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Buildings, Volume 8, Issue 1 (January 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The actual energy consumption and simulated energy performance of a building usually differ. This [...] Read more.
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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Buildings in 2017
Buildings 2018, 8(1), 8; doi:10.3390/buildings8010008
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 9 January 2018
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Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Buildings maintains high quality standards for its published papers.[...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle Public Initiatives of Settlement Transformation: A Theoretical-Methodological Approach to Selecting Tools of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis
Buildings 2018, 8(1), 1; doi:10.3390/buildings8010001
Received: 3 August 2017 / Revised: 9 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 December 2017 / Published: 22 December 2017
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Abstract
In Europe, the operating context in which initiatives of settlement transformation are currently initiated is characterized by a complex, elaborate combination of technical, regulatory and governance-related factors. A similar set of considerations makes it necessary to address the complex decision-making problems to be
[...] Read more.
In Europe, the operating context in which initiatives of settlement transformation are currently initiated is characterized by a complex, elaborate combination of technical, regulatory and governance-related factors. A similar set of considerations makes it necessary to address the complex decision-making problems to be resolved through multidisciplinary, comparative approaches designed to rationalize the process and treat the elements to be considered in systematic fashion with respect to the range of alternatives available as solutions. Within a context defined in this manner, decision-making processes must often be used to obtain multidisciplinary and multidimensional analyses to support the choices made by the decision-makers. Such analyses are carried out using multi-criteria tools designed to arrive at syntheses of the numerous forms of input data needed to describe decision-making problems of similar complexity, so that one or more outcomes of the synthesis make possible informed, well thought-out, strategic decisions. The technical literature on the topic proposes numerous tools of multi-criteria analysis for application in different decision-making contexts. Still, no specific contributions have been drawn up to date on the approach to take in selecting the tool best suited to providing adequate responses to the queries of evaluation that arise most frequently in the various fields of application, and especially in the settlement sector. The objective of this paper is to propose, by formulating a taxonomy of the endogenous and exogenous variables of tools of multi-criteria analysis, a methodology capable of selecting the tool best suited to the queries of evaluation which arise regarding the chief categories of decision-making problems, and particularly in the settlement sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
Open AccessArticle Effect of Surface Modifications of Recycled Concrete Aggregate on Concrete Properties
Buildings 2018, 8(1), 2; doi:10.3390/buildings8010002
Received: 25 November 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 24 December 2017 / Published: 26 December 2017
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Abstract
The experiment aims to test the specific way of producing concrete with recycled concrete aggregate (RCA). To reduce its negative impact on the concrete properties, two different ways of treatment of the RCA with geopolymer slurry were applied—coating during the mixing using the
[...] Read more.
The experiment aims to test the specific way of producing concrete with recycled concrete aggregate (RCA). To reduce its negative impact on the concrete properties, two different ways of treatment of the RCA with geopolymer slurry were applied—coating during the mixing using the specific mixing approach and coating prior to the mixing of concrete. As control samples, a mixture prepared by natural aggregate only and a mixture with RCA that was prepared by standard mixing with no coating process were tested as well. The results of density, total water absorption, and compressive strength in periods of 28, 90, 180, and 365 days of curing are presented and evaluated. Both methods of coating of the RCA with geopolymer slurry allow for the preparation of concrete with properties comparable to those of normal concrete (prepared by standard mixing with natural aggregate); thus, it seems to be a promising way to enhance the rate of RCA application. The positive effect of coating is clearly visible after a longer period of curing (180 days). When comparing the methods of RCA coating, coating directly during the mixing yields somewhat better results; it is also positive from the technological point of view, since the process is simpler in practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Iwan as a Traditional Shading Device on the Building Energy Consumption
Buildings 2018, 8(1), 3; doi:10.3390/buildings8010003
Received: 11 October 2017 / Revised: 5 December 2017 / Accepted: 6 December 2017 / Published: 27 December 2017
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Abstract
In this paper, the effect of an exterior shading element (Iwan) on energy consumption in four different climatic regions and for different orientations, has been investigated numerically and experimentally. By applying different materials and techniques and creating various elements and spaces, architects make
[...] Read more.
