4 RENEWABLE ENERGY IN BUILDINGS AND MUNICIPALITIES
Renewable energy sources can help heat or cool water and buildings, as well as produce electricity through installing various Renewable Energy Sources (RES) in buildings and facilities when feasible, such as solar thermal collectors, photovoltaic panels, biomass boilers.
It is important to have a good design, to install high quality products and hire skilled workers for the installation, as well as to plan a good maintainance service. It is important, when not mandatory, to include an energy meter to know the real production of the system.
Some examples of RES are:
- solar hot water panels - Solar thermal/hot water systems use energy from the sun to heat water for use in the home. They can give about a third of a home’s hot water in a year but this can be as high as 100% in the summer
- photo-voltaic panels - these convert energy from daylight into electricity: Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels turn energy from the sun into electricity which can be used to run appliances and lights in your home. Sunny days are not essential as the panels will make electricity even on a cloudy day. A PV panel can make around 50% of a home’s electricity for the year. In some cases the electricity produced can be fed back to the Grid.
- ground source heat pumps - these extract the heat from the ground via a refrigerant fluid (or water) and transfer it to a heat sink where it can then be circulated through the building via a heating system; they can also be operated in reverse to provide cooling. Heat pumps using geothermal energy are particularly interesting for new buildings, where the soil can be dug out without much additional troubles or costs. It can be combined with other types of energy sources.
- biomass boilers – these boilers burn organic matter to produce heat and/or electricity; use of biomass can be considered to be ‘carbon-neutral’, if locally sourced, because the carbon dioxide released during the generation of energy is balanced by that absorbed by plants during their growth .These are particularly indicated when it is possible to exploit local biomass, like wood coming from forests nearby the municipality or residual biomass from wood production or agriculture wastes in the territory. This helps reduce the municipality imports, increase local jobs and local economy, promote the forest management and therefore control the fire risk.
Table 4 1: Solar energy in building and municipalities: Sector of implementation and type of intervention
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4.2 Methodology: Steps of implementation and Tools
4.3 Actors of the process and their roles
4.4 Financial resources