Open AccessArticle
An Introduction to a Novel and Rapid nZEB Skill-Mapping and Qualification Framework Methodology
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 107; doi:10.3390/buildings7040107 -
Abstract
Successful design and construction processes aiming towards nearly zero energy building (nZEB) standards are a challenge for the whole construction industry in Europe. Realizing nZEB buildings requires innovative design processes, and technologies based on an integrated design approach facilitated by multidisciplinary work teams.
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Successful design and construction processes aiming towards nearly zero energy building (nZEB) standards are a challenge for the whole construction industry in Europe. Realizing nZEB buildings requires innovative design processes, and technologies based on an integrated design approach facilitated by multidisciplinary work teams. The collaboration between architects, engineers, technical experts and building managers, is essential. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the specific involvement of each profession in order to develop mutual understanding of each others’ disciplines. Additionally, it is vital to provide professionals with the skills needed to achieve optimal nZEB construction and retrofitting in terms of quality, energy efficiency and cost effectiveness. However, this approach is not yet common, as the building sector is still very fragmented. The EU-funded H2020 project PROF/TRAC aims to tackle this issue by developing an Open Training Platform and a methodology for fast and valid co-creation of interdisciplinary qualification schemes for task-based Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for all professions involved. A common methodology for the mapping of skills and qualifications in the form of an Excel tool was developed as a basis, together with a guidance document. This paper presents the skill-mapping methodology, the use of its results to develop national roadmaps, and the BUILD UP Skills advisor app. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Directional Seismic Assessment of Historical Masonry Buildings by Means of Macro-Element Modelling: Application to a Building Damaged during the L’Aquila Earthquake (Italy)
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 106; doi:10.3390/buildings7040106 -
Abstract
The experience of the recent earthquakes in Italy caused a shocking impact in terms of loss of human life and damage in buildings. In particular, when it comes to ancient constructions, their cultural and historical value overlaps with the economic and social one.
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The experience of the recent earthquakes in Italy caused a shocking impact in terms of loss of human life and damage in buildings. In particular, when it comes to ancient constructions, their cultural and historical value overlaps with the economic and social one. Among the historical structures, churches have been the object of several studies which identified the main characteristics of the seismic response and the most probable collapse mechanisms. More rarely, academic studies have been devoted to ancient palaces, since they often exhibit irregular and complicated arrangement of the resisting elements, which makes their response very difficult to predict. In this paper, a palace located in L’Aquila, severely damaged by the seismic event of 2009 is the object of an accurate study. A historical reconstruction of the past strengthening interventions as well as a detailed geometric relief is performed to implement detailed numerical models of the structure. Both global and local models are considered and static nonlinear analyses are performed considering the influence of the input direction on the seismic vulnerability of the building. The damage pattern predicted by the numerical models is compared with that observed after the earthquake. The seismic vulnerability assessments are performed in terms of ultimate peak ground acceleration (PGA) using capacity curves and the Italian code spectrum. The results are compared in terms of ultimate ductility demand evaluated performing nonlinear dynamic analyses considering the actual registered seismic input of L’Aquila earthquake. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Data Commercialisation: Extracting Value from Smart Buildings
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 104; doi:10.3390/buildings7040104 -
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to explore the current state of data commercialisation and external distribution in the Finnish real estate and construction (REC) sector. We focus on how companies could more effectively benefit from digitalisation, with more holistic utilisation of data
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The purpose of this paper is to explore the current state of data commercialisation and external distribution in the Finnish real estate and construction (REC) sector. We focus on how companies could more effectively benefit from digitalisation, with more holistic utilisation of data from smart buildings. We assess the current state of data utilisation and distribution using a start-up company analysis and industry workshops. According to our research, the data from smart buildings is gathered on a large scale but very seldom distributed outside company borders. The reason for this almost non-existent external data distribution is the lack of value of the external data. As a solution, we propose the Internet of Buildings framework. The framework is based on a platform ecosystem model that is complemented with data commercialisation roles. It takes into account the current data-related opportunities and challenges in the sector. Within the framework, we suggest stakeholder roles and modes of interaction that promote value creation from smart building data. The framework can be used as a starting point for developing data commercialisation and external data distribution in the sector. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
