accordance with Lotka's (1922) statement that natural selection is
bound up with system energetics and the rate of total energy flux
and that material circulation tends to increase, Odum and
Pinkerton (1955) elaborated to formalize it as a theorem of
“optimal efficiency for obtaining maximum power”, which was
later refined as maximum empower principle (MePP); a system
with greater emergy retained per time is fit to survival.
Although complete demonstration of MePP would resort, due to
its macroscopic narratives, to phenomenological observation, MePP
establishes a theoretical basis of a new understanding of building
environmental systems. In particular, the Odum's argument that
systems favor development at no more than 50% energy efficiency
clearly implies that high efficiency does not ensure satisfactory
building performance and, rather, somewhat inefficient actions Fig. 1. System developmental types (adapted from Odum's ecosystem principles) - (I)
Premature type: Systems are underdeveloped or undefined. Systemic energy networks
shall be required for stable building system operation.
are inactive and transfers may be reversible (e.g., the earliest geological cycle); (II)
MePP does not simply explain the cause of natural selection but Embryonic type: Systems are underdeveloped, and primarily use environmental en-
also addresses why living systems self-organize, so it is related ergy of low quality. However, they are ready to be concentrated with different types of
further to Odum's fifth law (strictly speaking, not a law but a lawful energies for growth and development; (III) Growth type: Thriftless use of high-quality
principle) of thermodynamics, i.e., the principle of system hierar- energies. Systems in this domain may grow in size, but are ill-structured to self-
organizing development. This type is unstable, and sets limit to sustainability (e.g., a
chy (Tilley, 2004). This thinking can make an immediate sense to system with imported fossil fuels); (IV) development type: Energy-transferring
building design, construction and management, for it enables to structures are well-organized towards maturity and maximizing power. Systems are
describe the lawful relationship between the availability and likely to develop high-quality energy storages with feedback mechanisms.

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
4 H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18

F
M+F : Nonrenewable sources
R+M : Natural (locally available) sources

Local ecosystem
M
E1

B1
R E2
B2 H Ybuilding = R + M + F

I
D

Building ecosystem

Heat drain

R: Renewable energy source from the local area (solar radiation, wind, rain, or geothermal heat) LEGEND
M: Complementary local materials and useful energies (e.g., soil, rock, groundwater, etc.)
F: Feedback from human economy (e.g., industrial raw material, labor, service, etc.)
Source Source energy flow
I: Interaction of imported energy
B1: Material stock in a building form (building construction) Gate/Interaction Internal feedback
B2: Building use/operation D: Dispersed material /ambient heat Storage Material recycling
E1: Recycling of local materials E2: Export of useful material/energy/information
Process Degradation
H: Human (occupant) Y: Yield of potential energy available to other systems

Fig. 2. Generic energy flow diagram for building emergy analysis.

developmental status. However, as Lotka and Odum have useful indices of the system's ecological performance and sustain-
mentioned (Lotka, 1922; Odum and Pinkerton, 1955), such a goal is ability. First, assuming a system is fully mature, total emergy gain,
valid only as far as larger environmental systems that the building or yield (Y), of the system is obtained by,
is part of capacitate to supply useful resources; where resources are
scarce, recycling and renewability would characterize self- Y ¼RþMþF (2)
sustaining systems. In a similar vein, under a behavioral uncer- This indicates system power if R, M, and F are measured on a
tainty of the global environment, emergy maximization does not temporal basis. Meanwhile, Odum proposes to use other indicators
lead to spendthrift consumption of raw materials and energies; to understand system behavior such as: (i) emergy yield ratio (EYR);
because, hierarchical structuralization ends up an increased rate of (ii) emergy loading ratio (ELR); and (iii) emergy sustainability index
recycling, as it accumulates emergy a lot more. (ESI). They are defined as,
The complexity of sustainability evaluation using emergy ac-
counting thus cannot be released unless we envisage a systematic EYR ¼ Y=F (3)
energy flow network. Fig. 2 presents a general system diagram for
building analysis. This, above all, identifies three major inflows ELR ¼ ðM þ FÞ=R (4)
across a building system: (i) renewable energies and materials (R),
(ii) nonrenewable (purchased) energies and materials (F), and (iii)
ESI ¼ EYR=ELR (5)
raw materials and sources from nature (M). All these sources are
deemed entering the building through an energy gate and trans- EYR is employed to evaluate emergy production efficiency
ferred for manufacturing and operation (B1 and B2). The system where F denotes economic inputs, while ELR evaluates the ratio of
boundaries are layered hierarchically, thereby the building is sub- nonrenewable inputs to perform system work. That said, high EYR
ject to the local ecosystem where M and R are immediately avail- and low ELR are desirable. The degree of system sustainability, ESI,
able. It is particularly important to note that the building system refers to how much emergy is produced per nonrenewable input
self-organizes by controlling the energy gate; building may cost. Thus, assuming that an emergy output is constant, the less use
recycle or reuse local materials (M), and energy dispersed during of nonrenewable emergy, the greater ESI value.
the gate work may return to a local source to reinforce inflows; and
the building system would not make a direct relation to purchased 2.4. Building emergy analysis (BEmA)
sources, since it is inefficient to have remote sources under control.
To account for emergy flows, we consider only useful energy flows, Evaluation models coded in current disciplinary green building
ignoring energy dissipation during each transformation. standards and rating systems are essentially mechanistic; an
This flow-based understanding of system energetics renders analysis boundary is simply drawn over a building envelope. Codes

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18 5

Fig. 3. Front view of the test building (Yong-in, South Korea).

and regulations focus on explaining individual components of accounting. BEmA explores energy exchanges/transformations in
building assemblies, whereby associated descriptions seem to aim and outside of a building, and attempts to interpret them as
at reinforcing the predictability of building performance and con- ecological functioning, where the availability of environmental
trol. As a result, a building is dealt with as if it is a physical object resources constrains it. BEmA accounts for the environmental
indifferent from the surplus dimensions (cultural, social and performance of an individual building in a macroscopic view,
economical) of environment. Moreover, energy-based evaluation thereby enabling to compare it with other environmental systems.
methods overestimate an energy-efficiency metric of the compo- BEmA eventually helps increase the sustainability of global
nents. This understanding would be useful only if one kind of en- environment.
ergy (the same quality of input sources) is involved in energy Building emergy study is nascent; be that as it may, due to the
transformations. recurring interest of biological analogy to design methodologies of
The operation and management of building energy and mate- environmental building and performance evaluation (Hyde, 2015),
rials are inextricably coupled with both local and global environ- BEmA would be gaining popularity for the future building energy
mental contexts; emergy theory enables to conceptualize the research. At present, several case studies using emergy units have
building as an ecosystem, part of the geobiosphere. While emergy been introduced by Meillaud and Brown (Meillaud et al., 2005a),
has yet to be fully substantiated, its metric system is very useful in Pulselli et al. (2007), and Rothrock (2014), while Yi et al. (2015) and
that it clearly incorporates locally designed systems, such as Yi and Braham (2015) explore methodological advancement of
buildings, with dynamic energetics of the global environment. BEmA such as the protocol of emergy-based building form opti-
Building emergy analysis (BEmA) is defined as a procedure of mization and the uncertainty analysis of emergy accounting.1 As for
the investigation of building energy use by implementing emergy this study, it should be especially noted that Srinivasan et al. (2012)
attempt to redefine NZEB by proposing a new index defined as
Renewable emergy balance (REB). BEmA would have an immediate
1
In BEmA, total emergy intensity for building construction and maintenance,
architectural utility for NZEB study due to an ability of the evalu-
Embuilding, accounts for all renewable/nonrenewable emergy inputs of building ation of indirectly embodied cost invested to generate renewable
materials and components during an entire building life cycle (from building energies.
construction to demolition and recycling). An emergy value of a construction as-
sembly is calculated by multiplying materials' UEVs and quantities. Operational
3. Case study: a net-zero energy house in South Korea
energy use is converted to emergy by considering four different end-use purposes
(heating, cooling, hot water, and lighting). BEmA can be formulated as below.
X X X X
3.1. Description of the test building (NZEB)
Embuilding ¼ Emmaterials þ Emmaterials þ Emuse þ Emendof life
0   1
X X ij ij
4 l r V Tr ij X X 
3 m Xn A case study building is located in the suburb of Seoul, South
¼ @ þ Hi A þ Epq Trpq þ ðEr ÞTrr
T i
Korea. It was constructed in 2009 by SAMSUNG as the first LEED-
i¼1 j¼1 p¼1 q¼1 r¼1
platinum building in East Asia (Fig. 3). This building is a one-storey
i; j; p; q; r; m; n2ℕ
315.69 m2 NZEB-site for residential use, where renewable energy
where r and V are the unit weight and volume of an assembly (or material), Tr is production meets demand on the site of 1245.87 m2 (see Table 1). A
UEV, l is number of building components, Hi stands for human labor and services for primary concept of design was to realize a net-zero definition
manufacturing, m is number of conditioned space, n is number of interior lighting
fixtures, and E is the energy demanded for each equipment and zone. Time variable
within the architectural style of Korean traditional houses. For
(T) is taken into account to calculate the temporal depreciation of energies and climate adaptation, the front is exposed to the south, stretching
materials. from east to west. The main entrance, large openings, and windows

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
6 H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18

Table 1 obtained from the technical documents that they submitted to the
Overview of the test building. U.S. Green Building Council. Not only that, in-house detail drawings
Site area 1245.87 m2a and design documents were examined to measure material quan-
Total floor area 315.69 m2b tities and system specifications.
Conditioned floor area/Air volume 254.34 m2/763.02 m3 On the other hand, we referred to updated transformities rela-
Exterior surface areac 192.30 m2
Glazing area (skylight)d 68.12 m2
tive to the global solar emergy baseline of 12.0E þ 24 sej/yr (Brown
Window-to-wall ratiod 23.39% et al., 2016). For some building components whose UEVs were not
Internal mass (surface area)e 178.8 m2 available in the literature, they were calculated for this study (e.g.,
Space-conditioning/Hot Ground source heat pump solar thermal system). Mean values from various databases were
water system (water)/Solar
also used for estimating life spans of materials and components
thermal heating
Renewable-energy BIPV on the roof and [see Supplementary documents].
production systems a micro wind turbine
Automatic thermostat Always on 4. Results and discussions
Glazing Low-e triple/double pane
a
An ancillary building for public information (315.69 m2) is in the same plot Emergy synthesis (emergy evaluation procedure) was carried
(2456.10 m2). Thus, the site area only for the building under study is obtained ac- out by framing system processes into two parts: (i) operation that
cording to the floor area ratio.
b periodically harnesses energy for thermal comfort and other hu-
Except underground mechanic room (84.85 m2).
c
Including roofs, exposed floors and exterior surfaces adjacent to a sunroom man purposes; (ii) manufacturing and maintenance to produce/
covered with double-skin space. sustain a building form that is, in effect, a huge reservoir of mass
d
Considering a conditioned area (heat transfer zone) only. and energy content; Total global environmental cost was obtained
e
If both sides of an interior wall were exposed to a thermal zone, its surface area by combining emergy of each part.
is double counted.

