Open AccessArticle
On the Use of Vibro-Compressed Units with Bio-Natural Aggregate
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 40; doi:10.3390/buildings6030040 -
Abstract
The paper deals with the use of vibro-compressed units with bio-natural components on construction. The proposed mix design of vibrated blocks consist of cork granules and/or hemp shives, with the aim to substitute polymeric elements or expanded clay, together with the use [...] Read more.
The paper deals with the use of vibro-compressed units with bio-natural components on construction. The proposed mix design of vibrated blocks consist of cork granules and/or hemp shives, with the aim to substitute polymeric elements or expanded clay, together with the use of natural hydraulic lime (NHL) as binder. An experimental campaign is presented, with mechanical tests to evaluate the influence of each component on flexural and compression behavior. The proposal is also investigated from a productive point of view, considering how it can be harmonized in the productive process of lightweight aggregate concrete units without modifications in the productive process. The tested elements could perform a certain reduction of the carbon impact, maintaining interesting mechanical properties. The application of the proposed units in several contexts, as separating elements joined with structural components, is considered to improve rehabilitation or to obtain higher performances in buildings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Numerical Simulation of the Application of Solar Radiant Systems, Internal Airflow and Occupants’ Presence in the Improvement of Comfort in Winter Conditions
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 38; doi:10.3390/buildings6030038 -
Abstract
In this work, the use of numerical simulation in the application of solar radiant systems, internal airflow and occupants’ presence in the improvement of comfort in winter conditions is made. The thermal comfort, the local thermal discomfort and the air quality in [...] Read more.
In this work, the use of numerical simulation in the application of solar radiant systems, internal airflow and occupants’ presence in the improvement of comfort in winter conditions is made. The thermal comfort, the local thermal discomfort and the air quality in an occupied chamber space are evaluated. In the experimental measurements, a wood chamber, a desk, two seats, two seated hygro-thermal manikins, a warm radiant floor, a solar radiation simulator and a water solar collector are used. The air velocity and the air temperature fluctuation are experimentally evaluated around 15 human body sections. The chamber surface temperature is experimentally measured. In the numerical simulation, a coupling human thermal comfort (HTC) integral model, a computational fluids dynamics (CFD) differential model and a building thermal response (BTR) integral model are applied. The human thermal comfort level is evaluated by the HTC numerical model. The airflow inside the virtual chamber, using the k-epsilon and RNG turbulence models, is evaluated by the CFD numerical model. The chamber surface and the collector temperatures are evaluated by the BTR numerical model. In the human thermal comfort level, in non-uniform environments, the predicted mean vote (PMV) and the predicted percentage of dissatisfied (PPD) people are numerically evaluated; in the local thermal discomfort level the draught risk (DR) is experimentally and numerically analyzed; and in the air quality, the carbon dioxide CO2 concentration is numerically calculated. In the validation tests, the experimental and numerical values of the chamber surface temperature, the air temperature, the air velocity, the air turbulence intensity and the DR are presented. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quantifying the Relationship between the Built Environment Attributes and Urban Sustainability Potentials for Housing Areas
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 39; doi:10.3390/buildings6030039 -
Abstract
The Greater Cairo Metropolitan Region (GCMR) in its seeking to sustainable development (SD) by the year of 2050 facing the serious challenge of around 65 percent of Cairenes live in unplanned settlements. In this respect, the authors examined the effect of urban [...] Read more.
