Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Measures for Managing Issues in Post-Disaster Housing Reconstruction
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 29; doi:10.3390/buildings7020029 -
Abstract
After large scale disasters, reconstruction is often initiated by stakeholders to minimize disaster impacts and to mitigate a recurrence. For most reconstruction programmes, priority is given to reconstruction of permanent housing in consideration of the multiplying effects of housing reconstruction on social and
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After large scale disasters, reconstruction is often initiated by stakeholders to minimize disaster impacts and to mitigate a recurrence. For most reconstruction programmes, priority is given to reconstruction of permanent housing in consideration of the multiplying effects of housing reconstruction on social and economic recovery and the development of community resilience. However, numerous challenges arise during implementation which have reportedly been poorly managed and this has resulted in the ineffectiveness of housing reconstruction programmes and the failure of housing interventions to achieve their intended goals. In previous, related research, the issues affecting the implementation of housing reconstruction programmes were identified and a conceptual framework proposed. This study systematically reviews the academic literature, case studies and working papers in order to identify measures that have been applied by managers of reconstruction programmes to overcome these previously identified issues. The measures identified will be used to develop the previously proposed conceptual framework and thus to enable data collection through an experts’ opinion survey. Findings from the experts’ opinion survey will, in turn, be used to deduce best practice measures for managing permanent housing reconstruction programmes. This study is intended to aid policy making by providing stakeholders with good practice measures for managing issues in post-disaster housing reconstruction. In addition, it improves the knowledge base by presenting current housing reconstruction management practices and recommending how they can be improved for better community recovery and resilience building after large-scale disasters. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Annual Performance of Sensible and Total Heat Recovery in Ventilation Systems: Humidity Control Constraints for European Climates
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 28; doi:10.3390/buildings7020028 -
Abstract
Ensuring a comfortable indoor air quality requires a minimum fresh air supply by ventilation. Moreover, the improvement of the air tightness in new and refurbished high performance buildings enhances the role of mechanical ventilation and its importance in further increasing the energy efficiency.
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Ensuring a comfortable indoor air quality requires a minimum fresh air supply by ventilation. Moreover, the improvement of the air tightness in new and refurbished high performance buildings enhances the role of mechanical ventilation and its importance in further increasing the energy efficiency. Indeed, a reduction of the ventilation load can be achieved by installing air-to-air heat recovery devices, whose potential energy savings can be easily assessed by means of their nominal effectiveness. However, this estimation does not consider the impact on the overall performance of the system, in particular when humidity control is needed. Proper control strategies can be defined on the basis of the indoor latent load to prevent preheating or avoid moisture recovery when dehumidification by cooling is then required. In this work, the energy saving potential of heat recovery systems has been analyzed, considering the impact of different control strategies on both energy and cost savings. The calculations have been generalized using the specific latent load, which allows for the analysis of strategies and savings based on typical utilization categories, without considering in detail all the building characteristics. Representative hourly weather data for 66 European cities have been used to evaluate sensible and total heat recovery devices. The energy and the cost saving results have been mapped per each European Köppen-Geiger climate class and each country, respectively. The proposed strategies based on humidity control can strongly reduce the attractiveness of total heat recovery with respect to sensible heat recovery in terms of energy and cost savings, especially when high specific latent loads are considered. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Space Heating Energy Consumption of Residential Buildings Based on Traditional and Model-Based Techniques
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 27; doi:10.3390/buildings7020027 -
Abstract
This paper presents a comparison of different scenarios in controlling the space heating systems in residential buildings. The space heating energy consumption of a three-storey residential building is estimated using traditional control methods (fixed-temperature schedule and fixed-time schedule) and a mathematical model-based control
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This paper presents a comparison of different scenarios in controlling the space heating systems in residential buildings. The space heating energy consumption of a three-storey residential building is estimated using traditional control methods (fixed-temperature schedule and fixed-time schedule) and a mathematical model-based control strategy. The model-based control technique takes the usage pattern of the building into account and operates the heaters based on the calculated heating time of the building. The results from the experiments confirm that the use of a model in heating control is the best option, which can save up to 1400 kWh and 320 kWh per year compared to a fixed-temperature schedule and fixed-time schedule, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Nearly Zero Energy Standard for Non-Residential Buildings with high Energy Demands—An Empirical Case Study Using the State-Related Properties of BAVARIA
