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Buildings, Volume 6, Issue 4 (December 2016)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Proposal for New Microclimate Indexes for the Evaluation of Indoor Air Quality in Museums
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 41; doi:10.3390/buildings6040041
Received: 22 August 2016 / Revised: 23 September 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 15 October 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1719 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A correct artwork preservation requires strict values of several microclimate parameters, in particular temperature, humidity, and light. In existing museums, the evaluation of the effectiveness of current building plant systems and management is essential to avoid artwork deterioration. In this work, we propose
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A correct artwork preservation requires strict values of several microclimate parameters, in particular temperature, humidity, and light. In existing museums, the evaluation of the effectiveness of current building plant systems and management is essential to avoid artwork deterioration. In this work, we propose the use of five simple performance indexes that use monitored data to estimate the suitability of the whole museum system in the maintenance of benchmark values of temperature, humidity, and light. The new indexes also take into account microclimate daily span and spatial homogeneity, which can represent a criticality in the preservative process. We apply these new indexes to the results of a monitoring campaign in Palazzo Blu, a museum in Pisa, which lasted for almost four months during a temporary exhibition on Toulouse-Lautrec works. The indexes show a mainly acceptable instantaneous microclimate, but HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning) system improvement is necessary to avoid high thermo-hygrometric daily span. This methodology is useful for the identification of microclimate criticalities and can help the cooperation between conservation experts and professionals giving hints to improve museum internal microclimate. In case ofalready optimal microclimate, these indexes can be useful in more complex analyses, including simulations of possible retrofit actions, keeping microclimate suitability as a constraint. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Development of Rural Areas in the EU and China: A Common Strategy for Architectural Design, Research Practice and Decision-Making
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 42; doi:10.3390/buildings6040042
Received: 31 July 2016 / Revised: 6 September 2016 / Accepted: 11 October 2016 / Published: 18 October 2016
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Abstract
This paper describes the results of a research project to develop a set of goals and strategies aimed at policymakers, stakeholders, researchers, designers and/or some other groups of citizens’ communities whose development actions are undertaken in a specific rural context. The aim of
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This paper describes the results of a research project to develop a set of goals and strategies aimed at policymakers, stakeholders, researchers, designers and/or some other groups of citizens’ communities whose development actions are undertaken in a specific rural context. The aim of the project was to move beyond the knowledge of the articulated architectural and social evolution of the rural areas in both the EU and China, looking at the local and global challenges, at the need for continuous adaptation and at the experiences of resilience that the countryside faces today. The paper shows, through two-pronged methods, such as semantic analysis and a meta-project design, that a common strategy can be set to support actions for the development of rural areas both in China and the EU. In doing so, this study has defined a strategy system tool that is a type of interactive and generative key-checklist that can be used by stakeholders in specific contexts, becoming a reading tool, a set of design guidelines or a decision facilitator support system. The results achieved have been tested through design application in two meta-projects that confirm the validity of the whole research framework with the aim of promoting a sustainable development and enhancement of places and rural communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle Design, Production, and Installation of Wooden Walls for the Japan Pavilion at Expo 2015
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 43; doi:10.3390/buildings6040043
Received: 18 August 2016 / Revised: 27 September 2016 / Accepted: 29 September 2016 / Published: 18 October 2016
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Abstract
This article illustrates the production process, the structural calculations and the assembly phases of the wooden walls of the Japan Pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan, designed by Atsushi Kitagawara Architects (AKA). The pavilion, one of the most popular construction of this international
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This article illustrates the production process, the structural calculations and the assembly phases of the wooden walls of the Japan Pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan, designed by Atsushi Kitagawara Architects (AKA). The pavilion, one of the most popular construction of this international event, was built almost exclusively with precast interlocking. The production process and the assembly phases were optimized to construct the wooden walls (with a height of 4–12 m) in a short time frame and with a high level of quality. Out-of-plane rocking and other aspects of structural safety were considered, to ensure sufficient stability of the walls. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Steady-State Thermal Properties of Rectangular Straw-Bales (RSB) for Building
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 44; doi:10.3390/buildings6040044
Received: 8 July 2016 / Revised: 29 September 2016 / Accepted: 11 October 2016 / Published: 18 October 2016
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Abstract
Straw is an inevitable product of cereal production and is available in huge quantities in the world. In order to use straw-bales as a building material, the characteristic values of the thermal performances should be determined. To not lose the benefits of the