The Greater Cairo Metropolitan Region (GCMR) in its seeking to sustainable development (SD) by the year of 2050 facing the serious challenge of around 65 percent of Cairenes live in unplanned settlements. In this respect, the authors examined the effect of urban characteristics of unplanned settlements on SD in the Egyptian context, focusing on the type of unplanned growth on agricultural land. The output of the analysis were fourfold. First of all, we provide a brief overview of previous research on the main types of unplanned settlements in GCMR and the sustainability definition according to the Egyptian context. Secondly, we had a discussion with the local government during our field survey in GCMR to determine the study samples, the main urban characteristics, and the sustainability evaluation criteria in the Egyptian context. Thirdly, through the comparative analysis and geographic information system (GIS), we examined how the character of urban development affected per capita four urban measures in a cross-section of two settlements, one represented the unplanned settlements and other as a comparative planned sample to determine the real gap. Finally, by using the evaluation matrix, the help and block items are estimated for each measure of urban characteristics, providing substantive evidence on how the four measures of urban characteristics have been affected by the urban sprawl. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Thin Films for Advanced Glazing Applications
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 37; doi:10.3390/buildings6030037 -
Abstract
Functional thin films provide many opportunities for advanced glazing systems. This can be achieved by adding additional functionalities such as self-cleaning or power generation, or alternately by providing energy demand reduction through the management or modulation of solar heat gain or blackbody [...] Read more.
Functional thin films provide many opportunities for advanced glazing systems. This can be achieved by adding additional functionalities such as self-cleaning or power generation, or alternately by providing energy demand reduction through the management or modulation of solar heat gain or blackbody radiation using spectrally selective films or chromogenic materials. Self-cleaning materials have been generating increasing interest for the past two decades. They may be based on hydrophobic or hydrophilic systems and are often inspired by nature, for example hydrophobic systems based on mimicking the lotus leaf. These materials help to maintain the aesthetic properties of the building, help to maintain a comfortable working environment and in the case of photocatalytic materials, may provide external pollutant remediation. Power generation through window coatings is a relatively new idea and is based around the use of semi-transparent solar cells as windows. In this fashion, energy can be generated whilst also absorbing some solar heat. There is also the possibility, in the case of dye sensitized solar cells, to tune the coloration of the window that provides unheralded external aesthetic possibilities. Materials and coatings for energy demand reduction is highly desirable in an increasingly energy intensive world. We discuss new developments with low emissivity coatings as the need to replace scarce indium becomes more apparent. We go on to discuss thermochromic systems based on vanadium dioxide films. Such systems are dynamic in nature and present a more sophisticated and potentially more beneficial approach to reducing energy demand than static systems such as low emissivity and solar control coatings. The ability to be able to tune some of the material parameters in order to optimize the film performance for a given climate provides exciting opportunities for future technologies. In this article, we review recent progress and challenges in these areas and provide a perspective for future trends and developments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Assessment of Low-Cost Rural Housing—A Case Study in the Ecuadorian Andes
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 36; doi:10.3390/buildings6030036 -
Abstract
The aim of this research is to assess the indoor thermal performance of rural dwellings in the Ecuadorian highlands through both experimental and numerical analysis. A three-step methodology was applied to conduct the research: (a) field data collection, (b) building thermal model [...] Read more.
The aim of this research is to assess the indoor thermal performance of rural dwellings in the Ecuadorian highlands through both experimental and numerical analysis. A three-step methodology was applied to conduct the research: (a) field data collection, (b) building thermal model development and calibration, and (c) comparison analysis and assessment of traditional improvement strategies. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from two representative rural dwellings under typical usage conditions. The first is a traditional construction, medium-exposed thermal mass dwelling (Case A). The second is a local common, uninsulated, lightweight construction (Case B). The thermal model was calibrated by comparing hourly temperature values of the observed and the predicted indoor air temperature. A high correlation level (R2) was achieved between the observed and predicted data; 0.89 in Case A and 0.94 in Case B. The results show that the roof, floor, and the airtightness are the critical building parameters affecting the indoor thermal environment. Likewise, the indoor air temperature is increased up to 4 °C through the implementation of traditional strategies. However, despite the rise in indoor air temperature, acceptable thermal comfort ranges were only reached for 25% of the total hours. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Urban and Rural—Population and Energy Consumption Dynamics in Local Authorities within England and Wales
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 34; doi:10.3390/buildings6030034 -
Abstract
The formulation of feasible and pragmatic policies that mitigate climate change would require a thorough understanding of the interconnectivity that exists between environment, energy, and the composition of our settlements both urban and rural. This study explores the patterns of energy consumption [...] Read more.