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 25; doi:10.3390/buildings7010025 -
Abstract
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) 2010 calls for the Nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) Standard for new buildings from 2021 onwards: Buildings using “almost no energy” are powered by renewable sources or by the energy produced by the building itself. For
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The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) 2010 calls for the Nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) Standard for new buildings from 2021 onwards: Buildings using “almost no energy” are powered by renewable sources or by the energy produced by the building itself. For residential buildings, this ambitious new standard has already been reached. But for other building types, this goal is still far away. The potential of these buildings to meet a nZEB Standard was investigated by analyzing ten case studies, representing non-residential buildings with different uses. The analysis shows that the primary characteristics common to critical building types are a dense building context with a very high degree of technical installation (such as hospital, research, and laboratory buildings). The large primary energy demand of these types of buildings cannot be compensated by building- and property-related energy generation, including off-site renewables. If the future nZEB Standard were to be defined with lower requirements because of this, the state-related properties of Bavaria suggest that the real potential energy savings available in at least 85% of all new buildings would be insufficiently exploited. Therefore, it would be more useful to individualize the legal energy verification process for new buildings, to distinguish critical building types such as laboratories and hospitals from the other building types. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Valuation of Real Estate Investments through Fuzzy Logic
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 26; doi:10.3390/buildings7010026 -
Abstract
This paper aims to outline the application of Fuzzy Logic in real estate investment. In literature, there is a wide theoretical background on real estate investment decisions, but there has been a lack of empirical support in this regard. For this reason, the
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This paper aims to outline the application of Fuzzy Logic in real estate investment. In literature, there is a wide theoretical background on real estate investment decisions, but there has been a lack of empirical support in this regard. For this reason, the paper would fill the gap between theory and practice. The fuzzy logic system is adopted to evaluate the situations of a real estate market with imprecise and vague information. To highlight the applicability of the Possibility Theory, we proceeded to reconsider an example of property investment evaluation through fuzzy logic. The case study concerns the purchase of an office building. The results obtained with Fuzzy Logic have been also compared with those arising from a deterministic approach through the use of crisp numbers. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Settlers’ Guide: Designing for Resilience in the Hinterlands
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 23; doi:10.3390/buildings7010023 -
Abstract
There has often been a mutually beneficial relationship between cities and their rural hinterlands. The Kapiti region outside the city of Wellington in New Zealand is a prime example: it once provided Wellington’s food, water and cultural diversity for both Māori and European
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There has often been a mutually beneficial relationship between cities and their rural hinterlands. The Kapiti region outside the city of Wellington in New Zealand is a prime example: it once provided Wellington’s food, water and cultural diversity for both Māori and European settlers. However, productivity-driven agriculture and extensive dormitory-suburbanization have affected significant parts of this once-abundant hinterland. Food production is becoming more mono-cultural, water quality is degrading, ecosystems’ biodiversity is disappearing, provincial town centres are shrinking, emigrating youth are leaving unbalanced demographics, Māori are increasingly disassociating their culture from their traditional lands and natural disasters are causing more impact—all of which is making Kapiti less resilient, and severing the once-healthy city-hinterland relationship. Our work on future settlement opportunities in Kapiti proposes alternatives, using experimental design-led research methods to develop speculative architectural and landscape architectural schemes. The schemes are framed by some of the spatial attributes of resilience: diversity, complexity, redundancy, interconnectivity and adaptability. Collectively, the work reveals design strategies that have a potential to rebuild hinterlands’ culture, town centres, housing, agriculture, community and ecosystems and to recalibrate the broader relationship between hinterlands and metropolitan systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bioclimatic Analysis in Pre‐Design Stage of Passive  House in Indonesia
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 24; doi:10.3390/buildings7010024 -
Abstract
The objective of this study is to investigate the climate characteristics of Indonesian regions using an Olgyay Bioclimatic chart, a Givoni–Milne Bioclimatic chart and a Mahoney Table as the pre‐design stage in the development of a passive house design standard for residential house