In this paper, the effect of an exterior shading element (Iwan) on energy consumption in four different climatic regions and for different orientations, has been investigated numerically and experimentally. By applying different materials and techniques and creating various elements and spaces, architects make hard climatic conditions more tolerable for residents. Iwan is one of the cooling elements which is used in different forms and dimensions in the Islamic architecture. In the present research, Iwan has been introduced as a climatic element in traditional and contemporary architectures and its role in reducing the energy consumption in buildings has been studied. In this respect, first, the thermal loads of a building without Iwan are computed using the EnergyPlus software. Then, four different forms of Iwan are added to the above-mentioned structure along the four principal orientations, moreover, the effect of Iwan on the reduction of thermal loads is analyzed for four different climates. Finally, the design parameters of Iwan, in terms of depth and form, which can help reduce the thermal loads in different climatic conditions are presented. The results show that the best position for using an Iwan is the south direction and the use of Iwan in temperate & humid, hot & humid, cold & mountainous and hot & dry climates could reduce the energy consumption in buildings by 32%, 26%, 14% and 29%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Approaches to Achieving Building Energy Efficiency)
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Open AccessArticle The Botica or Apothecary in the Monastery of San Lorenzo el Real de El Escorial (Madrid, Spain): Written Sources, Historic Drawings, and New Surveys Applied to Architectural Analysis
Buildings 2018, 8(1), 4; doi:10.3390/buildings8010004
Received: 14 November 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 22 December 2017 / Published: 8 January 2018
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Abstract
Though there are a great number of studies of the Monastery of El Escorial, the surrounding buildings built in the 16th century have gone almost unnoticed. Among them, the Botica or Apothecary was designed by a disciple of Juan de Herrera and still
[...] Read more.
Though there are a great number of studies of the Monastery of El Escorial, the surrounding buildings built in the 16th century have gone almost unnoticed. Among them, the Botica or Apothecary was designed by a disciple of Juan de Herrera and still arouses interest for several reasons. Firstly, because it composes an outstanding closure to the Monastery’s main building and the surrounding Lonja, while at the same time it connects other neighbouring buildings; secondly, because the surviving documents about its history, uses, and construction processes had not then been studied; and thirdly, because there was no accurate survey permitting an in-depth study of its materials, construction methods, and techniques. We based our research on the information in archive documents, on the study of an outstanding set of ancient drawings, and on the production of a new survey. As a first step, we drew the first set of accurate plans of the building. From this base we undertook the essential formal, functional, and constructive analysis. We also put forward and confirmed the main hypotheses about the building’s chronology and the stages of its construction. Finally, we analysed the conservation works that were carried out facing the two main risks of termite attacks and weathering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Built Heritage: Conservation vs. Emergencies)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle An Investigation of Thermal Comfort and Adaptive Behaviors in Naturally Ventilated Residential Buildings in Tropical Climates: A Pilot Study
Buildings 2018, 8(1), 5; doi:10.3390/buildings8010005
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 20 December 2017 / Accepted: 2 January 2018 / Published: 3 January 2018
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Abstract
This article presents a pilot study of thermal comfort and adaptive behaviors of occupants who live in naturally ventilated dormitories at the campus of the National University of Singapore. A longitudinal survey and field measurement were conducted to measure thermal comfort, adaptive behaviors
[...] Read more.