The formulation of feasible and pragmatic policies that mitigate climate change would require a thorough understanding of the interconnectivity that exists between environment, energy, and the composition of our settlements both urban and rural. This study explores the patterns of energy consumption in England and Wales by investigating consumption behavior within domestic and transport sectors as a function of city characteristics, such as population, density, and density distribution for 346 Local Authority Units (LAU). Patterns observed linking energetic behavior of these LAUs to their respective population and area characteristics highlight some distinctly contrasting consumption behaviors within urban and rural zones. This provides an overview of the correlation between urban/rural status, population, and energy consumption and highlights points of interest for further research and policy intervention. The findings show that energy consumption across cities follows common power law scaling increasing sub-linearly with their population regardless of their urban/rural classification. However, when considering per capita and sector specific consumptions, decreasing per capita consumption patterns are observed for growing population densities within more uniformly populated urban LAUs. This is while rural and sparsely populated LAUs exhibit sharply different patterns for gas, electricity, and transport per capita consumption. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Void on Natural Ventilation Performance in Multi-Storey Housing
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 35; doi:10.3390/buildings6030035 -
Abstract
Enhancing natural ventilation performance in multi-storey housing is very important for the living environment in terms of health and thermal comfort purposes. One of the most important design strategies to enhance natural ventilation in multi-storey housing is through the provision of voids. [...] Read more.
Enhancing natural ventilation performance in multi-storey housing is very important for the living environment in terms of health and thermal comfort purposes. One of the most important design strategies to enhance natural ventilation in multi-storey housing is through the provision of voids. A void is a passive architectural feature, which is located in the middle of deep plan buildings. It is very crucial to consider the configurations of voids in the buildings for enhancing natural ventilation, especially for multi-storey housing. In this study, Malaysian Medium Cost Multi-Storey Housing (MMCMSH), which is an example of multi-storey housing located in a suburban area, has been selected in this study. This study aims to investigate the potential of void for enhancing natural ventilation performance in multi-storey housing by the comparison of two different void configurations. Field measurement of MMCMSH has been conducted to validate Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) model and Atmospheric Boundary Layer (ABL) is an important parameter for setting up the CFD Model’s domain. Ventilation rate (Q), which is necessary for comfort and health reasons, is an important parameter for the comparison of the different void configurations. This study revealed that the provision of void can enhance natural ventilation performance in multi-storey housing with an increase in the value of Q, from 3.44% to 40.07%, by enlarging the void’s width by 50% compared to the existing void. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Establishing Priorities for Sustainable Environmental Design in the Rural Villages of Yunnan, China
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 32; doi:10.3390/buildings6030032 -
Abstract
This paper addresses sustainable rural village development in China. Rural development is unlike the process of urbanization in Chinese cities and reflects different land ownership rules and different organizational structures. Even though there are an increasing number of Chinese residents in cities, [...] Read more.
This paper addresses sustainable rural village development in China. Rural development is unlike the process of urbanization in Chinese cities and reflects different land ownership rules and different organizational structures. Even though there are an increasing number of Chinese residents in cities, there are still more than 600 million people living in the countryside. The attention lavished on city development has been, in part, now refocused to rural villages. Since 2006, the support for large-scale investment in the countryside has created much change; however, not all of this change is well organized, with potential for less than optimum impacts on the environment and sustainability. The paper identifies the key influences and drivers from historic and contemporary points of view. The sustainability of the villages will derive from long-term self-sufficiency, and this must include the understanding of environmental design principles, which enable suitable dwelling design. Two villages are taken as contrasting examples, and information derived from other sources is discussed. Technologies and techniques that can help determine environmental design priorities are evaluated and directions for future development suggested. This includes development of a design support aid with key drivers of: orientation and site location, window design and key construction features. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Energy Impact in Buildings of Vegetative Solutions for Extensive Green Roofs in Temperate Climates
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 33; doi:10.3390/buildings6030033 -
Abstract
Many bibliographical studies have highlighted the positive effects of green roofs as technological solutions both for new and renovated buildings. The one-year experimental monitoring campaign conducted has investigated, in detail, some aspects related to the surface temperature variation induced by the presence [...] Read more.