EU Support for Innovation and Market Uptake in Smart Buildings under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 105; doi:10.3390/buildings7040105 -
Abstract
At the end of November 2016, the European Commission tabled the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, which represents a large set of proposals for several key directives related to energy. The package included proposed revisions to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
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At the end of November 2016, the European Commission tabled the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, which represents a large set of proposals for several key directives related to energy. The package included proposed revisions to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) which seek to update and streamline the Directive in several areas, including provisions to ensure buildings operate efficiently by encouraging the uptake of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and smart technologies. Although it can be argued that there is at present no commonly accepted definition of a “smart building”, the Commission’s proposed revision refers to three key features of a possible indicator of “smartness” in buildings: the technological readiness of a building to (1) interact with its occupants; (2) to interact with the grid; and (3) to manage itself efficiently. Using these three pillars of “smartness” as a methodological starting point, this paper identifies and analyses recent and ongoing Horizon 2020 research, innovation and market uptake projects which are investigating “smart buildings”. The research maps and examines the tasks, scope and innovations in areas that include building automation and control systems, demand response, energy management, ICT and user interfaces for energy efficiency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Integrated Participative Spatial Decision Support System for Smart Energy Urban Scenarios: A Financial and Economic Approach
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 103; doi:10.3390/buildings7040103 -
Abstract
The decision-making process regarding heating supply system options in a district perspective is extremely challenging. This paper aims to present a new method to support urban energy decisions in real-time processes, which was developed in the context of a European project (DIMMER (District
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The decision-making process regarding heating supply system options in a district perspective is extremely challenging. This paper aims to present a new method to support urban energy decisions in real-time processes, which was developed in the context of a European project (DIMMER (District Information Modeling and Management for Energy Reduction, 2013–2016)). The method is composed of three parts: (i) a new web-based spatial decision support system (SDSS), called “Dashboard”; (ii) an ad hoc energy-attribute analysis (EAA) tool to be integrated into Dashboard; and (iii) a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). In contrast to other SDSSs, one of the main strengths of Dashboard is the ability to acquire, store, and manage both geo-referenced and non-geo-referenced data, and perform real-time analyses of spatial problems taking into account a wide range of information. In this sense, Dashboard can formally visualize and assess a potentially infinite number of attributes and information, as it is able to read and process very large web databases. This characteristic makes Dashboard a very effective tool that can be used in real-time during focus groups or workshops to understand how the criterion trade-offs evolve when one, or several, decision parameters change. The paper describes the main procedure of the new method and testing of Dashboard test on a district in Turin (Italy). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
External Wall Insulation (EWI): Engaging Social Tenants in Energy Efficiency Retrofitting in the North East of England
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 102; doi:10.3390/buildings7040102 -
Abstract
The question of how best to tackle the problem of energy inefficient older housing in the UK is considerable, and is further complicated by the question of tenure. Social landlords are working to update and improve their properties, which make up around 15%
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The question of how best to tackle the problem of energy inefficient older housing in the UK is considerable, and is further complicated by the question of tenure. Social landlords are working to update and improve their properties, which make up around 15% of the total UK housing stock (4 million properties). The success of such efficiency improvements depends in part on the cooperation of tenants, and their ability and willingness to engage with the process of change. This paper describes the experiences of eleven social housing tenant households whose properties were fitted with External Wall Insulation (EWI), based on pre- and post-installation interviews and data collection. It includes discussion of tenants’ knowledge, attitudes, and expectations prior to and following installation; household thermal comfort and energy spending before installation; tenant experiences of having EWI installed; tenant perceptions regarding the effects of EWI on thermal comfort, energy spending, and housing attractiveness; impacts of EWI on internal temperatures and heat loss (measured via thermal imaging); energy bill comparisons. Households experienced an average saving of 33% on energy bills following EWI installation, and the majority of tenants reported benefits including improved thermal comfort and related positive impacts on health and wellbeing. The paper concludes by highlighting potential learning points for engaging tenants in the process of enhancing energy efficiency in UK social rented housing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Non-Technical Barriers to Energy Efficient Renovation of Residential Buildings and Potential Policy Instruments to overcome Them—Evidence from Young Russian Adults