This article presents a pilot study of thermal comfort and adaptive behaviors of occupants who live in naturally ventilated dormitories at the campus of the National University of Singapore. A longitudinal survey and field measurement were conducted to measure thermal comfort, adaptive behaviors and indoor environment qualities. This study revealed that occupants living in naturally ventilated buildings in tropics were exposed to higher operative temperatures than what American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) comfort standards recommend for naturally conditioned spaces. However, they still felt that such conditions were acceptable. Two behavioral adjustments were found to have profound impacts on occupants’ acceptance of the imposed heat stresses: (1) increasing the indoor air velocity by turning on mechanical fans and opening the door/windows for cross ventilation, and (2) reducing clothing insulation by changing clothes and dressing in fewer clothes. Higher indoor air velocities were also associated with greater satisfaction with indoor air quality. The future study should develop a statistical model to correlate adaptive behaviors with temperature variations for tropical climates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Factors in Green Building)
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Open AccessArticle Critical Delaying Factors: Public Sector Building Projects in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan
Buildings 2018, 8(1), 6; doi:10.3390/buildings8010006
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 25 December 2017 / Accepted: 2 January 2018 / Published: 3 January 2018
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Abstract
Project delays are a large and prevalent problem in the Gilgit-Baltistan construction industry, and delays can distinctly affect project duration, budget, and also community needs. The purpose of this study is to highlight and rank delaying factors in the Annual Development Programme public
[...] Read more.
Project delays are a large and prevalent problem in the Gilgit-Baltistan construction industry, and delays can distinctly affect project duration, budget, and also community needs. The purpose of this study is to highlight and rank delaying factors in the Annual Development Programme public sector building infrastructure projects and examine them through a relative importance index. A total of 52 delaying factors were identified through a detailed literature review and categorized into eight major groups, and a pilot study with 16 experienced construction experts was conducted. A questionnaire survey was conducted to collect the importance of each factor from public construction experts. In total, 102 respondents participated in the survey. The study determined that difficulties in financing projects by contractors, delays in progress payments, dispute on land usage, improper project feasibility studies, award project to the lowest bid price, extreme weather conditions, inadequate contractor experience, and insufficient data collection and survey before design were among the top eight critical delaying factors. In addition, Spearman’s rank correlation tests revealed that there was no difference in perception between owners and contractors. A comparison of the top five delay factors was done with eight preferred construction industries in Asia to validate the results of this study. The findings are likely to be a solid contribution to the Gilgit-Baltistan construction industry in mitigating future construction delays. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Calcium Extraction from Blast-Furnace-Slag-Based Mortars in Sulphate Bacterial Medium
Buildings 2018, 8(1), 9; doi:10.3390/buildings8010009
Received: 23 November 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
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Abstract
Wastewater structures, such as treatment plants or sewers can be easily affected by bio-corrosion influenced by microorganisms living in waste water. The activity of these microbes results in deterioration and can cause the reduction in structural performance of such structures. In order to
[...] Read more.
Wastewater structures, such as treatment plants or sewers can be easily affected by bio-corrosion influenced by microorganisms living in waste water. The activity of these microbes results in deterioration and can cause the reduction in structural performance of such structures. In order to improve the durability of mortar and concrete, different admixtures are being used and the best impact is observed in cement based materials combined with blast furnace slag. In this study, mortar samples with blast furnace slag were exposed to bacterial sulphate attack for 90 and 180 days. The leaching of calcium ions from the cement matrix and equivalent damaged depths of studied mortar samples were evaluated. The results showed more significant leaching of samples placed in bacterial environment, compared to the samples placed in non-bacterial environment. Similarly, the equivalent damaged depths of mortars were much higher for the bacteria-influenced samples. The slag-based cement mortars did not clearly show improved resistance in bacterial medium in terms of calcium leaching. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Materials)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Adsorption Kinetic Parameters of Co2+ Ions by α-C2SH
Buildings 2018, 8(1), 10; doi:10.3390/buildings8010010
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 15 January 2018
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Abstract
In this work, the kinetic parameters of Co2+ ion adsorption by α-C2SH were determined. α-C2SH was synthesized under hydrothermal conditions at 175 °C, when the duration of isothermal curing was 24 h and the molar ratio of primary
[...] Read more.