Many bibliographical studies have highlighted the positive effects of green roofs as technological solutions both for new and renovated buildings. The one-year experimental monitoring campaign conducted has investigated, in detail, some aspects related to the surface temperature variation induced by the presence of different types of vegetation compared to traditional finishing systems for flat roofs and their impact from an energy and environmental point of view. The results obtained underlined how an appropriate vegetative solution selection can contribute to a significant reduction of the external surface temperatures (10 °C–20 °C for I > 500 W/m2 and 0 °C–5 °C for I < 500 W/m2, regardless of the season) compared to traditional flat roofs. During the winter season, the thermal gradients of the planted surface temperatures are close to zero compared to the floor, except under special improving conditions. This entails a significant reduction of the energy loads from summer air conditioning, and an almost conservative behavior with respect to that from winter heating consumption. The analysis of the inside growing medium temperatures returned a further interesting datum, too: the temperature gradient with respect to surface temperature (annual average 4 °C–9 °C) is a function of solar radiation and involves the insulating contribution of the soil. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Accordance of Light Scattering from Design and De-Facto Variants of a Daylight Redirecting Component
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 30; doi:10.3390/buildings6030030 -
Abstract
For the systematic development of a small-scale daylight-redirecting louver system the impact of manufacturing on light scattering characteristics has to be quantified, localized and understood. In this research, the accordance of the measured scattering distributions of a de-facto production sample V1 with [...] Read more.
For the systematic development of a small-scale daylight-redirecting louver system the impact of manufacturing on light scattering characteristics has to be quantified, localized and understood. In this research, the accordance of the measured scattering distributions of a de-facto production sample V1 with the computed predictions based on its design geometry V2 are quantified for selected incident light directions. A metric describing the global accordance of distributions is adapted to quantify their overall difference. A novel metric of local accordance allows further analysis. A particular low global accordance between V1 and V2 is found for an incident elevation θi=35. To test the hypothesis that this result can be explained by observed geometric deviations, a simulation model V3 replicating these is compared to the design. The hypothesis is supported by the resulting high degree of accordance. The low local accordance for individual outgoing light directions indicates geometric non-uniformity of the sample V1. This method has been found useful for product development and quality assurance. Beyond their application in the proposed method, global and local accordance have potential applications in all fields of light scattering measurements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Play Provisions for Children in Urban Neighborhoods of India: Case Study Nagpur, Maharashtra
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 31; doi:10.3390/buildings6030031 -
Abstract
The creation of satisfying urban environments calls for the planners, designers and policy makers to understand the structures that cause residents to feel satisfied with their environments. The paper focuses on qualitative aspects of the childrens play spaces in the urban neighborhoods [...] Read more.
The creation of satisfying urban environments calls for the planners, designers and policy makers to understand the structures that cause residents to feel satisfied with their environments. The paper focuses on qualitative aspects of the childrens play spaces in the urban neighborhoods of Nagpur which were analysed with the background of their daily activity schedule survey, their assement of the existing play provisions and their aspirations from their neighborhood environment quality. Apart from these studies, the childrens and their parents perceptions of the quality of urban residential environments was also studied. The literature review gave an extract of relevant attributes of environmental quality (EQ) which became the theoritical basis for the work. The research generates an approach to assessing the child friendliness of our urban neighborhoods, which in certain ways is not even catering to the most fundamental right of the child to play; it also generates a matrix of children’s needs and parameters relevant to Indian context. A theoretical model of the residents satisfaction is also generated which forms the base for the qualitative questionnaire analysis in SPSS 20 with a set of dependent and independent variables which shows the correlation of the resident’s satisfaction with child friendliness of neighborhoods in the Indian context. The regression model and mathematical equation as an outcome of the qualitative analysis was also validated upon two other urban neighborhoods of the city of Nagpur. The research with all its tools used and the approach adopted can help in undertaking such child-centered researches in other cities of India which have their own unique issues and characteristics of urban growth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Importance of Heating System Transient Response in Domestic Energy Labelling
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 29; doi:10.3390/buildings6030029 -
Abstract
European National Calculation Methods (NCM), such as the UK Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), are used to make standardised and simplified assessments of building energy performance. These NCMs contain simplifications to aid ease of use and comparability of resulting Energy Performance Certificates (EPC). [...] Read more.
