Cost optimal and nearly zero energy building solutions for office buildings

E. Pikas*, M. Thalfeldt, J. Kurnitski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


European Union (EU) has established directives and guidelines that soon require building industry to comply with nearly zero energy building (nZEB) targets in their daily work. This will necessitate new design solutions based on new knowledge. At a high performance level, it is a multifaceted problem, while solutions must be both energy and cost efficient. Most studies have focused on energy efficiency issues and neglected to analyze the cost optimality of technical solutions. This paper considers possible office building fenestration design solutions which take into account both energy efficiency and cost optimality. The analysis also looks at alternative measures to achieve the nZEB level. It was observed that for the cold Estonian climate, triple glazed argon filled windows with a small window to wall ratio and walls with 200 mm thick insulation are energy efficient and cost optimal within 20 years. Achieving nZEB required the use of photovoltaic panels for generating electricity. Existing nZEB solutions are not cost optimal, but this should change in the near future. In conclusion, the paper proposes design guidelines for high performance office building facades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-42
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cost optimality
  • Daylight
  • Energy simulations
  • Facade design
  • Fenestration
  • Load matching
  • Nearly zero energy buildings (nZEB)
  • Photovoltaic (PV) generation
  • Windows

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