4.1. Operational energy use


are on the south façade, whereas much smaller windows are placed
on the north. Building is lightweight steel-framed, and clad with The case study NZEB was planned to be a passive house and
hardwood, refurbished wood, zinc, and ceramic stone tiles. 73.3% of then, energy produced by using active technologies meets the rest
construction materials were acquired from local areas. of energy demand. During design stages, this building was expected
Renewable energy is produced in electricity primarily from the to follow the ASHRAE Standard 90.1 2004, as the simulation model
building (roof) integrated photovoltaic panels (BIPV), and the solar for LEED credits reduced end-use energy by 56.0% (baseline:
thermal panels on the roof support domestic water heating. This 139.27 kWh/m2yr; proposed: 61.30 kWh/m2yr) with renewable
building adopts a ground source heat pump (GSHP) system, and energy supply of 77.18 kWh/m2yr.
HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) and lighting This experiment, however, does not take the reported data for it,
systems are monitored with sensors to automate operation. On the because some of biased simulation inputs, occupancy schedule,
other hand, a similar-size non-NZEB, a detached single-family heating/cooling set point, internal loads, etc., show disagreement
house (Building A), was chosen to represent a typical setting of with field data. We, thus, estimated energy consumption by
suburban residential buildings (Yi and Braham, 2015).2 examining (i) meter data of renewable energy production and (ii)
simulation based on the Building America House Simulation Pro-
3.2. Data collection method and comparative analysis tocols (Wilson et al., 2014). Annual renewable energy production is
19.6 MWh/yr from the BIPV and 144.7 kWh/yr from a wind turbine
BEmA, for numeric calculations, cannot help being exposed (Appendix A), generating total electricity of 62.64 kWh/m2yr. The
basically to two types of uncertainties (Yi and Braham, 2015), as it simulation using EnergyPlus shows that on-site energy use is
includes all the environmental resources invested to every building 49.43 kWh/m2yr, so this building achieves 46.8% energy reduction
element and process (including building construction, operation without the renewable energy and a site-NZEB definition by off-
and maintenance): (i) quantities of input energies and materials; setting the demand by the energy production (Appendix B). The
and (ii) transformity/specific emergy. In order to minimize the remaining electricity of 13.21 kWh/m2yr is assumed to flow back to
uncertainty, authors elaborated to collect data as accurately as grids.
possible from field study, drawings, and reliable emergy
inventories. 4.2. Emergy synthesis of building manufacturing and maintenance
First, since certification and construction of the test building
were consulted by the Ove Arup & Partners and SAMSUNG, most of From an environmental perspective, a building in general can be
data about equipment and energy simulation parameters were conceived of as a climate-modifying machine that can be decom-
posed of five discrete components: (i) site work, (ii) building
structure, (iii) building skin (envelope), (iv) mechanical systems and
2
Description of Building A (Detailed information can be found in Yi and Braham equipment, and (v) indoor spaces (interiors) (Braham, 2015; Yi and
(2015). Braham, 2015). Even if this classification depends on the degree of
Site area 1265.99 m2 Total floor area 340.73 m2 spatial distinction and functional independency in material allo-
Conditioned area 282.38 m2 Conditioned volume 722.01 m3 cation, grouping building elements into these modules works for
Exterior surface 460.31 m2 Fenestrationa 35.11 m2 BEmA, because thermodynamic behavior of such physical entities is
Window-to-walla 11.30% Internal massb 931.26 m2
the key to reveal the characteristic systematic organization of
Heating/Cooling system Gas furnace/Central
air conditioner building (Braham, 2015).
Structure Wood frame Tables 2e5 present the results of emergy accounting for the
Glazing Double pane manufacturing of the test building. Service for construction in-
a
Considering conditioned area (heat transfer zone) only. cludes all the embodied investment from human economy (human
b
If both sides of an interior wall were exposed to a thermal zone, its surface area labor, tax, transportation, etc.) other than direct material deposits.
is double counted. It is estimated with indirect construction cost and emergy per

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18 7

Table 2
Emergy synthesis of site work and structure (12.0E þ 24 sej/yr baseline).

Item Specification Data Unit UEV (sej/unit) Ref. Life (yr) Emergy (sej) Intensity (sej/yr)

Site work
Wind turbine Rotor and blade 680 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 20 5.79E þ 15 2.90E þ 14
Control system and inverter 19 kg 2.48E þ 13 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 20 4.59E þ 14 2.29E þ 13
Structure (steel column, thick. 3 mm) 190 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 1.00E þ 15 1.28E þ 13
Concrete 83 kg 1.83E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 1.52E þ 14 1.95E þ 12
Cool tube Steel pipe (rectangular, 40  40 mm) 25 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 38 6.91E þ 13 1.82E þ 12
Wood grill (cedar, thick. 20 mm) 76 kg 2.62E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 38 1.99E þ 14 5.24E þ 12
Concrete (w/o steel, thick. 150 mm) 541 kg 1.83E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 9.90E þ 14 1.27E þ 13
Pond Rain (precipitation) 10,200 kg 1.10E þ 08 (Odum et al., 2000) 0.1 1.12E þ 12 1.34E þ 13
Pavement Clay stone block 14,640 kg 2.82E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 4.13E þ 16 5.29E þ 14
Wood deck (thick. 20 mm) 570 kg 2.62E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 38 1.49E þ 15 3.93E þ 13
Deck support structure 361 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 65 9.90E þ 14 1.52E þ 13

Sum w/o service 27.38 ton 5.24E þ 16 9.44E þ 14


w service 1.18E þ 15

Structure
Frames Steel (H-beam) 22,158 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 1.17E þ 17 1.80E þ 15
Structure deck Metal sheet (depth 75 mm, thick. 1.2 mm) 5234 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 2.76E þ 16 4.25E þ 14
Fire protection Fireproofing plaster (thick. 16 mm) 18,831 kg 2.49E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 65 4.70E þ 16 7.23E þ 14
Foundation Granular fill (thick 200 mm) 30,340 kg 1.70E þ 12 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 78 5.15E þ 16 6.60E þ 14
Concrete (thick. 60 mm) 52,964 kg 1.83E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 9.70E þ 16 1.24E þ 15
Reinforced concrete (thick. 200 mm) 151,702 kg 1.83E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 2.78E þ 17 3.56E þ 15
Steel (5.4% of concrete volume) 26,760 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 1.41E þ 17 1.81E þ 15

Sum w/o service 307.99 ton 7.59E þ 17 1.02E þ 16


w service 1.12E þ 16

Note: Top soil loss and natural landscape were not considered.