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The objective of this study is to investigate the climate characteristics of Indonesian regions using an Olgyay Bioclimatic chart, a Givoni–Milne Bioclimatic chart and a Mahoney Table as the pre‐design stage in the development of a passive house design standard for residential house construction in Indonesia. Jakarta was the city chosen for deep analysis, because it represents most of the Indonesian regions in terms of temperature and relative humidity. The Olgyay Bioclimatic chart showed that the climate needs a high wind velocity to counteract the vapor pressure and shading in order to reduce solar gain entering the building. The Givoni–Milne Bioclimatic chart proposed natural ventilation and shading devices, while the Mahoney Table recommends open spaces for protection against hot wind, rooms single‐banked and permanent provision for air movement. The composite size of the opening at body height is better to allow the wind to counter the high levels of humidity and temperature. Heavy walls and roofs are suggested, as well as the provision of protection devices for the high amount of rainfall. Energy simulation was also done to investigate the effectiveness of the passive strategy proposed by the bioclimatic analysis. These results give a contribution as the indispensable basis for the development of a passive house standard in Indonesia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Computational Combination of the Optical Properties of Fenestration Layers at High Directional Resolution
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 22; doi:10.3390/buildings7010022 -
Abstract
Complex fenestration systems typically comprise co-planar, clear and scattering layers. As there are many ways to combine layers in fenestration systems, a common approach in building simulation is to store optical properties separate for each layer. System properties are then computed employing a
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Complex fenestration systems typically comprise co-planar, clear and scattering layers. As there are many ways to combine layers in fenestration systems, a common approach in building simulation is to store optical properties separate for each layer. System properties are then computed employing a fast matrix formalism, often based on a directional basis devised by JHKlems comprising 145 incident and 145 outgoing directions. While this low directional resolution is found sufficient to predict illuminance and solar gains, it is too coarse to replicate the effects of directionality in the generation of imagery. For increased accuracy, a modification of the matrix formalism is proposed. The tensor-tree format of RADIANCE, employing an algorithm subdividing the hemisphere at variable resolutions, replaces the directional basis. The utilization of the tensor-tree with interfaces to simulation software allows sharing and re-use of data. The light scattering properties of two exemplary fenestration systems as computed employing the matrix formalism at variable resolution show good accordance with the results of ray-tracing. Computation times are reduced to 0.4% to 2.5% compared to ray-tracing through co-planar layers. Imagery computed employing the method illustrates the effect of directional resolution. The method is supposed to foster research in the field of daylighting, as well as applications in planning and design. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Biomimetic Urban Design: Ecosystem Service Provision of Water and Energy
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 21; doi:10.3390/buildings7010021 -
Abstract
This paper presents an ecosystem biomimicry methodology for urban design called ecosystem service analysis. Ecosystem services analysis can provide quantifiable goals for urban ecological regeneration that are determined by site specific ecology and climate of an urban area. This is important given the
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This paper presents an ecosystem biomimicry methodology for urban design called ecosystem service analysis. Ecosystem services analysis can provide quantifiable goals for urban ecological regeneration that are determined by site specific ecology and climate of an urban area. This is important given the large negative environmental impact that most cities currently have on ecosystems. If cities can provide some of their own ecosystem services, pressure may be decreased on the surrounding ecosystems. This is crucial because healthier ecosystems enable humans to better adapt to the impacts that climate change is currently having on urban built environments and will continue to have in the future. A case study analyzing two ecosystem services (provision of energy and provision of water) for an existing urban environment (Wellington, New Zealand) is presented to demonstrate how the ecosystem services analysis concept can be applied to an existing urban context. The provision of energy in Wellington was found to be an example of an ecosystem service where humans could surpass the performance of pre-development ecosystem conditions. When analyzing the provision of water it was found that although total rainfall in the urban area is almost 200% higher than the water used in the city, if rainwater harvested from existing rooftops were to meet just the demands of domestic users, water use would need to be reduced by 20%. The paper concludes that although achieving ecological performance goals derived from ecosystem services analysis in urban areas is likely to be difficult, determining site and climate specific goals enable urban design professionals to know what a specific city should be aiming for if it is to move towards better sustainability outcomes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Towards a Platform of Investigative Tools for Biomimicry as a New Approach for Energy-Efficient Building Design
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 19; doi:10.3390/buildings7010019 -
Abstract
Major problems worldwide are environmental concern and energy shortage along with the high consumption of energy in buildings and the lack of sources. Buildings are the most intensive energy consumers, and account for 40% of worldwide energy use, which is much more than
