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Getting to net-zero energy with brick masonry construction [AIA course]

When targeting net-zero energy performance, AEC professionals are advised to tackle energy demand first. This AIA course covers brick masonry's role in reducing energy consumption in buildings. 

January 11, 2014 |
Coventry Universitys Lanchester Library was designed by U.K. firm Alan Short &

This course provides architects, engineers, and contractors with practical advice about implementing net-zero energy buildings using brick masonry. AEC professionals are advised to tackle energy demand first, and not to count on renewable energy sources (photovoltaics, wind, etc.) to achieve net-zero status. 

They are further advised to do as much as possible in terms of reducing energy consumption in the building, even if renewables are not available or cost too much, with the hope that the building will be "net-zero ready" for future installation of PVs and other renewables. 

Brick masonry is shown to be an effective wall system in the design and construction of such a net-zero energy building.

After reading this article, you should be able to:

• Define the term “net-zero energy (NZE) building” and list the basic properties of heat loss and heat gain and their application to the design and construction of NZE buildings.
• Evaluate the typical R-values of masonry walls, the thermal mass properties of brick walls, and their use in net-zero energy buildings.
• Describe various passive solar and active solar techniques (for renewable energy) and their application to net-zero energy buildings.
• Describe thermal bridges that occur in structures, how they degrade the thermal performance of the wall, and why their reduction or elimination is critical to achieving a net-zero energy building.


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