dollar (Bastianoni et al., 2009) (There found no significant differ- 2.28E þ 16sej (25.9%). Portions of intensities are distributed in a
ence to the Burnakarn's estimates (Buranakarn, 1998)). similar fashion. However, even if the supporting elements are far
On the other hand, this taxonomy may not clear for all technical lighter (0.92 ton) than other two units (12.34 ton), we notice that its
items. Some of them thus are classified not simply into mechanical UEV (2.48E þ 13sej/kg) becomes greater (the final UEVs of other
systems but according to the location of the subsystem that main two are 6.55E þ 12sej/kg and 4.82E þ 12sej/kg).
controllers serve. For example, the wind turbine is considered site Interiors (Table 5) is departmentalized in order to assort parts in
work, because its control systems are in the outside. In a similar tectonic contact and free-standing interior elements (furniture,
vein, borehole and casing pipes of GSHP are subject to systems electric appliances, lighting devices, etc.). Interior walls and floor
though they are under the ground. As for the BIPV, hardware for refer to physical assemblies bearing no structural/thermal loads.
collecting solar energy is envelope, whereas battery cabinets are Most of building elements in emergy accounting are, basically,
systems. evaluated based on mass/volume. That said, it is necessary to note
Each component measures 27.38 ton (site work, 5.1%), 307.99 ton that it is more accurate to estimate the emergy values of home
(structure, 57.3%), 163.22 ton (envelope, 30.3%), 13.26 ton (systems, appliances/houseware based on market price, so that they account
2.5%), and 25.92 ton (interiors, 4.8%), which gives a total weight of for various service inputs in addition to material cost (difference
537.77 ton. Structure exhibits the largest deposits of mass, followed between mass-based and market price-based estimates was
by envelope. around 33.8%). We obtained monetary data from design docu-
In site work, a large mass of block pavement gives the greatest ments, and survey results from Siniavskaia (2008) were used to
emergy content and intensity (5.84E þ 14sej/yr, w/o service), and a estimate expenditure for furnishings and goods. The synthesis
wind turbine catches up the intensity due to the greater UEV and shows that electronic appliances and goods entail the greatest
shorter lifetime. For structure, concrete foundation and steel emergy intensity (7.66E þ 14sej/yr) due to the short expected life
structure hold a major share in both emergy (6.85E þ 17sej) and and human services.
intensity (9.07E þ 15sej/yr), while others are confined to small Table 6 presents annually renewed environmental inputs and
portions. system services. Maintenance costs include tax imposed on
Table 3 shows accounting results of envelope. It was subdivided the building, spending for repair/replacement, and living
into three units (walls, roof and floor) by tectonic contacts. The supplies (for this study, we consider only major inputs such as food
emergy content (w/o service) of walls is 1.49E þ 17sej with an in- and clothes). Notice that the sum of renewable emergy
tensity of 3.63E þ 15sej/yr. Roof gives an emergy of 3.23E þ 17sej (1.24E þ 13sej/yr) is much less than that of purchased import
and an intensity of 1.14E þ 16sej/yr. Emergy and intensity of floor (1.39E þ 16sej/yr).
are, respectively, 2.08E þ 17sej and 2.68E þ 15sej/yr. It is important Finally, total emergy for manufacturing is 1.65E þ 18sej
to notice that the intensity of the roof is far greater than others (3.46E þ 16sej/yr) without service or 1.84E þ 18sej (3.86E þ 16sej/
(314%, 425% increase than walls and floor, respectively), due to the yr) with service. If we weigh the building with water, furniture and
large energy concentration of the roof material (zinc) and solar miscellaneous gadgets for operation and maintenance, the final
energy collectors. weight becomes 688.07 ton, giving the final intensity of
Systems (Table 4) is subdivided into three parts: (i) water-related 5.25E þ 16sej/yr.
equipment, (ii) infrastructural elements for HVAC and electricity
use, and (iii) supporting elements (batteries of BIPV and thermo- 4.3. Emergy flow structure and the evaluation of sustainability
stat/lighting control units). The emergy content (w/o service) of
each is 2.20E þ 16sej (25.0%), 4.33E þ 16sej (49.2%), and Networking of building emergy flows (Fig. 4) is configured by

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
8 H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18

Table 3
Emergy synthesis of building envelope (12.0E þ 24 sej/yr baseline).

Item Specification Data Unit UEV (sej/unit) Ref. Life (yr) Emergy (sej) Intensity (sej/yr)

Walls
Window glazing Triple glass (thick. 17 mm) 2795 kg 1.00E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 33 2.80E þ 16 8.49E þ 14
Double glass (thick. 12 mm) 1341 kg 1.00E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 33 1.34E þ 16 4.08E þ 14
Window frames Aluminum 264 kg 1.61E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 38 4.26E þ 15 1.12E þ 14
PVC 283 kg 7.46E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 38 2.11E þ 15 5.56E þ 13
Window shading Blind screen 430 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 10 5.97E þ 14 5.97E þ 13
Exterior door Steel 113 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 31 5.98E þ 14 1.93E þ 13
Paint 2 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 11 3.49E þ 13 3.17E þ 12
Substructure Steel pipe (rectangular, 40  40 mm) 741 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 65 2.04E þ 15 3.13E þ 13
Wall studs Channel (100  50  2 mm,100 3375 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 65 9.27E þ 15 1.43E þ 14
 45  0.8 mm)
Energy collector Solar cell 9 m2 7.49E þ 14 (Raugei et al., 2006) 20 6.47E þ 15 3.24E þ 14
Panels Gypsum board (double, thick. 12.5 mm) 6641 kg 1.27E þ 12 (Odum, 1996) 52 8.44E þ 15 1.62E þ 14
Cement board (double, thick. 6 mm) 3925 kg 2.94E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 52 1.15E þ 16 2.22E þ 14
Insulation Glass wool 32 K (double, thick. 90 mm) 1844 kg 3.05E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 67 5.62E þ 15 8.39E þ 13
Expanded polystyrene (thick. 160 mm) 1573 kg 8.75E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 67 1.38E þ 16 2.05E þ 14
Interior finish Paint 73 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 11 1.41E þ 15 1.28E þ 14
Paper 11 kg 3.03E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 11 3.29E þ 13 2.99E þ 12
Exterior finish Terracotta tile cladding 6359 kg 3.89E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 50 2.47E þ 16 4.95E þ 14
Wood siding (reused) 946 kg 8.57E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 50 8.11E þ 15 1.62E þ 14
Miscellaneous Support hardware (galvanized steel) 2508 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 65 6.89E þ 15 1.06E þ 14
Louver Wood folding shutter 316 kg 5.96E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 31 1.89E þ 15 6.08E þ 13

Roof
Glazing Triple glass (thick. 17 mm) 88 kg 1.00E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 33 8.79E þ 14 2.66E þ 13
Casing frame PVC 7 kg 7.46E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 38 5.08E þ 13 1.34E þ 12
Substructure Steel pipe (rectangular, 40  40 mm) 3212 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 65 8.83E þ 15 1.36E þ 14
Exterior finish Zinc 1085 kg 8.64E þ 13 (Odum, 1996) 31 9.38E þ 16 3.02E þ 15
Aluminum 724 kg 1.61E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 31 1.17E þ 16 3.76E þ 14
Louver Aluminum 33 kg 1.61E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 31 5.34E þ 14 1.72E þ 13
Vapor barrier HDPE (double layer, thick. 0.2 mm) 4 kg 6.70E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 2.73E þ 13 3.50E þ 11
Roof panels Plywood (thick. 12 mm) 2353 kg 1.83E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 38 4.31E þ 15 1.13E þ 14
Insulation Expanded polystyrene (thick. 430 mm) 3942 kg 8.75E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 67 3.45E þ 16 5.15E þ 14
Planting Sedum-planted green area 78 m2 4.20E þ 14 (Rustagi et al., 2008) 78 3.28E þ 16 4.20E þ 14
Photovoltaic Solar module (1326  716 mm, 180 EA) 174 m2 7.49E þ 14 (Raugei et al., 2006) 20 1.30E þ 17 6.52E þ 15
Support hardware (galvanized steel) 407 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 65 1.12E þ 15 1.72E þ 13
Light pipe Dome and diffuser (polycarbonate) 7 kg 7.32E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 33 5.27E þ 13 1.60E þ 12
Light pipe: Tube and casing (aluminum) 38 kg 1.61E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 33 6.10E þ 14 1.85E þ 13
Solar thermal Solar energy collector 142 kg 2.98E þ 13 a 20 4.23E þ 15 2.12E þ 14

Ground floor
Insulation Expanded polystyrene (thick. 350 mm) 556 kg 8.75E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 67 4.86E þ 15 7.26E þ 13
Vapor barrier HDPE (double layer, thick. 0.2 mm) 4 kg 6.70E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 2.54E þ 13 3.25E þ 11
Insulation cover Concrete (thick. 60 mm) 41,034 kg 1.83E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 7.52E þ 16 9.64E þ 14
Lightweight concrete (thick. 40 mm) 23,261 kg 2.94E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 6.83E þ 16 8.76E þ 14
Slab cover Cement mortar (thick. 30 mm) 20,476 kg 2.94E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 6.01E þ 16 7.71E þ 14

Sum w/o service 163.22 ton 6.81E þ 17 1.77E þ 16


w service 1.89E þ 16
a
Estimated in this study (see Appendix B).

applying the emergy accounting results (Tables 2e6 and Appendix previous study (Yi and Braham, 2015). For both buildings, we find
C) to the generic diagramming definition (Fig. 2). Fig. 4(a) illustrates that material acquisition from the site boundary (M) is null and
the NZEB's energetic organization of the five building system emergy spending for interiors is theoretically the same. Never-
components, including all embodied energies and ecosystem ser- theless, significant differences are revealed in structure, system,
vices invested to the NZEB at a steady state of operation and and envelope; Building A imports a large amount of nonrenewable
maintenance. Note that air-conditioning and light affecting thermal emergy (1.21E þ 16sej/yr) for systems, since it employs fossil-fueled
loads (heating and cooling) are represented within the envelope HVAC equipment (a gas furnace and an electric direct-expansion
(1.17E þ 16sej/yr, including body heat and internal heat from conditioner), whereas the NZEB shows a far less value
equipment) and that occupants are in building use, disposing water (0.34E þ 16Esej/yr). Nevertheless, it is found that NZEB's reduction
and solid waste of 9.42E þ 15sej/yr. It should be noted that non- of the operational emergy does not offset an increase of non-
NZEB's emergy networking is more straightforward, for it does not yielding emergy in structure and envelope, which totals
develop robust energy feed-back flows (Fig. 4(b)). It is clear that 3.02E þ 16sej/yr, and is greater than Building A (1.13E þ 16sej/yr).
NZEB augments empower of system components by developing This result clearly indicates a rebound effect; the operational en-
mutual energy exchanges. ergy reduction of NZEB ends up increasing total environmental
Total emergy input to each component is calculated by source as cost; that said, NZEB shows lesser ELR (2124.07) and greater ESI
shown in Table 7. To compare the NZEB's results with non-NZEB, we (0.00001), since the NZEB uses a larger amount of renewable
chose a building similar to the test building in size (site area: emergy. Therefore, it follows that NZEB is more sustainable than
1265.99 m2; floor area: 340.73 m2; and conditioned area: non-NZEB.
282.38 m2). Emergy data were obtained from the refinement of the

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18 9

Table 4
Emergy synthesis of mechanical systems and pipe/duct work (12.0E þ 24 sej/yr baseline).