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Major problems worldwide are environmental concern and energy shortage along with the high consumption of energy in buildings and the lack of sources. Buildings are the most intensive energy consumers, and account for 40% of worldwide energy use, which is much more than transportation. In next 25 years, CO2 emissions from buildings are projected to grow faster than in other sectors. Thus, architects must attempt to find solutions for managing buildings energy consumption. One of new innovative approaches is Biomimicry, which is defined as the applied science that derives inspiration for solutions to human problems through the study of natural designs’ principles. Although biomimicry is considered to be a new approach for achieving sustainable architecture, but there is still not enough access for architects to make use of it, especially to implement biomimetic design strategy in architectural project. The main objective of this paper is to raise awareness of architects making use of biomimetic strategies with better accessible facility. We propose to create the tool setting relationship to formalize and bridge between biological and architectural knowledge, along with investigative tools to investigate the ability of reducing energy consumption by applying the biomimetic strategies on efficient-energy building design. This article hypothetically proposes an investigative tool based on Bayesian networks for testing the rapid result of choices from natural devices according to specific multi-criteria requirements in each case study. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Analysis of a Heat Cost Allocation Method for Apartment Buildings
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 20; doi:10.3390/buildings7010020 -
Abstract
The correct estimate of individual thermal energy consumptions, and consequently, a fair heat cost allocation among the residents of apartment buildings with centralized heating systems, represents an important driving force towards energy saving, energy efficiency and the reduction of pollutant emissions. Nowadays, in
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The correct estimate of individual thermal energy consumptions, and consequently, a fair heat cost allocation among the residents of apartment buildings with centralized heating systems, represents an important driving force towards energy saving, energy efficiency and the reduction of pollutant emissions. Nowadays, in those contexts where direct heat meters cannot be used because of the layout of the hot water distribution system, electronic Heat Cost Allocators (HCAs) have the highest market share for the assessment of individual thermal energy consumptions. The uncertainty associated with the parameterization of heat cost allocation devices and the installation effects arising in real applications can negatively affect the accuracy of these devices, as far as the estimation of the individual fractions of thermal energy consumption is concerned. This work deals with the experimental analysis of a novel heat cost allocation method for apartment buildings and its comparison with conventional HCAs. The method allows the indirect estimation of the thermal energy exchanged by water radiators without the need for surface temperature measurements, reducing some of the drawbacks associated with the on-site installation. The experimental analysis was carried out in a full-scale central heating system test facility available at the Italian National Metrology Institute (INRIM) and characterized by SI-traceable direct heat meters installed on each water radiator. Full article
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Open AccessTechnical Note
The Acoustics of the Double Elliptical Vault of the Royal Palace of Caserta (Italy)
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 18; doi:10.3390/buildings7010018 -
Abstract
This work investigates the acoustic characteristics of the double elliptical vault, which overlooks the Grand Staircase of the Royal Palace of Caserta (Italy). The Royal Palace was built by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli in the Seventeenth Century and it is the largest royal
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This work investigates the acoustic characteristics of the double elliptical vault, which overlooks the Grand Staircase of the Royal Palace of Caserta (Italy). The Royal Palace was built by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli in the Seventeenth Century and it is the largest royal building in Italy. The double elliptical vault presents a great scenography effect. Inside the vault, on the planking level, musicians used to play for the king and his guests when the royal procession, going up the grand staircase, entered the royal apartments, creating astonishment among the guests who heard the music without understanding from where it was coming. Since the musicians were inside the vault, the long reverberation made the listeners perceive the vault to be enveloped by the music. To investigate this effect, the acoustic characteristics of the double vault were measured, putting the sound source on the planking level of the vault, while the microphones were put along the staircase and in the vestibule towards the royal apartments. Finally, the spatial distribution of several acoustic parameters is evaluated also using architectural acoustic simulations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Vernacular Construction Techniques and Materials for Developing Zero-Energy Homes in Various Desert Climates
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 17; doi:10.3390/buildings7010017 -
Abstract
Hot desert regions, like Saudi Arabia, are very challenging in terms of building energy consumption. The role of the housing sector in the country is critical as it accounts for half of the total national electricity consumption. It is important to apply sustainable
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Hot desert regions, like Saudi Arabia, are very challenging in terms of building energy consumption. The role of the housing sector in the country is critical as it accounts for half of the total national electricity consumption. It is important to apply sustainable energy concepts in this sector, and the application of Zero-Energy Homes (ZEHs) could be an appropriate option in this regard. In ZEHs, the energy demand needs to be reduced significantly before employing renewable energy, and a way to achieve that is through applying vernacular construction techniques and materials. This study aims to investigate the role of courtyard, mushrabiyah and adobe construction for the development of ZEHs in the five main Saudi climatic zones represented by Dhahran, Guriat, Riyadh, Jeddah and Khamis Mushait. A base house is designed, modelled and compared with measured electricity values. The comparison between the base house and the houses adapted with these techniques and materials is undertaken based on the annual electricity demand and the maximum power demand, and findings reveal that mushrabiyah can reduce them by 4% and 3%, respectively, while adobe can reduce them by 6% and 19%, respectively. Courtyards are found to be not helpful in terms of energy saving. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Buildings Energy Performance in a Market Comparison Approach
