The connotations and denotations of the term net-zero-energy solar buildings (NZESBs) have been in constant flux because of continuous developments in solar heating technology, solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, building energy-storage technology, regional energy-storage technology, and energy-management systems. This paper focuses on innovative strategies for implementing NZESBs in Nanjing, China. These strategies include integrated architectural design, including passive solar design (respecting climatic characteristics and conducting integrated planning based on the environment, building orientation, distance between buildings, building shape, ratio of window area to wall area, and building envelope) and active solar design (integration of the solar-energy-collecting end of the system – collectors and PV panels – with the building surface – roof, wall surfaces, balconies, and sun-shading devices – and the integration of solar-energy transfer and storage equipment with the building). Some Nanjing-specific recommendations and findings on NZESBs are proposed. The results illustrate that NZESBs can be realized in Nanjing if solar energy technologies are appropriately integrated with the characteristics of Nanjing's geography, climate and buildings.

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Author notes


School of Architecture, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, PR China


Key Laboratory of Urban and Architectural Heritage Conservation (Southeast University), Ministry of Education, PR China


College of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80217, USA


Architects and Engineers CO. LTD. of Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, PR China