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Straw is an inevitable product of cereal production and is available in huge quantities in the world. In order to use straw-bales as a building material, the characteristic values of the thermal performances should be determined. To not lose the benefits of the cheapness and sustainability of the material, the characteristics must be determined with simple and inexpensive means and procedures. This research aims to implement tools and methods focused at the determination of the thermal properties of straw-bales. For this study, the guidelines dictated by ASTM and ISO were followed. A measurement system consisting of a Metering Chamber (MC) was realized. The MC was placed inside a Climate Chamber (CC). During the test, a known quantity of energy is introduced inside MC. When the steady-state is reached, all the energy put into MC passes through its walls in CC, where it is absorbed by the air-conditioner. A series of thermopiles detect the temperature of the surfaces of the measurement system and of the specimen. Determining the amount of energy transmitted by the various parts of MC and by the specimen, it is possible to apply Fourier’s law to calculate the thermal conductivity of the specimen. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Post-Occupancy Evaluation Data Support for Planning and Management of Building Maintenance Plans
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 45; doi:10.3390/buildings6040045
Received: 19 July 2016 / Revised: 13 October 2016 / Accepted: 17 October 2016 / Published: 21 October 2016
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Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to propose a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) method focused on building maintenance and then to test it on two different sets of residential buildings. The paper’s three main goals are: to obtain useful data for optimizing the buildings’
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The purpose of this paper is to propose a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) method focused on building maintenance and then to test it on two different sets of residential buildings. The paper’s three main goals are: to obtain useful data for optimizing the buildings’ maintenance plans; to search for any correlation between the occupants’ characteristics and their expectations toward the building; to study the occupants’ willingness to pay for maintenance procedures, as well as its correlation with the occupants’ perception of the elements source of maintenance (ESM). The proposed POE method for building maintenance performance evaluation (BMPE) consists of six main stages, focusing on the occupants’ opinions and their correlation with the facility manager’s. The observed case studies allowed for a preliminary validation of the POE method for BMPE. Results generically endorsed the method as a valuable tool for the rapprochement between facility management and the building’s end-users. Such findings could allow facility managers to develop more efficient maintenance plans focusing on the occupants’ real needs and expectations, raising occupant satisfaction levels and contributing to the building’s general performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Environmental Impact Assessment of a School Building in Iceland Using LCA-Including the Effect of Long Distance Transport of Materials
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 46; doi:10.3390/buildings6040046
Received: 23 August 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
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Abstract
Buildings are the key components of urban areas and society as a complex system. A life cycle assessment was applied to estimate the environmental impacts of the resources applied in the building envelope, floor slabs, and interior walls of the Vættaskóli-Engi building in
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Buildings are the key components of urban areas and society as a complex system. A life cycle assessment was applied to estimate the environmental impacts of the resources applied in the building envelope, floor slabs, and interior walls of the Vættaskóli-Engi building in Reykjavik, Iceland. The scope of this study included four modules of extraction and transportation of raw material to the manufacturing site, production of the construction materials, and transport to the building site, as described in the standard EN 15804. The total environmental effects of the school building in terms of global warming potential, ozone depletion potential, human toxicity, acidification, and eutrophication were calculated. The total global warming potential impact was equal to 255 kg of CO2 eq/sqm, which was low compared to previous studies and was due to the limited system boundary of the current study. The effect of long-distance overseas transport of materials was noticeable in terms of acidification (25%) and eutrophication (31%) while it was negligible in other impact groups. The results also concluded that producing the cement in Iceland caused less environmental impact in all five impact categories compared to the case in which the cement was imported from Germany. The major contribution of this work is that the environmental impacts of different plans for domestic production or import of construction materials to Iceland can be precisely assessed in order to identify effective measures to move towards a sustainable built environment in Iceland, and also to provide consistent insights for stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact of Buildings—Linking Impacts and Tools)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Top-Down and Bottom-Up Processes for Rural Development and the Role of Architects in Yunnan, China
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 47; doi:10.3390/buildings6040047
Received: 24 July 2016 / Revised: 2 November 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 7 November 2016
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Abstract
This study identified two alternative but potentially simultaneous processes for rural development in China. One is the ‘bottom-up’ approach where individuals and groups of villagers work innovatively in developing new building construction opportunities, prompted by contemporary and indigenous design and construction methods. The