Item Specification Data Unit UEV (sej/unit) Ref. Life (yr) Emergy (sej) Intensity (sej/yr)

Water treatment system and pipe work


Water reuse equipment Septic and equalization tank (2 ton each) 317 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 1.67E þ 15 3.56E þ 13
Membrane bio reactor (1ton) 200 kg 2.48E þ 13 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 15 4.96E þ 15 3.31E þ 14
Rainwater storage Stainless steel tank (30 ton) 2379 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 1.26E þ 16 2.67E þ 14
Grey water storage Stainless steel tank (1 ton) 79 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 4.19E þ 14 8.91E þ 12
Supply pumps Motor pump 9 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 16 7.92E þ 13 4.95E þ 12
Water pipes Carbon Steel (D50 mm supply, D25 mm) 257 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 1.35E þ 15 2.88E þ 13
PVC (drainage) 72 kg 7.46E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 47 5.33E þ 14 1.13E þ 13
Insulation (polystyrene, thick. 15 mm) 44 kg 8.75E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 47 3.85E þ 14 8.19E þ 12

HVAC, wiring, and duct work


Ventilation duct Galvanized steel (supply and return) 1487 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 17 4.09E þ 15 2.40E þ 14
Insulation (polystyrene, thick. 20 mm) 152 kg 8.75E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 17 1.33E þ 15 7.80E þ 13
Cool tube duct Stainless steel (D300 mm, thick. 1.2 mm) 538 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 17 2.84E þ 15 1.67E þ 14
Heat recovery Casing and fan (steel, thick. 1.2 mm) 33 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 13 2.81E þ 14 2.16E þ 13
Insulation (glass wool, thick. 20 mm) 1 kg 3.05E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 13 3.35E þ 12 2.58E þ 11
Electric wiring Copper wire 133 kg 8.61E þ 13 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 67 1.14E þ 16 1.70E þ 14
GSHP Heat pump 296 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 16 2.52E þ 15 1.57E þ 14
Borehole pipe (PVC, D30 mm) 162 kg 7.46E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 1.21E þ 15 2.57E þ 13
Casing pipe (steel, D150 mm) 3390 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 9.31E þ 15 1.98E þ 14
Grouting material (Bentonite) 1447 kg 1.70E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 2.46E þ 15 5.23E þ 13
Buffer tank (1ton) 512 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 2.70E þ 15 5.75E þ 13
Water heater 16 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 14 1.36E þ 14 9.74E þ 12
Expansion tank (200 L) 304 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 1.61E þ 15 3.42E þ 13
Circulation pipes 60 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 3.17E þ 14 6.74E þ 12
Circulation pumps 16 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 16 1.32E þ 14 8.25E þ 12
Pipe insulation (thick. 15 mm) 10 kg 8.75E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 47 8.82E þ 13 1.88E þ 12
Air conditioner Ceiling cassette unit (one-way) 88 kg 8.53E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 15 7.47E þ 14 4.98E þ 13
Heating coil Polybuthylene pipe (thick. 1.6, D10 mm) 120 kg 7.46E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 8.92E þ 14 1.90E þ 13
Distribution controller 8 kg 8.53E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 20 6.99E þ 13 3.50E þ 12
Solar thermal Controller and heat exchanger 14 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 20 1.19E þ 14 5.96E þ 12
heating system Drain and hot water tank 180 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 9.50E þ 14 2.02E þ 13
Pumps 7 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 16 6.30E þ 13 3.94E þ 12
Pipe (stainless steel, D10 mm) 5 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 2.53E þ 13 5.39E þ 11
Insulation (glass wool, thick. 25 mm) 1 kg 8.75E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 47 6.93E þ 12 1.47E þ 11
Other systems
Control system Sensor, switching server, and displayer 120 kg 2.48E þ 13 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 29 2.97E þ 15 1.03E þ 14
Storage/battery Battery cabinets for solar energy systems 800 kg 2.48E þ 13 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 24 1.98E þ 16 8.26E þ 14

Sum w/o service 13.26 ton 8.81E þ 16 2.96E þ 15


w service 3.43E þ 15

4.4. Analysis of system hierarchy and energy quality reorganize; the empower of systems of Building A increases by the
fossil fuel use for HVAC, and interiors also builds on a markedly
Empower principle states that an ecosystem constructs a self- accrued power due to the huge imports of goods and living sup-
organizing structure of emergy power among system components plies. Building A eventually reveals a power arrangement in order
so the system obtains power efficiently. In order to identify a of site work, structure, systems, envelope, and interiors, which par-
relationship appeared between compartmental hierarchies and the allels the Braham's (2015) finding of an energetic hierarchy of
self-organizing work of the NZEB, we first computed empower of building components.
each component by considering multiple internal and external NZEB's system power is overall greater than non-NZEB (Fig. 5).
emergy inflows per time. Each category in the hierarchy represents However, empowers of systems and interiors are similar to Building
building elements listed in Tables 2e6. For example, photovoltaic A. As though NZEB does not require operational fuel, it is noticeable
panels belong to envelope, and GSHP and water treatment equip- that NZEB's empower of systems is not decreased as such, because it
ment belong to systems. On the other hand, operational energies consumes enormous non-renewable inputs for manufacturing
and resources are categorized according to where initial in- high-efficient HVAC equipment (Table 4). Likewise, despite the
vestments occur, since they are transferred all the way through the introduction of high-efficient home appliances (Table 5), NZEB's
hierarchical system network (Fig. 4). Fig. 5 displays the results in empower of interior use is not reduced, because it is not concerned
comparison with the non-NZEB (building A). with occupants' behavioral patterns or lifestyles. Moreover, it is
Power profiles appear similar for both buildings without important to note that NZEB's total empower peaks at envelope.
considering non-construction elements (water, operational en- This is due primarily to the enormous concentration of insulation
ergies, furnishings and goods). For building manufacturing, em- materials and the use of environmentally expensive (high-trans-
powers peak at envelope and structure, while powers of site work, formity) resources for renewable energy production (e.g., BIPV
systems, and interiors stay low. In terms of building thermody- panels on the roof and walls). This identifies that the ability of
namics, we may generalize from this finding that building con- climate-modification and heat transfer stability provided by the
struction processes accumulate a certain magnitude of power for envelope as well as non-renwable energy supply plays the most
the building envelope to provide thermal comfort by climate significant role in the NZEB's energy transformation mechanism.
modification. Shifting attention to operation and management, NZEB sacrifices the ability to process living services for thermal
engagement of occupants' needs causes this relationship to comfort.

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
10 H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18

Table 5
Emergy synthesis of interior work (12.0E þ 24 sej/yr baseline).

Item Specification Data Unit UEV (sej/unit) Ref. Life (yr) Emergy (sej) Intensity (sej/yr)

Interior walls/doors
Wall studs Channel (100  50  2 mm) 1431 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 65 3.93E þ 15 6.05E þ 13
Panels Gypsum board (double, thick. 12.5 mm) 3157 kg 1.27E þ 12 (Odum, 1996) 52 4.01E þ 15 7.72E þ 13
Interior finish Paint 63 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 11 1.22E þ 15 1.11E þ 14
Wood siding (reused) 98 kg 8.57E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 50 8.44E þ 14 1.69E þ 13
Paper 1 kg 3.03E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 11 2.31E þ 12 2.10E þ 11
Ceramic tile (thick. 5 mm) 127 kg 3.89E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 12 4.95E þ 14 4.12E þ 13
Adhesives 37 kg 4.83E þ 11 (Buranakarn, 1998) 12 1.79E þ 13 1.49E þ 12
Interior doors Wood 92 kg 2.62E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 31 2.41E þ 14 7.78E þ 12

Interior floor
Floor finish Hardwood flooring (thick. 15 mm) 1338 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 57 1.50E þ 15 2.63E þ 13
Ceramic tile flooring (thick. 10 mm) 3361 kg 3.89E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 57 1.31E þ 16 2.29E þ 14
Wood deck (thick. 20 mm) 364 kg 2.62E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 38 9.53E þ 14 2.51E þ 13
Deck support structure (steel pipe) 230 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 65 6.33E þ 14 9.73E þ 12
Polyvinyl tile 142 kg 8.03E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 12 1.14E þ 15 9.47E þ 13
Adhesives 983 kg 4.83E þ 11 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 12 4.75E þ 14 3.96E þ 13

Ceiling
Miscellaneous Support hardwares (galvanized steel) 439 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 65 1.21E þ 15 1.86E þ 13
Panels Gypsum board (double, thick. 9.5 mm) 4825 kg 1.27E þ 12 (Odum, 1996) 52 6.13E þ 15 1.18E þ 14
Interior finish Paint 84 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 11 1.62E þ 15 1.47E þ 14

Electronic appliances, furniture, lighting and housewares


Home theater UN55B6000VF 8250 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 15 3.93E þ 15 6.05E þ 13
Desktop DB-X150-CA160/P2370 2300 810 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 15 4.01E þ 15 7.72E þ 13
Laptop NP-X360 690 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 15 1.22E þ 15 1.11E þ 14
Laser printer CLP 315 K 180 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 15 8.47E þ 14 1.69E þ 13
Fridge-freezer HBRL26GUL/R 1620 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 15 2.31E þ 12 2.10E þ 11
Freezer HRM316GWMQ 890 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 15 4.95E þ 14 4.12E þ 13
Electric oven HSB-C427AST/DER-3800GB 1140 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 15 1.79E þ 13 1.49E þ 12
Washing machine SEW-HAR149AUR 650 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 15 2.41E þ 14 7.78E þ 12
Furniture Furnishings 4789 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 24 6.65E þ 15 2.77E þ 14
Miscellaneous goods 493 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 24 6.85E þ 14 2.85E þ 13
Bath Bathtub, porcelain 35 kg 3.89E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 30 1.38E þ 14 4.59E þ 12
Toilets 49 kg 3.89E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 30 1.92E þ 14 6.41E þ 12
Lavatories 16 kg 3.89E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 30 6.18E þ 13 2.06E þ 12
Lighting fixtures LED, 20 W flood light (2 ea.) 44 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 24 6.11E þ 13 2.55E þ 12
and luminaires LED, 24 W down light (38 ea.) 950 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 24 1.32E þ 15 5.50E þ 13
LED, 40 W panel light (6 ea.) 240 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 24 3.33E þ 14 1.39E þ 13
LED, 60 W panel light (23 ea.) 920 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 24 1.28E þ 15 5.33E þ 13
Fluorescent light tube, 24 W (7 ea.) 105 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 24 1.46E þ 14 6.08E þ 12

Sum w/o service 25.92 ton 6.81E þ 16 2.79E þ 15


w service 3.82E þ 15

Table 6
Emergy synthesis of construction labor, maintenance, and renewable energy inputs (12.0E þ 24 sej/yr baseline).