In this work, the kinetic parameters of Co2+ ion adsorption by α-C2SH were determined. α-C2SH was synthesized under hydrothermal conditions at 175 °C, when the duration of isothermal curing was 24 h and the molar ratio of primary mixture was CaO/SiO2 = 1.5. This research allows us to state that the adsorption reactions proceed according to the chemisorption process. In order to determine adsorption kinetic parameters, kinetics models have been developed and fitted for these reactions. Additionally, it was determined that adsorbed Co2+ ions have a significant influence on the stability of α-C2SH. These results were confirmed by XRD, STA, and atomic absorption spectroscopy methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Building Energy Assessment and Computer Simulation Applied to Social Housing in Spain
Buildings 2018, 8(1), 11; doi:10.3390/buildings8010011
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 15 December 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
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Abstract
The actual energy consumption and simulated energy performance of a building usually differ. This gap widens in social housing, owing to the characteristics of these buildings and the consumption patterns of economically vulnerable households affected by energy poverty. The aim of this work
[...] Read more.
The actual energy consumption and simulated energy performance of a building usually differ. This gap widens in social housing, owing to the characteristics of these buildings and the consumption patterns of economically vulnerable households affected by energy poverty. The aim of this work is to characterise the energy poverty of the households that are representative of those residing in social housing, specifically in blocks of apartments in Southern Europe. The main variables that affect energy consumption and costs are analysed, and the models developed for software energy-performance simulations (which are applied to predict energy consumption in social housing) are validated against actual energy-consumption values. The results demonstrate that this type of household usually lives in surroundings at a temperature below the average thermal comfort level. We have taken into account that a standard thermal comfort level may lead to significant differences between computer-aided energy building simulation and actual consumption data (which are 40–140% lower than simulated consumption). This fact is of integral importance, as we use computer simulation to predict building energy performance in social housing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle HBIM and Virtual Tools: A New Chance to Preserve Architectural Heritage
Buildings 2018, 8(1), 12; doi:10.3390/buildings8010012
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
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Abstract
Nowadays, architectural heritage is increasingly exposed to dangers due to natural disasters or human invasive actions. However, management and conservation represent crucial phases within the life cycle of historical buildings. Unfortunately, the complexity of conservation practices and the lack of knowledge of historic
[...] Read more.
Nowadays, architectural heritage is increasingly exposed to dangers due to natural disasters or human invasive actions. However, management and conservation represent crucial phases within the life cycle of historical buildings. Unfortunately, the complexity of conservation practices and the lack of knowledge of historic buildings are the cause of an inefficient recovering process in case of emergencies. To overcome this problem, this research aims to ensure the preservation of relevant information through the use of building information modeling (BIM) methodology. By developing historic building information models (HBIMs), it is possible to enhance the architectural heritage. This represents an opportunity to incorporate digital media into the global heritage conservation field. To achieve this goal, a historical castle was selected as a case study; this unique piece of architecture is located in the Piedmont Region, close to city of Turin (Italy). The results show a direct relation between a historical digital model, finalized to the management of architectural and system components, and visualization tools. To conclude, the adoption of this strategy is an effective way to preserve and consult information using advanced visualization techniques based on augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Built Heritage: Conservation vs. Emergencies)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview The Sustainability of Tall Building Developments: A Conceptual Framework
Buildings 2018, 8(1), 7; doi:10.3390/buildings8010007
Received: 26 November 2017 / Revised: 24 December 2017 / Accepted: 3 January 2018 / Published: 5 January 2018
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Abstract
As cities cope with rapid population growth—adding 2.5 billion dwellers by 2050—and grapple with expansive sprawl, politicians, planners, and architects have become increasingly interested in the vertical city paradigm. This paper reviews and examines shortfalls of tall buildings found in the literature to
[...] Read more.
As cities cope with rapid population growth—adding 2.5 billion dwellers by 2050—and grapple with expansive sprawl, politicians, planners, and architects have become increasingly interested in the vertical city paradigm. This paper reviews and examines shortfalls of tall buildings found in the literature to inform future developments. The paper gathers a vast amount of fragmented criticism and concerns, and organizes them around the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental. Mapping out the “unsustainable” aspects forms the foundation for addressing them in future research and tall building developments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Vertical Urbanism)
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