The focus on sustainable construction has been energy efficiency for the past several years. In Finland and around the world, the so-called Kyoto Pyramid has become a kind of guideline for the design of energy-efficient buildings. The basis of the pyramid, i.e. the starting point for energy-efficient construction, has been (1-2) reduction of heat losses and electricity consumption, followed by (3) utilization of heat loads, (4) management of energy consumption and (5) choice of energy form.
While reducing energy use is still important, especially in the existing building stock, sustainable and carbon-neutral construction requires a broader and more comprehensive approach to building properties.
In the coming decades, our energy system will develop to be carbon neutral and buildings will play a significant role in this change. In the future, buildings will be an even more active part of the energy system, not only as consumers but also as producers of renewable energy. In addition, the flexibility of buildings and smart energy management enable the wider use of renewable energy in our energy system.
This development also means that most of the CO2-emissions from buildings under construction now and in the future will be generated even before the buildings are commissioned in the manufacture of construction materials and the construction processes.
The carbon footprint is a holistic measure of sustainable construction and can be influenced in several ways. For example, the efficiency of a façade structure no longer arises only from the U-value describing the heat loss, but from which structures the material is made of and how the maintenance of the structure is made as easy as possible.
All of this means that different perspectives need to be considered in the design of buildings more than ever before.
ZERO has been developed from the need of Total Carbon Optimization and to enable sustainable construction in a cost-effective way.