European National Calculation Methods (NCM), such as the UK Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), are used to make standardised and simplified assessments of building energy performance. These NCMs contain simplifications to aid ease of use and comparability of resulting Energy Performance Certificates (EPC). By comparing SAP with a modern, dynamic modelling system, this study quantifies internal temperatures and thereby heating energy consumption. Results show that for the considered test house SAP results correspond closely to a dynamic model using an idealistic heating system, with perfect control and instant responsiveness. However, the introduction of a dynamic, physically realistic gas fired boiler and water based heating system to the model results in a consistent increase in internal temperature (0.5 °C) and energy demand (by ca. 1000 kWh/a). Variation of further parameters within the dynamic model, controls and heat source size, are presented and compared to SAP results and assumptions. The inclusion of more realistic dynamics in building energy modelling for NCMs may provide a better basis for effective decision making with respect to a wide range of heating systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
City and Building Designers, and Climate Adaptation
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 28; doi:10.3390/buildings6030028 -
Abstract
For cities, climate change is a major concern due to its severe impacts and its inherent complexity. City and building designers could be pivotal actors, but have yet to fully take on this role. Research can support adaptation action through greater collaboration [...] Read more.
For cities, climate change is a major concern due to its severe impacts and its inherent complexity. City and building designers could be pivotal actors, but have yet to fully take on this role. Research can support adaptation action through greater collaboration with practitioners and a better understanding of their knowledge and practices. This paper presents results from a research project undertaken in Toulouse (France) last year. Urban practitioners were consulted through an online survey and observed in action during two design workshops. The findings highlight: (i) the hidden knowledge within design practice; (ii) the importance of providing designers with solution-focused and form-giving data; and (iii) the potential offered by design constraints to trigger changes in the practices of professionals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Thermal Comfort in a Naturally Conditioned Office in a Temperate Climate Zone
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 27; doi:10.3390/buildings6030027 -
Abstract
This study aims to determine the optimal approach for evaluating thermal comfort in an office that uses natural ventilation as the main conditioning strategy; the office is located in Quito-Ecuador. The performance of the adaptive model included in CEN Standard EN15251 and [...] Read more.
This study aims to determine the optimal approach for evaluating thermal comfort in an office that uses natural ventilation as the main conditioning strategy; the office is located in Quito-Ecuador. The performance of the adaptive model included in CEN Standard EN15251 and the traditional PMV model are compared with reports of thermal environment satisfaction surveys presented simultaneously to all occupants of the office to determine which of the two comfort models is most suitable to evaluate the thermal environment. The results indicate that office occupants have developed some degree of adaptation to the climatic conditions of the city where the office is located (which only demands heating operation), and tend to accept and even prefer lower operative temperatures than those considered optimum by applying the PMV model. This is an indication that occupants of naturally conditioned buildings are usually able to match their comfort temperature to their normal environment. Therefore, the application of the adaptive model included in CEN Standard EN15251 seems like the optimal approach for evaluating thermal comfort in naturally conditioned buildings, because it takes into consideration the adaptive principle that indicates that if a change occurs such as to produce discomfort, people tend to react in ways which restore their comfort. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Influence of Light Shelf Geometry Parameters on Daylight Performance and Visual Comfort, a Case Study of Educational Space in Tehran, Iran
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 26; doi:10.3390/buildings6030026 -
Abstract
Daylight can be considered as one of the most important principles of sustainable architecture. It is unfortunate that this is neglected by designers in Tehran, a city that benefits from a significant amount of daylight and many clear sunny days during the [...] Read more.