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 16; doi:10.3390/buildings7010016 -
Abstract
The current regulations on the energy certification of buildings represent for the real estate market and the building sector a real cultural revolution. In recent years, the focus on the energy efficiency of buildings has grown exponentially. It is therefore necessary that the
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The current regulations on the energy certification of buildings represent for the real estate market and the building sector a real cultural revolution. In recent years, the focus on the energy efficiency of buildings has grown exponentially. It is therefore necessary that the property valuations and methodologies used for this purpose bear in mind the energy quality of buildings. This study aims to determine the contribution of an energy performance feature to the real estate property value. This information can help, on the one hand, to understand the energy savings and the corresponding savings income in the property management and, on the other, to control the air pollution from CO2 emission reduction. The energy performance hedonic price and the CO2 emission price are appraised in the Market Comparison Approach (MCA). Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Multi-Parametric Mathematical Approach on the Selection of Optimum Insulation Thicknesses in Buildings
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 15; doi:10.3390/buildings7010015 -
Abstract
Detailed simulations have indicated optimum insulation thicknesses of walls’ insulation for a variety of cases. Simplified analytical relations have also been proposed to the same aim, allowing the extraction of more general results, with limited accuracy however, as imposed by mathematical simplicity requirements.
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Detailed simulations have indicated optimum insulation thicknesses of walls’ insulation for a variety of cases. Simplified analytical relations have also been proposed to the same aim, allowing the extraction of more general results, with limited accuracy however, as imposed by mathematical simplicity requirements. In this sense, a variety of important parameters are ignored, such as: the existence of any glazing at the wall, the absorptance of the wall, the base temperature of the heated space which the referred to wall belongs to and its variation with insulation, the thermal characteristics (thermal capacitance, total heat losses coefficient) and the heat and solar gains of the heated space. An alternative analytical approach is consequently developed here, incorporating all above parameters and in this context accessing the wall as part of the whole heated space, instead of considering it solely as an isolated fabric element. The approach consists of a set of two implicit equations which are easily solved, and enables the investigation of the effects of all principal and secondary parameters on the optimum thickness. The ignorance even of the secondary of these parameters has proved to lead to significant errors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Study on Use of Sound Absorption Treatment for Reduction of Environmental Sound Propagation and Reverberation in Staircases: A Case Study in Housing
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 14; doi:10.3390/buildings7010014 -
Abstract
In recent years, many open-plan houses have been proposed not only for comfort reasons, but also as a place to engage in family life. However, in contrast to the fact that this kind of plan makes it easy for people to interact, the
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In recent years, many open-plan houses have been proposed not only for comfort reasons, but also as a place to engage in family life. However, in contrast to the fact that this kind of plan makes it easy for people to interact, the daily life household sounds that occur inside the home may be perceived as noise. It is especially difficult to suppress the propagation of sound and reverberation in staircase and stairwell areas due to the absence of sound-absorbing furniture. In this study, we focused on addressing sound management within the staircase area in open-plan housing where sound absorption is particularly difficult. In order to suppress sound propagation on the upper and lower floors and the reverberation of sound, we placed a thin sound absorption panel on the wall, ceiling, and riser of the staircase. As a result, we were able to confirm that the propagation of sound on upper and lower floors can be suppressed by carrying out the sound absorption treatment on the staircase. Furthermore, we found that in stairway landing areas, the suppression effect of the propagation of sound varies depending on the position of the sound source and the positioning of the sound absorption panel, and that there is a position for placing the sound absorption panel where the sound-absorbing effect is effective. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effectiveness of Thermal Insulation in Lightweight Steel-Framed Walls with Respect to Its Position
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 13; doi:10.3390/buildings7010013 -
Abstract
Lightweight steel-framed (LSF) construction, given its advantages, has the potential to reach high standards in energy and environmental performance of buildings, such as nearly zero-energy buildings (nZEB). When compared with traditional construction, LSF system offers distinct benefits in such fields as sustainability, cost-effectiveness,