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 101; doi:10.3390/buildings7040101 -
Abstract
Several scientific articles discuss non-technical barriers and policy instruments related to energy efficient building renovation. However, they are seldom systematically categorized and hardly ever related to Russian context even if Russian housing provides remarkable potential for energy-efficiency improvements. This paper identifies non-technical barriers
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Several scientific articles discuss non-technical barriers and policy instruments related to energy efficient building renovation. However, they are seldom systematically categorized and hardly ever related to Russian context even if Russian housing provides remarkable potential for energy-efficiency improvements. This paper identifies non-technical barriers to building energy renovations and potential policy instruments to overcome these barriers. The study was carried out by using the following methods: first, we mapped the barriers and policy instruments addressed in renovation-related studies. Following this step, we studied the importance of barriers and the feasibility of various policy instruments in and with a few selected Russian experts. The outcome of the interviews indicates that standards, information dissemination and awareness raising are the most efficient instruments to promote energy renovations of buildings in Russia. Both students and the interviewed Russian experts shared the view that the role of the Government is highly important regarding introduction of these instruments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Simulation Models to Evaluate the Value Creation of the Grass-Roots Participation in the Enhancement of Public Real-Estate Assets with Evidence from Italy
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 100; doi:10.3390/buildings7040100 -
Abstract
In recent years, new forms of enhancement of public real-estate assets have been developed in Italy. These are based on initiatives promoted by a citizenry eager to pursue their cultural, creative, and entrepreneurial activities in unused assets. The aim of this paper is
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In recent years, new forms of enhancement of public real-estate assets have been developed in Italy. These are based on initiatives promoted by a citizenry eager to pursue their cultural, creative, and entrepreneurial activities in unused assets. The aim of this paper is to estimate the value generated by these bottom-up enhancement processes and to evaluate their economic feasibility from the perspective of the administration owner of the asset, beside any other considerations concerning local development or social capital improvement. The uncertainty affecting grass-roots participation and the value creation process is relevant. Therefore, the adopted approach combines Discounted Cash Flow Analysis (DCFA) with dynamic simulation models and the Monte Carlo methodology. The results highlight a significant value creation process: value appraisals appear to be below valuations made before the market downturn of 2008, but higher with respect to the current market values. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Housing Affordability in Metropolitan Areas. The Application of a Combination of the Ratio Income and Residual Income Approaches to Two Case Studies in Sicily, Italy
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 95; doi:10.3390/buildings7040095 -
Abstract
Housing affordability problems have become more serious over the course of the last few decades and are now also affecting the middle-class, despite the fall in prices on the housing market. This study proposes a methodology to assess threshold-income as an index for
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Housing affordability problems have become more serious over the course of the last few decades and are now also affecting the middle-class, despite the fall in prices on the housing market. This study proposes a methodology to assess threshold-income as an index for measuring housing affordability by applying a combination of the ratio income and residual income approaches. The methodology is applied to two particular areas of Sicily in Italy as case studies consisting of medium-size metropolitan areas located in a less developed European region. The areas have been chosen on the basis of their different territorial structure: a polarized area that comprises a high-density city centre and a polynuclear urban region. The results are diversified for income level, as well as for town and urban zone, and allow us to compare the housing affordability problems between towns belonging to the same metropolitan area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Multi-Criteria Decision Support System and Strategic Environmental Assessment: A Case Study
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 96; doi:10.3390/buildings7040096 -
Abstract