Daylight can be considered as one of the most important principles of sustainable architecture. It is unfortunate that this is neglected by designers in Tehran, a city that benefits from a significant amount of daylight and many clear sunny days during the year. Using a daylight controller system increases space natural light quality and decreases building lighting consumption by 60%. It also affects building thermal behavior, because most of them operate as shading. The light shelf is one of the passive systems for controlling daylight, mostly used with shading and installed in the upper half of the windows above eye level. The influence of light shelf parameters, such as its dimensions, shelf rotation angle and orientation on daylight efficiency and visual comfort in educational spaces is investigated in this article. Daylight simulation software and annual analysis based on climate information during space occupation hours were used. The results show that light shelf dimensions, as well as different orientations, especially in southern part, are influential in the distribution of natural light and visual comfort. At the southern orientation, increased light shelf dimensions result in an increase of the area of the work plane with suitable daylight levels by 2%–40% and a significant decrease in disturbing and intolerable glare hours. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimization of Natural Ventilation of “Yinzi” Dwellings in Western Hunan Based on Orthogonal Experiment and CFD
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 25; doi:10.3390/buildings6030025 -
Abstract
The unique architectural style of traditional “Yinzi” dwellings in Western Hunan, China, needs to be protected and their natural ventilation of patio space should also be promoted. Therefore, this study aimed at finding out the natural ventilation values and limitations of “Yinzi” [...] Read more.
The unique architectural style of traditional “Yinzi” dwellings in Western Hunan, China, needs to be protected and their natural ventilation of patio space should also be promoted. Therefore, this study aimed at finding out the natural ventilation values and limitations of “Yinzi” dwellings as well as designing an optimum ventilation strategy for such dwellings. In this work, the thermal environment of a typical “Yinzi” dwelling was tested. The two patios and living room space of “Yinzi” dwellings was selected for a quantitative analysis, and CFD software was adopted to simulate the stack effect of different patio proportions under the same static wind environment conditions. In addition, an orthogonal experiment is combined with CFD simulation to explore the best proportion and position of patio of “Yinzi” dwellings. A final optimum ventilation strategy is provided for the “Yinzi” dwellings, which can significantly promote the natural stack effect of “Yinzi” dwellings in summer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Norwegian Pitched Roof Defects
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 24; doi:10.3390/buildings6020024 -
Abstract
The building constructions investigated in this work are pitched wooden roofs with exterior vertical drainpipes and wooden load-bearing system. The aim of this research is to further investigate the building defects of pitched wooden roofs and obtain an overview of typical roof [...] Read more.
The building constructions investigated in this work are pitched wooden roofs with exterior vertical drainpipes and wooden load-bearing system. The aim of this research is to further investigate the building defects of pitched wooden roofs and obtain an overview of typical roof defects. The work involves an analysis of the building defect archive from the research institute SINTEF Building and Infrastructure. The findings from the SINTEF archive show that moisture is a dominant exposure factor, especially in roof constructions. In pitched wooden roofs, more than half of the defects are caused by deficiencies in design, materials, or workmanship, where these deficiencies allow moisture from precipitation or indoor moisture into the structure. Hence, it is important to increase the focus on robust and durable solutions to avoid defects both from exterior and interior moisture sources in pitched wooden roofs. Proper design of interior ventilation and vapour retarders seem to be the main ways to control entry from interior moisture sources into attic and roof spaces. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Application of a New Dynamic Heating System Model Using a Range of Common Control Strategies
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 23; doi:10.3390/buildings6020023 -
Abstract
This research investigates the overall heating energy consumptions using various control strategies, secondary heat emitters, and primary plant for a building. Previous research has successfully demonstrated that a dynamic distributed heat emitter model embedded within a simplified third-order lumped parameter building model [...] Read more.
