Buildings2014, 4(4), 978-1000; doi:10.3390/buildings4040978 (registering DOI) - published 28 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A reliable procedure to identify the dynamic behaviour of existing masonry buildings is described in the paper, referring to a representative case study: a historical masonry palace located in Benevento (Italy). Since the building has been equipped with a permanent dynamic monitoring system by the Department of Civil Protection, some of the recorded data, acquired in various operating conditions, have been analysed with basic instruments of the Operational Modal Analysis in order to identify the main eigenfrequencies and vibration modes of the structure. The obtained experimental results have been compared to the numerical outcomes provided by three detailed Finite Element (FE) models of the building. The influence of Soil-Structure Interaction (SSI) has been also introduced in the FE model by a sub-structure approach where concentrated springs were placed at the base of the building to simulate the effect of soil and foundation on the global dynamic behaviour of the structure. The obtained results evidence that subsoil cannot a priori be disregarded in identifying the dynamic response of the building.
Abstract: In this paper, I study how a housing project is designed and show the architects in conversation with the residents talking about living in a community with lower impact, to reveal different conceptual understandings of building technologies and systems within the home. In this account, it can be seen that building systems and technologies become entangled with dwelling, patterns of living and maintenance scenarios on a housing estate. Shown are several ways that these design interactions can be considered pedagogic and transformative. It is proposed that similar events between architects and users are established in the design stage for other building types and for more of the UK housing stock.
Abstract: Finding cost-optimal solutions towards nearly-zero energy buildings in accordance with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is a challenging task. In order to reach the 20-20-20 targets, EU energy policy has introduced new ambitious levels for the large-scale spread of nearly-zero energy buildings (nZEBs) and the concept of the cost-optimal level, defined as the energy performance level, which leads to the lowest cost during the estimated economic lifecycle of the building. Consequently, building design has begun a challenge involving both energy targets and economic concerns. The aim of this research is to analyze an example building of a new single family house, using the cost-optimal methodology, in order to define how energy and economic aspects influence the preliminary design phase of the project and, in particular, the choice of the performance features of some components of the project itself, such as envelope elements and systems. The impact on energy performances of different configurations for the building envelope and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems was assessed with the dynamic simulation software EnergyPlus. Finally, the costs of the different design scenarios were estimated, according to the European Standard EN 15459:2007 to establish which of them had the lowest global cost and, consequently, represents the cost-optimal level for the design configurations analyzed. In order to test the stability of the results obtained, different sensitivity analyses were carried out.
Abstract: A three-year research project explored the evolving level of “building expertise” for low-carbon housing refurbishment in the UK and France. With a focus on “middle actors” and the evolution of professional practice, this paper reports on “middle-out” responses from the housing retrofit supply chain to top-down policies promoting low-energy retrofits of existing homes. The two countries have comparable long-term policy goals for CO2 emissions reduction, but there are important differences between their more immediate initiatives to achieve a step-change in activity in the housing retrofit market. Industry responses to these various policy signals were explored in a series of semi-structured interviews with builders involved in innovative, low-energy refurbishment projects. Drawing mainly on four case studies of innovative business models, the paper highlights innovative practices and processes being proposed and trialled by “middle actors” in the building industry. We describe middle-out implications of these innovative practices: upstream to policy makers, downstream to clients, and sideways across refurbishment providers and the retrofit supply chain.
Abstract: The design of smart homes, buildings and environments currently suffers from a low maturity of available methodologies and tools. Technologies, devices and protocols strongly bias the design process towards vertical integration, and more flexible solutions based on separation of design concerns are seldom applied. As a result, the current landscape of smart environments is mostly populated by defectively designed solutions where application requirements (e.g., end-user functionality) are too often mixed and intertwined with technical requirements (e.g., managing the network of devices). A mature and effective design process must, instead, rely on a clear separation between the application layer and the underlying enabling technologies, to enable effective design reuse. The role of smart gateways is to enable this separation of concerns and to provide an abstracted view of available automation technology to higher software layers. This paper presents a blueprint for the information technology (IT) architecture of smart buildings that builds on top of established software engineering practices, such as model-driven development and semantic representation, and that avoids many pitfalls inherent in legacy approaches. The paper will also present a representative use case where the approach has been applied and the corresponding modeling and software tools.
Abstract: Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the process of structuring, capturing, creating, and managing a digital representation of physical and/or functional characteristics of a built space . Current BIM has limited ability to represent dynamic semantics, social information, often failing to consider building activity, behavior and context; thus limiting integration with intelligent, built-environment management systems. Research, such as the development of Semantic Exchange Modules, and/or the linking of IFC with semantic web structures, demonstrates the need for building models to better support complex semantic functionality. To implement model semantics effectively, however, it is critical that model designers consider semantic information constructs. This paper discusses semantic models with relation to determining the most suitable information structure. We demonstrate how semantic rigidity can lead to significant long-term problems that can contribute to model failure. A sufficiently detailed feasibility study is advised to maximize the value from the semantic model. In addition we propose a set of questions, to be used during a model’s feasibility study, and guidelines to help assess the most suitable method for managing semantics in a built environment.