This contribution focuses on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as an important tool to ensure sustainable development and reach a high level of environmental protection. More specifically, this paper provides an evaluation method based on the integration of Geographic Information System (GIS) and
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This contribution focuses on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as an important tool to ensure sustainable development and reach a high level of environmental protection. More specifically, this paper provides an evaluation method based on the integration of Geographic Information System (GIS) and Multi-criteria Analysis—named Integrated Spatial Multi-criteria Decision Support System (ISMDSS)—to support the preparation of environmental assessment reports and the construction of scenarios for the adoption of urban plans, as an innovative tool that integrates objectives and multidimensional (economic, environmental, and social) components, as well as different approaches and models for the construction of a long-term shared vision. In particular, considerations are made by presenting a thought-provoking case study on the SEA of the urban plan of the municipality of Marzano di Nola, located in the province of Avellino in the Campania region. The experiment carried out showed the potentiality of the ISMDSS to evaluate the impacts of different scenarios with the aim of developing a sustainable urban municipal plan. The spatial dimension is useful in understanding the dynamics that characterize each environmental topic in a specific area, by considering not only the components of the natural and developed environment, but also the interactions with social and economic components. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Measurement of Thermal Properties of Growing Media for Green Roofs: Assessment of a Laboratory Procedure and Experimental Results
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 99; doi:10.3390/buildings7040099 -
Abstract
While the Italian standard UNI 11235:2015 establishes minimum performance criteria, the thermal resistance of the growing medium of green roofs is not included in national regulations. Instead, thermal transmittance limits for roofs are obtained by referring to other stratigraphic layers. In the absence
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While the Italian standard UNI 11235:2015 establishes minimum performance criteria, the thermal resistance of the growing medium of green roofs is not included in national regulations. Instead, thermal transmittance limits for roofs are obtained by referring to other stratigraphic layers. In the absence of specific national and international standards for laboratory calculations of the thermal performance of growing media for green roofs, a multi-year laboratory testing campaign was carried out on 8 samples which aimed to define the thermal resistance reference values of growing media as a function of density and water content. Thermal conductivity varies between 0.046–0.179 W/mK for dry samples as a function of density and between 0.046–0.47 W/mK as a function of moisture content. Defining a reference method, laboratory tests and restitution of the output in performance curves, was based on 108 tests carried out according to and deviating from the standard based on both guarded hot plate and heat flow meter methods. The significance of the results has prompted researchers and industrial partners to engage in further investment and ongoing tests in this area, targeting the definition of a standard laboratory method to be presented worldwide. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Social and Territorial Vulnerability on Real Estate Submarkets
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 94; doi:10.3390/buildings7040094 -
Abstract
The concept of social vulnerability is widely studied in literature in order to identify particularly socially fragile sectors of the population. For this purpose, several studies have adopted indexes to measure the economic and social conditions of the population. The aim of this
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The concept of social vulnerability is widely studied in literature in order to identify particularly socially fragile sectors of the population. For this purpose, several studies have adopted indexes to measure the economic and social conditions of the population. The aim of this paper is to investigate the link between social and territorial vulnerability and the real estate market, by means of an exploratory analysis related to the possibility that spatial analyses can help to identify spatial latent components and variables in the process of price determination. A three phase approach is proposed, using the geographical segmentation of Turin and its related submarkets as a case study. After the identification and analysis of a set of three social and territorial vulnerability indicators, a traditional hedonic approach was applied to measure their influence on property listing prices. Subsequently, spatial analyses were investigated to focus on the spatial components of the indicators and property prices; their spatial autocorrelation was measured and the presence of spatial dependence was taken into account by applying a spatial regression. Results demonstrated that two indicators were spatially correlated with property prices and had a significant and negative influence on them. The proposed approach may help not only to identify the most vulnerable urban areas characterized by the lowest property prices, but also to support the future modification to the actual geographical segmentation of Turin. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How Green Do We Want to Live in 2100? Lessons Learned from the Homes of the Present-Day Rich