This research investigates the overall heating energy consumptions using various control strategies, secondary heat emitters, and primary plant for a building. Previous research has successfully demonstrated that a dynamic distributed heat emitter model embedded within a simplified third-order lumped parameter building model is capable of achieving improved results when compared to other commercially available modelling tools. With the enhanced ability to capture transient effects of emitter thermal capacity, this research studies the influence of control strategies and primary plant configurations on the rate of energy consumption of a heating system. Four alternative control strategies are investigated: zone feedback; weather-compensated; a combination of both of these methods; and thermostatic control. The plant alternative configurations consist of conventional boilers, biomass boilers, and heat pumps supporting radiator heating and underfloor heating. The performance of the model is tested on a primary school building and can be applied to any residential or commercial building with a heating system. Results show that the new methods reported offer greater detail and rigor in the conduct of building energy modelling. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Variation of Thermochromic Glazing Systems Transition Temperature, Hysteresis Gradient and Width Effect on Energy Efficiency
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 22; doi:10.3390/buildings6020022 -
Abstract
Due to increasing pressure to reduce the energy demand in buildings, thermochromic thin film based glazing has become a recognized potential solution due to the intrinsic ability to modulate the solar heat gain of a window as a function of the materials [...] Read more.
Due to increasing pressure to reduce the energy demand in buildings, thermochromic thin film based glazing has become a recognized potential solution due to the intrinsic ability to modulate the solar heat gain of a window as a function of the materials temperature. These “intelligent” glazings have been investigated for several years, and it has been found that, through variation of synthetic route, the thermochromic properties (transition temperature, hysteresis gradient and width) can be altered; however, less attention has been applied to how such alterations affect the overall energy savings attributed to the materials. In this study the building simulation software EnergyPlus TM has been used to model a series of idealized thermochromic spectra in a series of different environments to evaluate their energy saving potential against both clear glass systems and industry standards. The idealized spectra are used to see what effect each of the materials thermochromic properties and therefore elucidate which are the most important with respect to the energy saving properties. It was found that the best thermochromic materials were those with a narrow sharp hysteresis and a low transition temperature and result in an increase in energy saving between 30%–45% across the different environments compared to clear glass systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Investigation into Energy Performance with the Integrated Usage of a Courtyard and Atrium
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 21; doi:10.3390/buildings6020021 -
Abstract
Offices and retail spaces are among the most energy-intensive building typologies. Designing office buildings without proper consideration of their form, orientation, envelope, and other variables can lead to a considerable increase in energy usage. This research investigates how integrated usage of an [...] Read more.
Offices and retail spaces are among the most energy-intensive building typologies. Designing office buildings without proper consideration of their form, orientation, envelope, and other variables can lead to a considerable increase in energy usage. This research investigates how integrated usage of an atrium and courtyard can improve a building’s energy performance. Thermal performance of both atrium and courtyard spaces as well as their energy-efficient integrated usage in office buildings have been investigated within the scope of this research. DesignBuilder as an interface and EnergyPlus (based on ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) as analytical software have been used to investigate the thermal behavior of an atrium and courtyard in two stages. From the results it appeared that a courtyard with 40% window-to-wall ratio and triple glazing has the best energy performance, while those with single glazing and an 80% window-to-wall ratio represent maximum energy consumption in all climates. The findings also revealed that the integrated usage of a courtyard and atrium can save energy if it is used as a courtyard type of building during summer in all climates and if it is used as an atrium in the cold months. This research is original and will contribute to the literature, as it investigates the integrated usage of an atrium and courtyard with respect to energy efficiency. This research is expected to be beneficial to professionals and academics, especially with respect to the energy-efficient use of courtyards, atria, and their integrated modes. Furthermore, the findings can contribute to the sustainability performance of the built environment through an integrated atrium-courtyard building, resulting in minimal energy consumption. Full article