Item Specification Data Unit UEV (sej/unit) Ref. Emergy (sej) Intensity (sej/yr)

Various goods and services for operation and maintenance


Living supplies Food and apparel 5346 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 7.43E þ 15
Maintenance Building structure 259 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 3.60E þ 14
HVAC/Water systems 89 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 1.24E þ 14
Appliances/Equipment 936 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 1.30E þ 15
Furnishings 779 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 1.08E þ 15
Disposal systems 10 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 1.39E þ 13
Public service Property tax 2548 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 3.54E þ 15

Water Public water supplies 57,160 kg/yr 2.38E þ 08 (Buenfil, 2001) 1.36E þ 13

Renewable sources
Solar Absorbed to photovoltaic system 9.27.E þ 11 J/yr 1 (Odum, 1996) 9.27E þ 11
Absorbed to solar thermal system 3.44.E þ 10 J/yr 1 (Odum, 1996) 3.44E þ 10
Transmission to indoor space 1.19E þ 10 J/yr 1 (Odum, 1996) 1.19E þ 10
Winda Kinetic energy for wind turbine 1.49.E þ 09 J/yr 8.45E þ 02 (Odum, 1996) 1.26E þ 12
Rainwaterb Chemical potential of rainwater 4.31.E þ 08 J/yr 2.31E þ 04 (Odum, 1996) 9.96E þ 12
Geothermal heatc Energy to ground heat exchanger 1.74.E þ 07 J/yr 9.10E þ 03 (Odum et al., 2000) 1.58E þ 11
Sum 9.75E þ 11 J/yr 1.24E þ 13

Construction service (labor and indirect cost)d 135,425 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 1.88E þ 17 1.30E þ 15

Total (manufacturing w/o service) 537.77 ton 1.65E þ 18 3.46E þ 16


Total (manufacturing w/service) 537.77 ton 1.84E þ 18 3.86E þ 16
Total(construction þ operation and maintenance) 688.07 ton 5.25E þ 16
a
Wind for natural ventilation was not considered.
b
Gibbs chemical energy of rainwater 4.95 J/g.
c
Geothermal heat, Bentonite specific heat (800 J/kgK), density (1447 kg), Delta T ¼ 15  C.
d
8.01E þ 14 sej/m2 (Buranakarn, 1998)  315.69 m2 ¼ 2.53E þ 17 sej.

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18 11

Fig. 4. Summarized emergy flow diagram ((a) NZEB, (b) non-NZEB). R: Renewable energy (low-quality energy), F: Purchased energy (high-quality feedback from human economy).

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
12 H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18

Table 7
Calculation of emergy inputs and environmental indices (Unit: E þ 15sej/yr).

Building A NZEB

R M F Y R M F Y

Site work 2.28 0 0.011 1.18 0


Structure 4.57 0 11.21 0
Systems 12.05 0 0.012 3.44 1.71
Envelope 0.000063 6.41 0 0.00097 18.94 0
Interiors 17.18 8.35 17.67 9.42
Total 0.000063 0 42.49 0 0.025 0 52.45 11.13
a
EYR 0.20 0.21
ELR 679,985 2124.07
ESI 0.00000029 0.000010
a
It is assumed that systems are in a stable operation so that total emergy inputs and yields are equal, if a system component transfers energy to other systems.

(E16 sej/yr)

3.50
Manufacturing (Building A)
3.00 Manufacturing (NEZB)
Total (Building A)
2.50 Total (NZEB)
Empower (input)

2.00

1.50

1.00

0.50

0.00
Sitework Structure System Envelope Interiors

Fig. 5. Empower profile: hierarchy of useful energy embodiment per time.

In Fig. 5, we find that a building self-organizes differently during parameters of energy quality change (Section 2.2). To identify an
different stages of development. How does this structural differ- energy hierarchy of construction work, Fig. 6 compares specific
ence of empower affect systematic behavior and the quality of emergy (UEV) of each component. Interestingly, unlike the power
system components, operational energies and energy production? organization, systems holds the top for both cases (3.35E þ 13sej/kg
We thus evaluate the change of transformity values, since they are and 1.10E þ 13sej/kg, respectively for Building A and the NZEB). This

Fig. 6. UEVs of system components for construction (with service).

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18 13

Table 8
Operational energy use and transformity.

Item Building A NZEB

Quantity Emergy Transformity Quantity Emergy Transformity


( E10 J/yr) ( E15 sej/yr) ( E5 sej/J) ( E10 J/yr) ( E15sej/yr) ( E5 sej/J)

Energy for lighting and 1.90 4.84 2.54 3.49 5.10 1.46
equipmenta
Energy for space conditioning 6.20 5.32 0.86 0.57 24.50 43.07
Domestic hot water heatingb 1.40 1.17 0.83 0.19 0.48 2.47
Waterc 0.10 0.71 7.24 0.02 0.60 31.84
Electricity back to the grid 1.50 1.74 1.15
a
Lighting and plug-in loads.
b
Hot water use is 28.8% of total; 86,526.1 kg/yr (Building A) and 16,461.9 kg/yr (NZEB).
c
Gibbs chemical energy of water: 4.6 J/g at room temperature (25  C) and 14.0 J/g for hot water (45  C).

reveals that the finest energy is invested in manufacturing build- demonstrates that NZEB concentrates a huge amount of mass and
ing's mechanical systems, and thus compartmental hierarchies energy to reduce operational source use. On the other hand,
during construction become inconsistent with self-organizing electricity produced by BIPV is environmentally cheaper than that
structures towards increasing power. Note that NZEB relieves the from a fired-power plant. Transformity of the electricity that NZEB
uneven distribution of energy wealth, and there found little sig- produces measures around 1.15E þ 5sej/J (similar to 1.14E þ 05sej/
nificant difference in transformities of two buildings. The similarity J from (Brown et al., 2012)). It shows that a mixture of renewable
in total transformity (0.33sej/kg and 0.34sej/kg) indicates that emergy reduces energy quality. Meanwhile, even if the NZEB
NZEB does not necessarily ensure high-quality energy transfer in adopted high-efficient electric appliances and LED lighting (refer
building fabrication and interior work, despite greater emergy to items in Table 5), energy demand to support them has been
input and empower of NZEB in structure, envelope and interiors. increased to 3.49E þ 10 J/yr, and transformity ends up lowered.
In a similar way, the emergence of a compartmental hierarchy This reveals that high efficiency causes energy/material use to
during building operation is examined with UEVs. However, due to increase.
complexity, the estimation of an operational UEV of a building Based on this result, the quantity-quality relationship of each
component would be biased if we simply represent mixed accu- energy source is plotted as shown in Fig. 8. Although plot points are
mulation of different types of energies with a single unit such as not exactly consistent with the linear E-Tr line in Fig. 1, NZEB's
mass (kg) or energy (J). For this reason, we attempt to investigate energy production roughly belongs to Zone I and IV, while Building
transformities of operational environmental sources. Table 8 and A is in Zone I and II. Each building component of the NZEB con-
Fig. 7 compare energy, emergy inflows and transformities of tributes high-quality energy in small quantity, whereas Building A's
Building A and the NZEB. Results show that non-NZEB consumes components produce low-quality energy in large quantity. This
basically a larger amount of operational energy; fossil-fuel based demonstrates that NZEB is ecologically a more developed system,
operation needs 6.20E þ 10 J/yr for conditioning, 1.40E þ 10 J/yr and the main target of this development is to produce finer en-
for water heating, and 9.80E þ 9 J/yr for water use, while the NZEB ergies for better thermal comfort.
reduces them to 5.69E þ 9 J/yr, 1.93E þ 9 J/yr, and 1.90E þ 8 J/yr Importantly, note that NZEB's greater sustainability was fol-
respectively. While energy transformities of both cases are lowed by an additional increment of empower (þ1.70E þ 16sej/yr)
apparently greater than the estimates for public supply (elec- which decreased overall building system efficiency simultaneously.
tricity: 2.21E þ 5sej/J; natural gas: 5.64E þ 4sej/J (Bastianoni et al., This demonstrates that building sustainability at the global envi-
2009); and water: 5.17E þ 4sej/J (Buenfil, 2001)), it is particularly ronmental level (geobiosphere) is subject to increasing “power”,
important to note that NZEB's transformities of conditioning en- compromising “efficiency”, which is consistent with the Lotka and
ergy and water are far greater than Building A (Fig. 7), because it Odum's examination about phenomenological characteristics of

Fig. 7. Transformity of operational energy and on-site energy production.