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 97; doi:10.3390/buildings7040097 -
Abstract
This study explores the extent to which rich Dutch households live green, in the form of green surrounding homes directly and nearby public green. The authors interpret this ‘greenness’ as a signal of how green the wider population wishes to live in the
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This study explores the extent to which rich Dutch households live green, in the form of green surrounding homes directly and nearby public green. The authors interpret this ‘greenness’ as a signal of how green the wider population wishes to live in the long-term as it grows wealthier over time. In our analyses of property transaction data on the 2009–2012 residential market, we focus on 2303 properties that sold for at least 1 million Euros, the ‘properties of the rich’. Results indicate that the rich live relatively green: on average, and depending on local degrees of urbanization, the parcels of million Euro properties are up to 7.0 times larger than parcels of lower priced properties. We find too, that the rich live closer to public green spaces than the more general population does, especially if such green is highly appreciated by a wide public. Furthermore, the rich are found to live in either very highly urban locations or in the least urban locations—if these are nearby cities. We perform basic long-term land-use forecasts of demand for residential space across local property markets, and findings suggest that preference for green living will increase over time. Our results especially show that how well these green preferences are accommodated by existing residential structures may become increasingly problematic as and if we grow wealthier over time. Our findings may foster long ongoing research and policy debate on urban planning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Relationship between Measurement Length and Accuracy within Steady State Co-Heating Tests
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 98; doi:10.3390/buildings7040098 -
Abstract
Evidence of a fabric performance gap has underlined the need for measurements of in situ building performance. Steady state co-heating tests have been used since the 1980s to measure whole building heat transfer coefficients, but are often cited as impractical due to their
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Evidence of a fabric performance gap has underlined the need for measurements of in situ building performance. Steady state co-heating tests have been used since the 1980s to measure whole building heat transfer coefficients, but are often cited as impractical due to their 2–4 week test duration and limited testing season. Despite this, the required conditions for testing and test duration have never been fully assessed. Analysis of field tests show that in 12 of 16 cases, a heat loss estimate to within 10% of the result achieved across a full test period can be achieved within just 72 h. These results are supported by simulated tests upon a wider range of dwellings and across wider environmental conditions. However, systematic errors may still exist, even in cases of convergence and cases with significant uncertainties may never converge. Simulated examples of traditional dwellings and those built in line with current building regulation limits may be tested for more than half the year. However, even when simulated with reduced uncertainties, dwellings with low heat loss and high solar gains, such Passivhaus dwellings and apartments, could be successfully tested for just 22% and 12% of a year respectively, demonstrating the limitations of the co-heating method in assessing such dwellings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Value Proposition and Development of Innovative Business Models for Demand Response Products and Services Enabled by the DR-BOB Solution
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 93; doi:10.3390/buildings7040093 -
Abstract
The work presented is the result of an ongoing European H2020 project entitled DR-BOB Demand Response in Blocks of Buildings (DR-BOB) that seeks to integrate existing technologies to create a scalable solution for Demand Response (DR) in blocks of buildings. In most EU
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The work presented is the result of an ongoing European H2020 project entitled DR-BOB Demand Response in Blocks of Buildings (DR-BOB) that seeks to integrate existing technologies to create a scalable solution for Demand Response (DR) in blocks of buildings. In most EU countries, DR programs are currently limited to the industrial sector and to direct asset control. The DR-BOB solution extends applicability to the building sector, providing predictive building management in blocks of buildings, enabling facilities managers to respond to implicit and explicit DR schemes, and enabling the aggregation of the DR potential of many blocks of buildings for use in demand response markets. The solution consists of three main components: the Local Energy Manager (LEM), which adds intelligence and provides the capacity for predictive building management in blocks of buildings, a Consumer Portal (CP) to enable building managers and building occupants to interact with the system and be engaged in demand response operations, and a Decentralized Energy Management System (DEMS®, Siemens plc, Nottingham, England, UK), which enables the aggregation of the DR potential of many blocks of buildings, thus allowing participation in incentive-based demand response with or without an aggregator. The paper reports the key results around Business Modelling