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This study identified two alternative but potentially simultaneous processes for rural development in China. One is the ‘bottom-up’ approach where individuals and groups of villagers work innovatively in developing new building construction opportunities, prompted by contemporary and indigenous design and construction methods. The alternative ‘top-down’ approach is associated with changes caused by external influences, such as directions given from funding sources, and encouragement for the use of specific knowledge and technologies; this is then filtered down through village administrative systems. Two ethnic villages were studied in Yunnan province, an area with a larger rural low-income population than other regions. Each village exhibited strong traditional cultures and each had undergone different tourist redevelopment over a period of more than ten years. The case studies revealed discrepancies between the academic categorization of dwellings in villages based on the representations of traditional culture created by materials and techniques, and the villagers’ own perception of the social and cultural meanings of their houses and spaces in the village. The outcomes suggest that architects and designers could have different involvement in rural development through building platforms for discussion and decision-making, used with and amongst stakeholders, and which could link the two different directions of approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle Three-Dimensional Heat Transfer Analysis of Metal Fasteners in Roofing Assemblies
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 49; doi:10.3390/buildings6040049
Received: 6 October 2016 / Revised: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 23 November 2016 / Published: 29 November 2016
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Abstract
Heat transfer analysis was performed on typical roofing assemblies using HEAT3, a three-dimensional heat transfer analysis software. The difference in heat transferred through the roofing assemblies considered is compared between two cases—without any steel fasteners and with steel fasteners. In the latter case,
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Heat transfer analysis was performed on typical roofing assemblies using HEAT3, a three-dimensional heat transfer analysis software. The difference in heat transferred through the roofing assemblies considered is compared between two cases—without any steel fasteners and with steel fasteners. In the latter case, the metal roofing fasteners were arranged as per Factor Mutual Global (FMG) approvals, in the field, perimeter, and corner zones of the roof. The temperature conditions used for the analysis represented summer and winter conditions for three separate Climate Zones (CZ) namely Climate Zone 2 or CZ2 represented by Orlando, FL; CZ3 represented by Atlanta, GA; and CZ6 zone represented by St. Paul, MN. In all the climatic conditions, higher energy transfer was observed with increase in the number of metal fasteners attributed to high thermal conductivity of metals as compared to the insulation and other materials used in the roofing assembly. This difference in heat loss was also quantified in the form of percentage change in the overall or effective insulation of the roofing assembly for better understanding of the practical aspects. Besides, a comparison of 2D heat transfer analysis (using THERM software) and 3D analysis using HEAT3 is also discussed proving the relevance of 3D over 2D heat transfer analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Refurbishment and Energy Performance)
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Open AccessArticle Optimized Load Shedding Approach for Grid-Connected DC Microgrid Systems under Realistic Constraints
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 50; doi:10.3390/buildings6040050
Received: 28 July 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 5 December 2016 / Published: 9 December 2016
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Abstract
The microgrid system is an answer to the necessity of increasing renewable energy penetration and also works as a bridge for the future smart grid. Considering the microgrid system applied to commercial building equipped with photovoltaic sources, the usage of a DC microgrid
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The microgrid system is an answer to the necessity of increasing renewable energy penetration and also works as a bridge for the future smart grid. Considering the microgrid system applied to commercial building equipped with photovoltaic sources, the usage of a DC microgrid architecture can improve the efficiency of the system, while ensuring robustness and reducing the overall energy cost. Given the power grid stress and the intermittency of the DC microgrid power production, backup power provision and load shedding operations may occur to stabilize the DC bus voltage. Based on the knapsack problem formulation, this paper presents a realistic optimization approach to shedding a building’s appliances, considering the priority of each appliance, and also considering a minimum amount of load that must be attended. The problem is solved by mixed integer linear programming and the CPLEX solver. The proposed architecture ensures critical load supply and voltage stabilization through the real-time operation of the operational algorithm allowing the load shedding optimization approach to be applied without compromising the robustness of the system. The results obtained by simulation prove that the DC microgrid is able to supply the building power network by applying the load shedding optimization program to overcome, mainly, the renewable energy intermittency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advance in Building Integrated Microgrid Systems)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle History as an Instrument in the Development of Historical Danish Villages
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 51; doi:10.3390/buildings6040051
Received: 30 July 2016 / Revised: 25 November 2016 / Accepted: 7 December 2016 / Published: 14 December 2016
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Abstract
A central contemporary societal discussion in Denmark concerns settlements that have poor connectivity and are geographically distant to main towns and cities. These settlements are called “outskirts.” Historically significant villages in these outskirts are being transformed in order to counteract a general destitution
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A central contemporary societal discussion in Denmark concerns settlements that have poor connectivity and are geographically distant to main towns and cities. These settlements are called “outskirts.” Historically significant villages in these outskirts are being transformed in order to counteract a general destitution of decrepit houses and public spaces. This research article explains the relationship between spatial alterations and the inherent historical structures these villages contain. The article analyses three student projects and examines how they relate to and gain from history in the development plans for a concrete exemplary case village in Denmark. The projects represent various ways in which the past is conceived and applied to the suggested concepts. The different approaches to history found in the student projects call for an open-minded position towards the assessment of historical structures worthy of preservation when operating in a generic context such as the Danish villages. Further, the students’ prioritisation of preservation of historical structures and phenomena alters from the analysis phase to the project development phase. This observation questions the traditional practice of developing plans based on a predefined analysis of heritage and suggests that heritage assessment be separated from project development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of the Impact of Cool Roofs in Temperate Climates through a Comparative Experimental Campaign in Outdoor Test Cells