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
14 H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18

Fig. 8. Quantity-quality diagram for major end-use energies.

living/non-living system's self-organization (Lotka, 1922; Odum 5. Conclusions


and Pinkerton, 1955). The investigations of UEV and empower
changes also support that NZEB constructs a systemic hierarchy of This study presented an eco-systemic framework of building
energy transfer for obtaining power and self-organizes its compo- sustainability assessment and emergy indices of NZEB performance
nents to augment useful energy import. On the other hand, the E-Tr evaluation, under the hypothesis that buildings can be understood
profiles in Fig. 8 indicate that sustainable building works to increase as self-organizing thermodynamic systems (Braham, 2015). Emergy
energy “quality” in such a way that ecosystems develop (Li et al., theory was employed to suggest a holistic environmental ac-
2013); i.e., NZEB's reduced energy consumption leads to the pro- counting method and technical indicators to evaluate all upstream
duction of high-quality energies (or inefficiency of energy trans- environmental loads (considering renewable and non-renewable
formation), which demands an additional concentration of energies from natural formation phases) and comprehensive en-
materials and other complementary energies. ergy flow-networking by aggregating the building life cycle of
Based on these findings, further statements could be drawn such construction, operation, and maintenance. Emergy accounting and
that: (i) building sustainability parallels the development of natural comparative analyses of NZEB and non-NZEB indicated that
systems and (ii) high efficiency of HVAC systems necessarily ends reduced (operational) energy use of the NZEB caused non-
up low efficiency of the whole building system. A comprehensive renewable resource inputs to increase (þ2.78E þ 15sej/yr).
understanding of building environmental performance to include Despite this greater use of non-renewable resources, it was iden-
natural work and human economy suggests that the global tified that the NZEB was more sustainable (greater ESI of 9.99E‒5)
ecosystem principles (MePP and self-organization) be applicable to than the non-NZEB (2.89E‒7), although the NZEB's ESI is quite low
environmental building design, construction, and management. It compared to natural systems' (ESIs of 0.1e5 (Brown and Ulgiati,
is necessary to understand that the sustainability of high- 1997)). The low ESI values mean that buildings are environmen-
performance buildings is obtained not by increasing operational tally “degenerative” and emergy-inefficient, because, unlike actual
efficiency but from an accumulation of power. Therefore, buildings natural systems, buildings (technically non-living systems) produce
designed within the current technological context necessarily work lesser emergy outputs compared to the enormous storage of inputs.
to amplify the embodiment of useful energy output per time. The NZEB's increased intake of renewable inputs and energy pro-
Meanwhile, it should also be noted that the justification of maxi- duction could be desirable for global sustainability, but it is not as
mizing power depends on the carrying capacity of the global much as the notion of “net-zero” implies. This suggests that the
environmental system and resource availability, as MePP works sustainable status of NZEB may not be overwhelming than non-
only if external resources are plentiful. If the resources are very NZEB or other environmental systems, and there certainly exist
limited and not readily available, maximizing efficiency would untapped alternatives to have buildings more sustainable than
work for sustainability. NZEB.
Tradeoffs occur between energy performance, material inputs, Results also demonstrated that an ecological self-organization
and occupant needs for the high-quality life style of NZEB. In an can be identified at a single building level. for example, a sharp
ecological term, the tradeoffs are an evidence of self-organization temperature gradient inside thickened exterior walls of the NZEB
so that buildings perform with different kinds of energies at an (or a passive house) ends up producing greater entropy and energy
appropriate level of transfer efficiency. This suggests a new building dissipation, which led to high-quality energy and greater emergy of
agenda that environmental buildings concern, where and how the envelope. Obtaining the high-quality spatial thermal comfort is
renewable resources are involved for sustainable self-organizing very similar to that a human body needs greater useful energy to
processes as well as generative use of imported sources such as maintain physiological homeostasis in an unfavorable condition.
energy circulation through feedback and export to other systems. Therefore, emergy-based investigations in building energy study

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18 15

could lead to an understanding that high building performance is system-based understandings unfold unexplainable dimensions of
the result of global-scale evolutionary living processes and sus- building performance that energy and efficiency cannot describe,
tainable buildings perform for a teleological goald“maximizing for emergy is capable of measuring various physical/nonphysical
power”, which ensures the symbiotic development of buildings and substances in the earthdliving organism, building, human-
other environmental systems. dominated systems, and even spirit or psychology (Odum, 2007).
Emergy basically deals with macroscopic aspects of system At the end of the day, this eco-systemic understanding of building
work, which gives rise to an issue of interpretation. Arguments performance and sustainability has a great deal of potential to
made in this study may not be perfectly available for all cases, for characterizing interdisciplinary dimensions of building perfor-
presentation was necessarily restricted to select case study build- mance and energy use, because, as Ulanowicz (1986) states,
ings. Findings are also exposed to the uncertainty of data assurance, ecological growth and development are common phenomena
since MePP has been substantiated by phenomenological in- across all disciplines.
vestigations. That said, it is very important to note that the
immediacy of an energy measure underestimates or even conceals
the complex embeddedness and connectedness of building energy Appendix A
flows, disregarding large-scale thermodynamics (of economy, cul-
ture, information, etc.) surrounding buildings. Emergy theory and

Table A1
Calculation of environmental inputs to NZEB.

Month Rainwater Water use Water Effective Wind turbine Wind Emergy Solar PV PV efficiency Emergy to PV Emergy to
collection (L) (L) reuse (L) wind hours production (E11 sej) radiation production (%) system (E10 sej) solar thermal
(hr) (kWh) (kWh/m2) (MWh) system (E9 sej)

1 0 4854.6 2495.8 388 14.0 1.22 65.2 1.07 9.96 4.69 1.88
2 0 4384.8 2254.3 453 16.4 1.42 77.8 1.28 9.99 5.57 2.24
3 5000 4854.6 2495.8 401 14.5 1.26 107.3 1.76 9.80 7.84 3.09
4 4500 4698.0 2415.3 441 16.0 1.38 125.2 2.06 9.47 9.46 3.61
5 8500 4854.6 2495.8 350 12.7 1.10 139.7 2.30 9.22 10.85 4.02
6 11,000 4698.0 2415.3 313 11.3 0.98 128.9 2.12 8.79 10.50 3.71
7 29,000 4854.6 2495.8 272 9.8 0.85 110.4 1.81 8.48 9.32 3.18
8 15,000 4854.6 2495.8 433 15.7 1.36 113.4 1.86 8.57 9.47 3.27
9 9500 4698.0 2415.3 152 5.5 0.48 108.2 1.78 9.06 8.55 3.12
10 4000 4854.6 2495.8 193 7.0 0.61 95.8 1.57 9.45 7.26 2.76
11 500 4698.0 2415.3 317 11.5 1.00 65.2 1.07 9.46 4.93 1.88
12 0 4854.6 2495.8 285 10.3 0.89 57.4 0.94 9.74 4.22 1.65
Sum 87,000 57,159.5 29,386.1 144.7 12.55 1194.5 19.63 92.66 34.40

Appendix B. Preliminary data for emergy synthesis

Table B1
NZEB annual end-use energy (MWh/yr).

Item NZEB (baseline) NZEB (design) BA House (Benchmark)a

Heating 18.82 0.14 9.52


Cooling 1.10 1.83 2.31
Water heating 0.82 0.54 4.10
Lightingb 4.39 4.65 2.64
Interior equipmentc 5.87 7.49 6.48
Fans, pumps, and auxiliary loads 4.45 0.95 0.33
Sum (energy) 35.45 15.60 25.39

Water use (ton/yr) 110.43 57.16 112.78


a 2 2
BA - model NCTH (New Construction Test Home), conditioned area of 3228 ft (299.89 m ) with three stories, so that a correction factor is 0.848.
b
Average designed luminance is 185 lx with an average power density of 9.17 W/m2.
c
Total electronic equipment power is 2186.8 W.

Table B2
Emergy synthesis w/o service (a panel of flat solar collector)a.

Item Area (m2) Volume (m3) Density (kg/m3) Weight (kg) UEV (sej/kg) Ref. Emergy (sej)

Covering (float glass, thick. 3.2 mm) 1.88 0.006016 2579 15.52 1.00E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 1.56E þ 14
Absorber (coated copper plate, thick. 0.2 mm) 1.88 0.000752 8960 6.74 8.61E þ 13 (Odum, 1996) 5.80E þ 14
Tube (D8 mm, 9ea at 100 mm interval)b 2.03 8.61E þ 13 (Odum, 1996) 1.75E þ 14
Heat reflection film (aluminum, thick. 0.1 mm) 1.88 0.000188 2739 0.51 1.61E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 8.29E þ 12
Insulation (glass wool, thick. 45 mm) 1.88 0.0846 29 2.45 3.05E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 7.48E þ 12
Frame and support (aluminum) 8.25 1.61E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 1.33E þ 14

Total 35.50 2.98E þ 13 1.06E þ 15


a 2
Total weight of a panel: 35.5 kg, Total dimension: 2.01 m  1.01 m  0.09 m, Absorber area: 1.965 m  0.955 m ¼ 1.877 m ; UEVs are relative to the global baseline of
12.0E þ 24 sej/yr.
b
Total tube length ¼ 18 m, unit weight ¼ 0.113 kg/m.

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
16 H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18

Appendix C. Building emergy analysis of building A (non-


NZEB) (Yi and Braham, 2015)

Table C1
Emergy synthesis of site work and structure (non-NZEB, 12.0E þ 24 sej/yr baseline).