development for demand response products and services enabled by the DR-BOB solution. The scope is threefold: (1) illustrate how the functionality of the demand response solution can provide value proposition to underpin its exploitation by four specific customer segments, namely aggregators and three types of Owners of Blocks of Buildings in different market conditions, (2) explore key aspects of the Business Model from the point of view of a demand response solution provider, in particular around most the suitable revenue stream and key partnership, and (3) assess the importance of key variables such as market maturity, user engagement, and type of blocks of buildings as drivers to market penetration and profitability. The work presented is framed by the expected evolution of DR services in different market contexts and the different relationships between the main stakeholders involved in the DR value chain in different EU countries. The analysis also relies on the results of interviews conducted at the fours pilot sites of the DR-BOB project with key representatives of the management, operations, and marketing. These are used to better understand customer needs and sharpen the value proposition. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Daylighting System Based on Novel Design of Linear Fresnel lens
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 92; doi:10.3390/buildings7040092 -
Abstract
In this paper, we present a design and optical simulation of a daylighting system using a novel design of linear Fresnel lens, which is constructed based on the conservation of optical path length and edge ray theorem. The linear Fresnel lens can achieve
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In this paper, we present a design and optical simulation of a daylighting system using a novel design of linear Fresnel lens, which is constructed based on the conservation of optical path length and edge ray theorem. The linear Fresnel lens can achieve a high uniformity by using a new idea of design in which each groove of the lens distributes sunlight uniformly over the receiver so that the whole lens also uniformly distributes sunlight over the receiver. In this daylighting system, the novel design of linear Fresnel lens significantly improves the uniformity of collector and distributor. Therefore, it can help to improve the performance of the daylighting system. The structure of the linear Fresnel lenses is designed by using Matlab. Then, the structure of lenses is appreciated by ray tracing in LightToolsTM to find out the optimum lens shape. In addition, the simulation is performed by using LightToolsTM to estimate the efficiency of the daylighting system. The results show that the designed collector can achieve the efficiency of ~80% with the tolerance of ~0.60 and the concentration ratio of 340 times, while the designed distributor can reach a high uniformity of >90%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Numerical Modelling for the Thermal Performance Assessment of a Semi-Opaque Façade with a Multilayer of Nano-Structured and Phase Change Materials
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 90; doi:10.3390/buildings7040090 -
Abstract
The aim of our present study was to assess and compare the thermo-physical and energy behaviour of different integrated building façades, using a multi-physics simulation approach. Advanced integrated façades composed of opaque modules, one of them with a phase change materials (PCM) layer,
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The aim of our present study was to assess and compare the thermo-physical and energy behaviour of different integrated building façades, using a multi-physics simulation approach. Advanced integrated façades composed of opaque modules, one of them with a phase change materials (PCM) layer, the others with multilayer panels, combined with transparent ones, consisting of nano-structured materials and new-generation photovoltaic systems, were investigated. A multi-physics approach was used for the design optimization of the studied components and evaluation of their thermo-physical and heat transfer performance. In particular, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) multi-physics transient simulations were performed to assess air temperature and velocity fields inside the ventilated cavities. Analysis of heat and mass exchange through all the components was assessed during heating and cooling mode of a reference building. The typical Mediterranean climate was considered. Results comparison allowed the dynamic heat transfer evaluation of the multilayer façades as a function of variable climatic conditions, and their flexibility and adaptability exploitation, when different energy strategies are pursued. The multi-physics modelling approach used, proved to be a strong tool for the energy design optimization and energy sustainability evaluation of different advance materials and building components. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Immigrants and the City: The Relevance of Immigration on Housing Price Gradient
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 91; doi:10.3390/buildings7040091 -
Abstract
Foreign citizens are a more and more significant part of the population of Italian cities and society (8% of the country’s total population), and they contribute to changes in the cultural, social, and economic structure of the country. Our aim was to assess