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 52; doi:10.3390/buildings6040052
Received: 27 September 2016 / Revised: 25 November 2016 / Accepted: 8 December 2016 / Published: 19 December 2016
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Abstract
Over the last few decades many bibliographical studies have been conducted on cool roofs, by analyzing both the energy performance during summer and winter seasons and their contribution in mitigating the urban heat island effect. This paper describes the experimentation carried out in
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Over the last few decades many bibliographical studies have been conducted on cool roofs, by analyzing both the energy performance during summer and winter seasons and their contribution in mitigating the urban heat island effect. This paper describes the experimentation carried out in three outdoor test cells to comparatively assess the behavior of a cool roof solution with respect to a ventilated-roof and a warm-roof. The monitored data have confirmed that in summer cool roofs are the best solution, with respect to traditional tile roofing, sensibly reducing surface temperatures as a function of the solar direct radiation level (15–25 °C for I > 600 W/m2 and 5–15 °C for I < 300 W/m2, independently of the season). Furthermore, cool roofs involve an energy saving related to summer cooling by about 20% as to a warm-roof and 15%–20% as to a vented-roof. During winter, cool roofs improve the heating energy performance of a vented-roof by about 12%, against a slightly increased consumption (<5%) if compared to a warm-roof. These data confirm that, in temperate climates, cool roofs are appropriate solutions to sensibly improve summer energy performances with a negligible negative impact during winter, and to positively contribute to the mitigation of the heat island effect. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Side-View Atmospheres under Outdoor Midday High Luminance
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 53; doi:10.3390/buildings6040053
Received: 30 July 2016 / Revised: 17 November 2016 / Accepted: 24 November 2016 / Published: 20 December 2016
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Abstract
This work deals with daylighting for indoor quality atmospheres, considering building skins and side-views. We also tested the vision perception provided by highly glazed façades. Several Spanish restaurants were analyzed, and two were assessed and measured under outside midday high luminance. The selected
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This work deals with daylighting for indoor quality atmospheres, considering building skins and side-views. We also tested the vision perception provided by highly glazed façades. Several Spanish restaurants were analyzed, and two were assessed and measured under outside midday high luminance. The selected pictures can be identified as restaurants via MIT Scene Recognition software and are used to demonstrate working, stressful, and socializing atmospheres. Light and vision detailed analysis was performed defining three workplanes—“table”, “person”, and “outside”—from the viewpoint of the user. The obtained DGP (daylight glare probability) for the first case (facing southeast) shows a higher glare probability than the second (facing north). In both restaurants, there is notable spatial contrast and high information content. If, in the overall perception, the adaptation from the intermediate workplane is considered, the DGP is lower than if only one workplane is considered. The conducted indicative survey shows that there is a high light contrast, and there are some undesirable visual elements. The studied fully glazed façades tend to provide fraught atmospheres. These would be useful for some stimulating activities; however, for calm restaurants that offer tasting menus with quality food, it seems that the studied fully glazed façades may not be suitable. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Review: Improving the Impact of Plant Science on Urban Planning and Design
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 48; doi:10.3390/buildings6040048
Received: 19 August 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2910 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban planning is a vital process in determining the functionality of future cities. It is predicted that at least two thirds of the world’s citizens will reside in towns and cities by the middle of this century, up from one third in the
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Urban planning is a vital process in determining the functionality of future cities. It is predicted that at least two thirds of the world’s citizens will reside in towns and cities by the middle of this century, up from one third in the middle of the previous century. Not only is it essential to provide space for work and dwelling, but also for their well-being. Well-being is inextricably linked with the surrounding environment, and natural landscapes have a potent positive effect. For this reason, the inclusion and management of urban green infrastructure has become a topic of increasing scientific interest. Elements of this infrastructure, including green roofs and façades are of growing importance to operators in each stage of the planning, design and construction process in urban areas. Currently, there is a strong recognition that “green is good”. Despite the positive recognition of urban greenery, and the concerted efforts to include more of it in cities, greater scientific attention is needed to better understand its role in the urban environment. For example, many solutions are cleverly engineered without giving sufficient consideration to the biology of the vegetation that is used. This review contends that whilst “green is good” is a positive mantra to promote the inclusion of urban greenery, there is a significant opportunity to increase the contribution of plant science to the process of urban planning through both green infrastructure, and biomimicry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetics in Sustainable Architectural and Urban Design)
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