Photovoltaics' architectural and landscape design options for Net Zero Energy Buildings, towards Net Zero Energy Communities: Spatial features and outdoor thermal comfort related considerations

Alessandra Scognamiglio, François Garde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Net Zero Energy Building (NetZEB) design has become a crucial topic of research in recent years. Because of its complexity, discussion has been carried out on methodological criteria useful to define and assess NetZEBs (building system boundary, conversion factors, energy balance, interaction with the grid, monitoring, etc.), mainly with the engineering approach, and a number of case studies worldwide have been investigated. In regard to photovoltaics' (PV) design, research demonstrated the following: (1) PV is an indispensable technology for meeting the net zero energy target; (2) meeting the target of the net zero energy balance at the architectural scale (by using only the surfaces of the building envelope to place renewables) is very difficult and therefore (3) an extension of the balance boundary to a wider scale is needed. That is the concept of NetZEB should be advanced towards the one of Net Zero Energy Communities (NetZECs). In view of such an enlargement of the design domain, this paper investigates architectural and landscape design options (spatial features and outdoor thermal comfort considerations) for PV, on the basis of the analysis of case studies collected and assessed in the framework of the International Energy Agency Solar Heating and Cooling Programme-Energy in Buildings and Communities Programme (SHC-EBC) Task 40-Annex 52 Net Zero Energy Solar Buildings. Considering that the traditional understanding of the use of PV in buildings, mainly rooted in technological and morphological considerations, is not sufficient to describe all the issues emerging from this analysis, this paper is a contribution for setting a new cognitive framework in view of PV design for NetZECs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477 - 495
Number of pages19
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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