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Foreign citizens are a more and more significant part of the population of Italian cities and society (8% of the country’s total population), and they contribute to changes in the cultural, social, and economic structure of the country. Our aim was to assess the incidence of the immigrant population on urban house price polarization, as measured using an original indicator: the center-periphery housing price gradient. While there is ample literature on the relationship between average prices and immigrant populations, less research has been conducted on immigration and the housing price gradient on a national scale. This price gradient may indicate whether immigration contributes to changing the residential market, also possibly revealing segregation phenomena. We ran multivariate regressions in several steps on an original dataset of housing prices and socio-economic factors concerning 112 Italian provincial capitals to elucidate whether immigration is correlated with the housing market divide. Our main findings confirmed that larger immigrant populations coincide with steeper housing price gradients on a national scale. Our tests also demonstrated that the relevance of this phenomenon varies for different urban forms, confirming related to housing price dynamics between the cities of northern and southern Italy the relevance of urban density in elucidating. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Structural Resistance of Reinforced Concrete Buildings in Areas of Moderate Seismicity and Assessment of Strategies for Structural Improvement
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 89; doi:10.3390/buildings7040089 -
Abstract
Moderate magnitude seismic events have occurred during the last decade in non-seismic areas and have highlighted that many existing buildings do not sufficiently resist these types of events. The objective of this work is to illustrate that most buildings dating from 2002–2010 constructed
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Moderate magnitude seismic events have occurred during the last decade in non-seismic areas and have highlighted that many existing buildings do not sufficiently resist these types of events. The objective of this work is to illustrate that most buildings dating from 2002–2010 constructed from wide beams, which were designed to previous earthquake resistance codes, do not offer a satisfactory seismic behaviour, and to identify which structural attributes can best help alleviate this problem. In this work the effect of a real earthquake of medium magnitude (Lorca, 2011) on buildings of three, five and eight stories with unidirectional frames of wide-beam concrete was assessed. The methodology included non-linear static (pushover) analyses and dynamic response simulations with the aim to understand the effect on the seismic performance of changing some of the geometrical and material parameters. Maximum displacements and capacity curves for the top floor of a set of representative buildings were evaluated and compared. In particular, capacity curves obtained from non-linear static (pushover) analysis are compared for different building configurations, as well as the maximum displacements obtained through non-linear dynamic analysis. This paper highlights the seismic vulnerability of buildings constructed between 2002 and 2010 and the results indicate that a higher density of infill walls (walls whose bricks are not part of the main structure) is the feature that most significantly improves the seismic behaviour of the structures analysed. Moreover, counterintuitively, incorporating stronger concrete and reinforcing steel and using alternative column arrangements only have a small positive effect on the seismic behaviour of these types of buildings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Building Assessment of Colonial Shophouses after Adaptive Reuse in Kuala Lumpur
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 87; doi:10.3390/buildings7040087 -
Abstract
Kuala Lumpur, as a major capital city, has undergone a drastic transformation in the past ten years. Many heritage buildings have been sacrificed for urban renewal projects. Those located in the touristic heritage zones within Kuala Lumpur were being converted by their owners
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Kuala Lumpur, as a major capital city, has undergone a drastic transformation in the past ten years. Many heritage buildings have been sacrificed for urban renewal projects. Those located in the touristic heritage zones within Kuala Lumpur were being converted by their owners into hotels and cafés to meet current demands to sustain their incomes. This approach, however, creates several physical and environmental issues within the new adaptation. The aim of this study is to evaluate the building performance of heritage shophouses that were adapted into budget hotels. The research focuses on two case studies in a strategic and historical location of Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur. At the initial stage, interviews and physical surveys were done to determine the context of this study. The authors of this research then used a triangulation method through indoor environmental condition assessment, measurements of indoor environmental conditions and occupant survey to determine the indoor building performance after the adaption. Results showed that adaptive reuse heritage buildings can perform and meet new indoor environmental requirements, but many sensitive design judgments need to be made before the adaptive reuse renovation. The research found that the use of natural light, natural ventilation, recycled materials and water efficiency have been neglected and thus, they should be prioritized and preserved to ensure a successful change of use. Conserving existing heritage buildings, while incorporating new usages with acceptable comfort, is in line with the principle of sustainability. Full article
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