Item Specification Data Unit UEV (sej/unit) Ref. Life (yr) Emergy (sej) Intensity (sej/yr)

Site work
Pavement Stair, concrete (cast-in-situ) 5361 kg 1.83E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 9.82E þ 15 1.26E þ 14
Wall, concrete (cast-in-situ) 2028 kg 1.83E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 3.71E þ 15 4.76E þ 13
Slab, concrete (cast-in-situ) 905 kg 1.83E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 1.66E þ 15 2.12E þ 13
Wood plank, 200 thick. Oak 7142 kg 2.62E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 38 1.87E þ 16 4.92E þ 14
Driveway Cement (thick. 400 ) 13,332 kg 2.94E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 3.92E þ 16 5.03E þ 14
Granular fill (thick. 200 ) 35,553 kg 1.70E þ 12 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 78 6.04E þ 16 7.75E þ 14

Sum w/o service 64.32 ton 1.34E þ 17 1.96E þ 15


w service 2.28E þ 15

Structure
Load-bearing Steel column 560 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 2.96E þ 15 4.55E þ 13
Steel beam (ASTM A992) 1374 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 7.25E þ 15 1.12E þ 14
Lumber frame (2  4, 1600 O.C.) 724 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 8.11E þ 14 1.25E þ 13
Sheathing (1/200 plywood e OSB) 639 kg 1.54E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 9.84E þ 14 1.51E þ 13
Wall (concrete masonry units) 29,564 kg 1.72E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 78 5.09E þ 16 6.52E þ 14
Roof Rafter (2  10, 2400 O.C.) 1794 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 2.01E þ 15 3.09E þ 13
Sheathing (1/200 plywood e OSB) 1416 kg 1.54E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 2.18E þ 15 3.36E þ 13
Ground work Granular fill (thick. 400 ) 35,500 kg 1.70E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 6.04E þ 16 7.74E þ 14
Vapor barrier (0.2300 HDPE) 32 kg 6.70E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 2.13E þ 14 2.74E þ 12
Reinforced concrete (cast-in-situ) 44,374 kg 1.83E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 8.12E þ 16 1.04E þ 15
Steel (5.4% of concrete volume) 7824 kg 5.28E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 4.13E þ 16 5.30E þ 14

Sum w/o service 123.80 ton 2.50E þ 17 3.25E þ 15


w service 4.57E þ 15

Note: Top soil loss and natural landscape were not considered.

Table C2
Emergy synthesis of building envelope (non-NZEB, 12.0E þ 24 sej/yr baseline).

Item Specification Data Unit UEV (sej/unit) Ref. Life (yr) Emergy (sej) Intensity (sej/yr)

Floor
Insulation cover Lightweight concrete (thick. 40 mm) 12,897 kg 2.94E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 67 3.79E þ 16 5.66E þ 14
Slab cover Cement mortar (thick. 30 mm) 11,353 kg 2.94E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 67 3.34E þ 16 4.98E þ 14
Insulation 100 Exp. Polystyrene 175 kg 8.75E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 67 1.53E þ 15 2.29E þ 13

Walls
Exterior finish 1 Brick-common 15,444 kg 2.82E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 4.36E þ 16 5.58E þ 14
Vapor barrier HDPE 15 kg 6.70E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 1.02E þ 14 1.31E þ 12
Insulation Batt (R-11), fiberglass 61 kg 3.05E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 67 1.86E þ 14 2.78E þ 12
Board 1/200 Gypsum wall board- 2ply 1867 kg 1.27E þ 12 (Odum, 1996) 52 2.37E þ 15 4.56E þ 13
Interior finish 1 Acrylic paint 23 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 12 4.52E þ 14 3.76E þ 13
Exterior finish 2 Cement base stucco 5604 kg 2.94E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 50 1.65E þ 16 3.29E þ 14
Binder 0.100 Mortar 481 kg 2.94E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 50 1.41E þ 15 2.83E þ 13
Vapor barrier HDPE 20 kg 6.70E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 50 1.35E þ 14 2.70E þ 12
Insulation 200 Exp. Polystyrene 230 kg 8.75E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 67 2.01E þ 15 3.00E þ 13
Board 1/200 Gypsum wall board- 2ply 2457 kg 1.27E þ 12 (Odum, 1996) 52 3.12E þ 15 6.00E þ 13
Interior finish 2 Acrylic paint 31 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 12 5.95E þ 14 4.96E þ 13

Roof
Roofing Asphalt shingle 1/400 1895 kg 3.42E þ 12 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 31 6.48E þ 15 2.09E þ 14
Insulation Batt (R-11), fiberglass 34 kg 3.05E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 67 1.05E þ 14 1.56E þ 12
Underlayment 15lb felt paper 193 kg 5.47E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 31 1.06E þ 15 3.41E þ 13

Chimney
Brick-common (6lb/unit) 7505 kg 2.82E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 2.12E þ 16 2.71E þ 14
Binder - mortar (1.17lb/1brick) 1468 kg 2.94E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 78 4.32E þ 15 5.53E þ 13

Windows
Frame Wood 1366 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 38 1.53E þ 15 4.03E þ 13
Glazing Floating glass 1680 kg 1.00E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 33 1.68E þ 16 5.09E þ 14
Finishing Acrylic paint 34 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 12 6.58E þ 14 5.48E þ 13

Doors
Frame/Panel Wood 187 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 31 2.09E þ 14 6.76E þ 12
Glazing Floating glass 51 kg 1.00E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 31 5.11E þ 14 1.65E þ 13
Casing frame Aluminum sash 690 kg 1.61E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 31 1.11E þ 16 3.58E þ 14
Finish Acrylic paint 9 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 12 1.74E þ 14 1.45E þ 13
Garage door Aluminum 1862 kg 1.61E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 31 3.00E þ 16 9.67E þ 14

Sum w/o service 67.63 ton 2.37E þ 17 4.77E þ 15


w service 6.41E þ 15

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18 17

Table C3
Emergy synthesis of mechanical systems and pipe/duct work (non-NZEB, 12.0E þ 24 sej/yr baseline).

Item Specification Data Unit UEV (sej/unit) Ref. Life (yr) Emergy (sej) Intensity (sej/yr)

Drainage
Rain Gutter A style, 0.0300 Aluminum alloy 47 kg 1.61E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 38 7.62E þ 14 2.01E þ 13
HVAC
Furnace Bryant 355AAV 92 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 19 7.85E þ 14 4.13E þ 13
Air conditioner Bryant 552A 76 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 15 6.49E þ 14 4.33E þ 13
Duct system Galvanized steel (supply/return) 673 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 17 1.85E þ 15 1.09E þ 14
Duct/Pipe Insulation (polystyrene, thick. 15 mm) 90 kg 8.75E þ 12 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 47 7.88E þ 14 1.68E þ 13

Pipe work and wiring systems


Hot water heater Hot water heater equipment 95 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 14 8.12E þ 14 5.80E þ 13
Sink 7 kg 5.21E þ 12 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 17 3.78E þ 13 2.22E þ 12
Electric wiring Copper wire 183 kg 8.61E þ 13 (Meillaud et al., 2005b) 67 1.58E þ 16 2.35E þ 14
Plumbing Pipe Carbon Steel (supply) 363 kg 2.75E þ 12 (Haukoos, 1995) 47 9.97E þ 14 2.12E þ 13
PVC (drainage) 119 kg 7.46E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 47 8.89E þ 14 1.89E þ 13

Sum w/o service 1.75 ton 2.33E þ 16 5.66E þ 14


w service 1.20E þ 15

Table C4
Emergy synthesis of interior work (non-NZEB, 12.0E þ 24 sej/yr baseline).

Item Specification Data Unit UEV (sej/unit) Ref. Life (yr) Emergy (sej) Intensity (sej/yr)

Roof/Floors
Roof ceiling Ceiling joist (2  10, 2400 O.C.) 1713 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 1.92E þ 15 2.95E þ 13
5/800 Gypsum wall board- 2ply 2253 kg 1.27E þ 12 (Odum, 1996) 52 2.86E þ 15 5.50E þ 13
Paint 50 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 11 9.56E þ 14 8.69E þ 13
Floor ceiling Ceiling joist (2  10, 2400 O.C.) 1537 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 1.72E þ 15 2.65E þ 13
5/800 Gypsum wall board- 2ply 2021 kg 1.27E þ 12 (Odum, 1996) 52 2.57E þ 15 4.94E þ 13
Paint 44 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 11 8.58E þ 14 7.80E þ 13
Floor 7/800 Hardwood flooring 3230 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 57 3.62E þ 15 6.35E þ 13
Frame truss (2400 ) 1537 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 1.72E þ 15 2.65E þ 13
Ground floor 7/800 Hardwood flooring 3413 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 57 3.82E þ 15 6.71E þ 13
Stair Wood joist (2  6) 22 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 2.50E þ 13 3.85E þ 11
7/800 Hardwood flooring 81 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 57 9.09E þ 13 1.59E þ 12
Paint 1 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 11 2.16E þ 13 1.96E þ 12

Walls/Doors
Walls Stud- lumber frame (2  4, 1600 O.C.) 4166 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 65 4.67E þ 15 7.18E þ 13
1/200 Gypsum wall board- 2ply 10,740 kg 1.27E þ 12 (Odum, 1996) 52 1.36E þ 16 2.62E þ 14
Paint 269 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 11 5.20E þ 15 4.73E þ 14
Doors Wood panels and frames 662 kg 1.12E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 31 7.41E þ 14 2.39E þ 13
Finish 13 kg 1.93E þ 13 (Buranakarn, 1998) 12 2.51E þ 14 2.09E þ 13

Fixtures
Bathtub (Porcelain) 35 kg 3.89E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 30 1.38E þ 14 4.59E þ 12
Bathtub (Porcelain on steel) 43 kg 3.89E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 30 1.66E þ 14 5.53E þ 12
Shower base (Terazzo) 68 kg 3.89E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 30 2.65E þ 14 8.82E þ 12
Toilet (TOTO CST764SG) 148 kg 3.89E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 30 5.77E þ 14 1.92E þ 13
Lavatories 64 kg 3.89E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 30 2.47E þ 14 8.23E þ 12
Kitchen Cabinets 428 kg 2.62E þ 12 (Buranakarn, 1998) 35 1.12E þ 15 3.21E þ 13

Electronic appliances, furniture, lighting and housewares


Appliances Laundry machine 100 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 15 8.50E þ 14 5.67E þ 13
Dryer, Frigidaire 59 kg 5.21E þ 12 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 15 3.05E þ 14 2.03E þ 13
Dishwasher, Frigidaire 36 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 15 3.05E þ 14 2.03E þ 13
Wall-oven, electric 64 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 15 5.41E þ 14 3.61E þ 13
Cook-top range, gas 18 kg 8.52E þ 12 (Odum et al., 1987) 15 1.51E þ 14 1.01E þ 13
Refrigerator 126 kg 2.48E þ 13 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 15 3.13E þ 15 2.08E þ 14
Microwave oven 14 kg 2.48E þ 13 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 15 3.37E þ 14 2.25E þ 13
Computer 9 kg 2.48E þ 13 (Cabezas et al., 2010) 7 2.26E þ 14 3.22E þ 13
Lighting Compact fluorescent (14 ea.) 210 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 24 2.92E þ 14 1.22E þ 13
Incandescent (42 ea.) 684 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 24 9.51E þ 14 3.96E þ 13
Other (11 ea.) 308 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 24 4.28E þ 14 1.78E þ 13
Furniture Furnishings 4789 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 24 6.66E þ 15 2.77E þ 14
Misc. Misc. goods 1074 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 24 1.49E þ 15 6.22E þ 13

Sum w/o service 25.92 ton 6.29E þ 16 2.23E þ 15


w service 3.61E þ 15

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059
18 H. Yi et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2017) 1e18

Table C5
Emergy synthesis of construction labor, maintenance, and renewable energy inputs (non-NZEB, 12.0E þ 24 sej/yr baseline).