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Lightweight steel-framed (LSF) construction, given its advantages, has the potential to reach high standards in energy and environmental performance of buildings, such as nearly zero-energy buildings (nZEB). When compared with traditional construction, LSF system offers distinct benefits in such fields as sustainability, cost-effectiveness, constructive process, and safety at work. Despite the benefits of this constructive system, the effect of thermal bridges in LSF elements, caused by the high thermal conductivity of the steel structure, can be a disadvantage. The excessive heat losses or gains through these thermal bridges are more relevant in buildings’ exterior envelope, such as facade walls. These building components’ thermal performance is crucial in the buildings’ overall energetic behaviour, with a direct impact on energy consumption and resulting monetary costs during their operational stage. In this work the influence of the thermal insulation position on its effectiveness is evaluated in LSF facade walls. For this purpose, several LSF wall types are assessed, namely cold, warm, and hybrid construction. The influence of thermal bridges instigated by the steel studs in the LSF walls’ overall thermal performance is evaluated as well. The computations are performed using specialized finite element software (THERM). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rough Set Theory for Real Estate Appraisals: An Application to Directional District of Naples
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 12; doi:10.3390/buildings7010012 -
Abstract
This paper proposes an application of Rough Set Theory (RST) to the real estate field, in order to highlight its operational potentialities for mass appraisal purposes. RST allows one to solve the appraisal of real estate units regardless of the deterministic relationship between
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This paper proposes an application of Rough Set Theory (RST) to the real estate field, in order to highlight its operational potentialities for mass appraisal purposes. RST allows one to solve the appraisal of real estate units regardless of the deterministic relationship between characteristics that contribute to the formation of the property market price and the same real estate prices. RST was applied to a real estate sample (office units located in Directional District of Naples) and was also integrated with a functional extension so-called “Valued Tolerance Relation” (VTR) in order to improve its flexibility. A multiple regression analysis (MRA) was developed on the same real estate sample with the aim to compare RST and MRA results. The case study is followed by a brief discussion on basic theoretical connotations of this methodology. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Thermal Conductivity of Straw Bales: Full Size Measurements Considering the Direction of the Heat Flow
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 11; doi:10.3390/buildings7010011 -
Abstract
The thermal conductivity of straw bales is an intensively discussed topic in the international straw bale community. Straw bales are, by nature, highly heterogeneous and porous. They can have a relatively large range of density and the baling process can influence the way
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The thermal conductivity of straw bales is an intensively discussed topic in the international straw bale community. Straw bales are, by nature, highly heterogeneous and porous. They can have a relatively large range of density and the baling process can influence the way the fibres are organised within the bale. In addition, straw bales have a larger thickness than most of the insulating materials that can be found in the building industry. Measurement apparatus is usually not designed for such thicknesses, and most of the thermal conductivity values that can be found in the literature are defined based on samples in which the straw bales are resized. During this operation, the orientation of the fibres and the density may not be preserved. This paper starts with a literature review of straw bale thermal conductivity measurements and presents a measuring campaign performed with a specific Guarded Hot Plate, designed to measure samples up to 50 cm thick. The influence of the density is discussed thoroughly. Representative values are proposed for a large range of straw bales to support straw-bale development in the building industry. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Real-Time Monitoring of Occupants’ Thermal Comfort through Infrared Imaging: A Preliminary Study
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 10; doi:10.3390/buildings7010010 -
Abstract
Thermally comfortable indoor environments are of great importance, as modern lifestyles often require people to spend more than 20 h per day indoors. Since most of the thermal comfort models use a variety of different environmental and personal factors that need to be
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Thermally comfortable indoor environments are of great importance, as modern lifestyles often require people to spend more than 20 h per day indoors. Since most of the thermal comfort models use a variety of different environmental and personal factors that need to be measured or estimated, real-time and continuous assessment of thermal comfort is often not practically feasible. This work presents a cheap and non-invasive approach based on infrared imaging for monitoring the occupants’ thermal sensation and comfort in real time. Thanks to a mechatronic device developed by the authors, the imaging is performed on the forehead skin, selected because it is always exposed to the environment and, thus, facilitating the monitoring activity in a non-invasive manner. Tests have been performed in controlled conditions on ten subjects to assess the hypothesis that the forehead temperature is correlated with subjects’ thermal sensation. This allows the exploitation of this quantity as a base for a simple monitoring of thermal comfort, which could later be tuned with an extensive experimental campaign. Full article
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