Buildings2015, 5(4), 1265-1300; doi:10.3390/buildings5041265 (registering DOI) - published 27 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Building information modeling (BIM) has been presented as a potential solution to current facilities management problems related to information exchange during handover, and facilities information management during operations. However, implementing BIM in an owner organization is a complex challenge that necessitates reconfiguration of work practices and internal structures to fully realize the benefits. Owners are often unsure about how or whether they should go through the challenges related to implementation. Although previous studies have documented the potential benefits of BIM adoption for owners, such as improvements in work order processing, very little research has specifically looked at the transition to BIM and the scale of the effort required for large and diverse owner organizations. This paper presents the results of a long-term embedded case study analysis of a large owner-operator institutional organization that investigated the alignment of facility management (FM) practices across organizational and project contexts. The research objective was to examine current organizational practices in order to understand the potential, as well as the challenges, of transitioning from a paper-based to a model-based approach in handover and operations. We describe the current state of handover, information management and facility management practices and developed a framework to characterize the alignment between organizational constructs, available technology, project artifacts and owner requirements. This investigation of the current state of practice enables us to understand the gap between available and required information, processes and technology, and to better understand the enormous challenges owners face when considering the transition to BIM.
Abstract: Solar passive strategies that have been developed in vernacular architecture from different regions are a response to specific climate effects. These strategies are usually simple, low-tech and have low potential environmental impact. For this reason, several studies highlight them as having potential to reduce the demands of non-renewable energy for buildings operation. In this paper, the climatic contrast between northern and southern parts of mainland Portugal is presented, namely the regions of Beira Alta and Alentejo. Additionally, it discusses the contribution of different climate-responsive strategies developed in vernacular architecture from both regions to assure thermal comfort conditions. In Beira Alta, the use of glazed balconies as a strategy to capture solar gains is usual, while in Alentejo the focus is on passive cooling strategies. To understand the effectiveness of these strategies, thermal performances and comfort conditions of two case studies were evaluated based on the adaptive comfort model. Field tests included measurement of hygrothermal parameters and surveys on occupants’ thermal sensation. From the results, it has been found that the case studies have shown a good thermal performance by passive means alone and that the occupants feel comfortable, except during winter where there is the need to use simple heating systems.
Abstract: Over the next decade investment in building energy savings needs to increase, together with the rate and depth of renovations, to achieve the required reduction in building-related CO2 emissions. Although the need to improve residential buildings has been identified, guidelines come as general suggestions that fail to address the diversity of each project and give specific answers on how these requirements can be implemented in the design. During early design phases, architects are in search of a design direction to make informed decisions, particularly with regard to the building envelope, which mostly regulates energy demand. To result in an energy-efficient residential stock, this paper proposes a methodology to support refurbishment strategies design. The methodology, called “façade refurbishment toolbox (FRT) approach”, is based on compiling and quantifying retrofitting measures that can be also seen as “tools” used to upgrade the building’s energy performance. The result of the proposed methodology enables designers to make informed decisions that lead to energy and sustainability conscious designs, without dictating an optimal solution, from the energy point of view alone. Its applicability is validated through interviews with refurbishment stakeholders.
Abstract: Two eight-story wood-framed residential buildings with the Swedish 2012 passive house standard were built in 2009 in the Portvakten Söder quarter in the city of Växjö in Sweden. In this paper, we present the monitored specific energy use of the buildings and compare to the requirements of the Swedish building code and recommendation for passive houses. We also estimated the primary energy use and CO2 emissions and investigated the tenants’ views and experiences of the two buildings. Results show that the actual specific energy use of 40.2 kWh/m2Atemp/year in the Portvakten Söder building fulfills, by a good margin, the requirements of the Swedish building code and the recommended passive house standard, but is higher than projected. Applying a marginal perspective, the calculated primary energy use and carbon dioxide emission from operating the buildings (excluding household electricity) was 40 kWh/m2Atemp/year and zero, respectively. Responses of 20 tenants to a mail-in questionnaire survey showed that over 90% were satisfied with their apartments.
Abstract: Transportation infrastructure and transportation behaviors consume significant natural resources and are costly to municipalities, states, and the federal government. Small cities, in particular, may find themselves with high costs. Although transportation has been extensively investigated, methods that may enable small cities to act are still lacking. To investigate the influence that neighborhood-level built environment characteristics have on adult personal transportation decisions within small cities, this study combined community-based research, a multi-level analysis of residents, and a case study approach in two (North-Eastern United States) New Hampshire cities, Portsmouth and Manchester. Neighborhood-level physical characteristics were determined using Geographic Information Systems and visual surveys. Resident-level characteristics and behaviors were determined by survey of adult residents. Data were supplemented with input from and collaboration with city representatives. The results showed significant relationships between self-reported destination walking and built environment characteristics in the neighborhoods studied. Furthermore, the results showed variability between neighborhoods, underscoring the importance of local factors and behaviors. The results suggested that small cities and their regional planning organizations can make changes to specific existing neighborhoods to remove barriers to walking and allow more residents to choose walking as a transportation mode, but the changes that are most effective vary by neighborhood.
Abstract: There is increasing literature demonstrating the link between building indoor environmental quality, and occupant health and productivity, driving the corporate real estate industry to investigate how to integrate wellness features in both new and existing building stock. Meanwhile, new voluntary standards to promote occupant health are becoming adopted alongside sustainability standards. As commercial building owners and tenants seek to improve occupant conditions and incorporate wellness, apparently conflicting priorities must be balanced, particularly improving indoor environmental conditions has the potential to increase energy. This paper presents a framework to consider retrofits holistically and considering the benefit of improved conditions both qualitatively and quantitatively. Where poor conditions exist, published literature demonstrates a lost productivity cost that exceeds typical building energy costs, and this is quantified in the financial analysis presented. Energy retrofits provide a unique opportunity to integrate wellness-enabling features because the energy savings can offset marginal energy or operating cost increases for particular wellness interventions. This paper presents a flexible, customizable framework to develop potential retrofit bundles and evaluate them considering economic, sustainability, wellness, risk and occupant experience factors to identify the optimal zone of retrofit. An illustrative case study using real building data demonstrates how the framework might be applied to a real project and customized to achieve unique stakeholder priorities.