Item Specification Data Unit UEV (sej/unit) Ref. Emergy (sej) Intensity (sej/yr)

Various goods and services for operation and maintenance


Living supplies Food and apparel 5141 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 7.15E þ 15
Maintenance Building structure 259 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 3.60E þ 14
HVAC/Water systems 89 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 1.24E þ 14
Appliances/Equipment 936 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 1.30E þ 15
Furnishings 779 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 1.08E þ 15
Disposal systems 10 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 1.39E þ 13
Public service Property tax 2548 $/yr 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 3.54E þ 15

Water Public water supplies 300,438 kg/yr 2.38E þ 08 (Buenfil, 2001) 7.15E þ 13

Renewable sources
Solar Transmission to indoor space 6.25E þ 10 J/yr 1 (Odum, 1996) 6.25E þ 10
Sum 6.25E þ 10 J/yr 6.25E þ 10

Construction service (labor and indirect cost) 210,707 $ 1.39E þ 12 (Bastianoni et al., 2009) 2.93E þ 17 5.29E þ 15

Total (manufacturing w/o service) 299.63 ton 7.07E þ 17 1.28E þ 16


Total (manufacturing w/service) 299.63 ton 1.00E þ 18 1.81E þ 16
Total(construction þ operation and maintenance) 606.21 ton 4.25E þ 16

Appendix A. Supplementary data York.


Odum, H.T., 1996. Environmental Accounting: EMERGY and Environmental Decision
Making. John Wiley and Sons Inc., New York.
Supplementary data related to this article can be found at http:// Odum, H.T., 2007. Environment, Power and Society for the Twenty-first Century:
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059. the Hierarchy of Energy. Columbia University Press, New York, NY.
Odum, H.T., Pinkerton, R.C., 1955. Time's speed regulator: the optimum efficiency
for maximum power output in physical and biological systems. Am. Sci. 43,
References 331e343.
Odum, H.T., Wang, F.C., Alexander, J.F., Gilliland, M., Miller, M., Sendzimer, J., 1987.
Bastianoni, S., Campbell, D.E., Ridolfi, R., Pulselli, F.M., 2009. The solar transformity Energy analysis of environmental value. Center for Wetland, University of
of petroleum fuels, Ecological Modeling. Ecol. Model. 220, 40e50. Florida.
Braham, W.W., 2015. Architecture and Systems Ecology: Thermodynamic Principles Odum, H.T., Brown, M.T., Brandt-Williams, S., 2000. Folio #1: Introduction and
of Environmental Building Design, in Three Parts. Routledge, New York. Global Budget. In Handbook of Emergy Evaluation, a Compendium of Data for
Brown, M.T., 2005. Areal empower density, unit emergy values, and emformation. Emergy Computation Issued in a Series of Folios. Center for Environmental
In: The Third Biennial Emergy Conference, pp. 1e16 (Gainesville, FL). Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, p. 16.
Brown, M.T., Ulgiati, S., 1997. Emergy-based indices and ratios to evaluate sus- Peacock, K., 1999. Staying out of the lifeboat: sustainability, culture, and the ther-
tainability: monitoring economies and technology toward environmentally modynamics of symbiosis. Ecosyst. health 5, 91e103.
sound innovation. Ecol. Eng. 9, 51e69. Pless, S., Torcellini, P., 2010. Net-zero Energy Buildings: a Classification System
Brown, M.T., Raugei, M., Ulgiati, S., 2012. On boundaries and 'investments' in Based on Renewable Energy Supply Options. National Renewable Energy Lab-
Emergy Synthesis and LCA: a case study on thermal vs. photovoltaic electricity. oratory, Golden, CO.
Ecol. Indic. 15, 227e235. Pulselli, R.M., Simoncini, E., Pulselli, F.M., Bastianoni, S., 2007. Emergy analysis of
Brown, M.T., Campbell, D.E., Vilbiss, C., Ulgiati, S., 2016. The geobiosphere emergy building manufacturing, maintenance and use: Em-building indices to evaluate
baseline: a synthesis. Ecol. Model. 339, 92e95. housing sustainability. Energy Build. 39, 620e628.
Buenfil, A.A., 2001. Emergy Evaluation of Water. University of Florida, Gainesville, Raugei, M., Bargigli, S., Ulgiati, S., 2006. Technological improvement and innovation
Florida. in photovoltaics-new emergy calculations. In: Paper Presented at: the Fourth
Buranakarn, V., 1998. Evaluation of Recycling and Reuse of Building Materials Using Biennial Emergy Conference (Gainesville, Florida).
the Emergy Analysis Method. University of Florida. Rothrock, H., 2014. Sustainable housing: emergy evaluation of an off-grid residence.
Cabezas, H., Campbell, D., Eason, T., Garmestani, A.S., Herberling, M.T., Hopton, M.E., Energy Build. 85, 287e292.
Templeton, J., Zanowick, M., 2010. In: Heberling, M.T., Hopton, M.E. (Eds.), San Rustagi, N., Tilley, D.R., Schramski, J., 2008. Total energy requirements of a living
Luis Basin Sustainability Metrics Project: a Methodology for Evaluating Regional extensive green roof. In: Paper Presented at: the Fifth Biennial Emergy Con-
Sustainability. United States Environmental Projection Agency (US EPA), ference (Gainesville, Florida).
pp. 119e136. Siniavskaia, N., 2008. Spending Patterns of Home Buyers. HousingEconomics.com.
Cellura, M., Guarino, F., Longo, S., Mistretta, M., 2014. Energy life-cycle approach in Srinivasan, R.S., Braham, W.W., Campbell, D.E., Curcija, C.D., 2012. Re(De)fining net
Net zero energy buildings balance: operation and embodied energy of an Italian zero energy: renewable emergy balance in environmental building design.
case study. Energy Build. 72, 371e381. Build. Environ. 47, 300e315.
Crawley, D., Pless, S., Torcellini, P., 2009. Getting to net zero. ASHRAE J. 51, 1e8. Tilley, D.R., 2004. Howard T. Odum's contribution to the laws of energy. Ecol. Model.
Haukoos, D.S., 1995. Sustainable Architecture and its Relationship to Industrial 178, 121e125.
Building. MS Thesis. Department of Architecture (Gainesville, FL: University of Ulanowicz, R.E., 1986. Growth and Development : Ecosystems Phenomenology.
Florida). Springer-Verlag, New York.
Hyde, R., 2015. From biomimetic design to nearly zero energy building. Archit. Sci. Ulgiati, S., 1999. Energy, Emergy and Embodied Exergy: Diverging or Converging
Rev. 58, 103e105. Approaches? Paper Presented at: the First Biennial Emergy Analysis Research
Li, L., Lu, H., Tilley, D.R., Ren, H., Shen, W., 2013. The maximum empower principle: Conference. The Center for Environmental Policy, University of Florida, Gain-
an invisible hand controlling the self-organizing development of forest plan- esville, Florida.
tations in south China. Ecol. Indic. 29, 278e292. WCED, 1987. Our Common Future. Oxford University Press, New York.
Lotka, A.J., 1922. Contribution to the energetics of evolution. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 8, Wilson, E., Engebrecht Metzger, C., Horowitz, S., Hendron, R., 2014. In: 2014 Building
147e151. America House Simulation Protocols, U.S.D.O. Energy. National Renewable En-
Marszal, A.J., Heiselberg, P., Bourrelle, J.S., Musall, E., Voss, K., Sartori, I., ergy Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN.
Napolitano, A., 2011. Zero Energy Building - a review of definitions and calcu- Yi, H., Braham, W.W., 2015. Uncertainty characterization of building emergy anal-
lation methodologies. Energy Build. 43, 971e979. ysis (bema). Build. Environ. 92, 538e558.
Meillaud, F., Gay, J.-B., Brown, M.T., 2005. Evaluation of a building using the emergy Yi, H., Srinivasan, R.S., Braham, W.W., 2015. An integrated energy-emergy approach
method. Sol. Energy 79, 204e212. to building form optimization: use of EnergyPlus, emergy analysis and taguchi-
Meillaud, F., Gay, J.-B., Brown, M.T., 2005. Evaluation of a building using the emergy regression method. Build. Environ. 84, 89e104.
method. Sol. Energy 79 (2), 204e212.
Odum, H.T., 1983. Systems Ecology: an Introduction. John Wiley and Sons Inc, New

Please cite this article in press as: Yi, H., et al., An ecological understanding of net-zero energy building: Evaluation of sustainability based on
emergy theory, Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.12.059