Special Issue "Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings"

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A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Elma Durmisevic

Green and Adaptable Buildings, Centre for Green Transformable Buildings Devision of 4D Architects, Herengracht 473, 1017BS Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +31 20 3206621
Interests: integrated climate concepts for green buildings; adaptable building structures; design for disassembly in construction; circular material flow by design; social individual impacts on sustainable architecture; zero energy buildings and built environment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is estimated that over 50% of the world’s population now lives in cities. According to the UN Habitat, that is set to rise to 60% within a couple of decades. Cities are responsible for around 65% of all energy used and 70% of all greenhouse gases produced worldwide. The exponential increase in population, and contemporaneous increase in standard of living for many, will mean that the demand for essential goods and services will increase substantially.

In many fields the limits of what Earth can sustain have already been reached (Fokkema 2007). While there is an exponential growth in population, there is decline in the necessary resources to sustain this population. The key challenge of the 21st century is to redefine the way resources are being consumed and find sustainable solutions to treat materials and energy resources.

The building sector accounts for 50% of global greenhouse gas emission (UNEP-IETC, 2002) which makes it the largest single contributor to greenhouse gas emissions globally. In many countries the construction industry accounts for up to 40% of materials entering the global economy (CIWMB 2000), 50% of waste production, and 40 % of energy consumption. Materials used for buildings will have an impact on building energy consumption, but also on reuse and recycling potential of buildings.

Energy use is a widely used measure of the environmental impact of buildings. Operational energy is the first that needs to be tackled; however, as buildings are becoming better isolated and ever more renewable energy sources are being used, embodied energy has gained additional focus. Buildings use energy throughout their whole life cycle from construction to the end. Studies on the total energy use during the whole life cycle of the building are necessary, in order to identify strategies for energy reduction and its circular flows through the built environment.

This amplifies the need to look into all energy flows throughout the building phases. The life cycle analyses of energy flows have become essential in order to provide an integral view of the energy impact of the building sector on the environment.

This Special Issue aims at addressing the many inter-related aspects of the life-cycle energy analysis of buildings, including green energy strategies for energy positive buildings, CO2-balanced building, life cycle design of building, life time building energy, bioclimatic design and evaluation methods that guide the design and decision making process towards achieving green buildings and built environment.

Dr. Elma Durmisevic
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Buildings is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


Keywords

  • life-cycle energy assessment
  • embodied energy in material
  • energy efficiency
  • life cycle design methodology
  • energy optimization by design
  • strategies for energy reduction

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Integrating Life Cycle Energy into the Design of Façade Refurbishment for a Post-War Residential Building in The Netherlands
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 622-649; doi:10.3390/buildings5020622
Received: 8 March 2015 / Revised: 1 May 2015 / Accepted: 18 May 2015 / Published: 27 May 2015
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Abstract
The existing building stock has been in the focus of European Union policies for energy savings. Nevertheless, energy certification schemes refer mostly to operational energy and usually do not consider aspects related to the life cycle of the building. To look at the
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The existing building stock has been in the focus of European Union policies for energy savings. Nevertheless, energy certification schemes refer mostly to operational energy and usually do not consider aspects related to the life cycle of the building. To look at the overall energy cost during the lifespan of a building, the energy used to produce and assemble the building materials also needs to be included. This paper develops a design methodology for existing residential buildings that aims at decreasing the life cycle energy use as much as possible. This approach was applied on a case study of an existing post-war residential building in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The main focus of this study is to find a design solution for façade retrofitting that considers both embodied and operational energy. The design approach is based on comparing different strategies for the use of façade materials. This design methodology can be replicated in other projects, as the conclusions and recommendations can also be used for future refurbishment projects for which a low operational energy and materials with a low embodied energy are desired. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
Open AccessArticle Renewable Substitutability Index: Maximizing Renewable Resource Use in Buildings
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 581-596; doi:10.3390/buildings5020581
Received: 8 April 2015 / Revised: 11 May 2015 / Accepted: 18 May 2015 / Published: 22 May 2015
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Abstract
In order to achieve a material and energy balance in buildings that is sustainable in the long run, there is an urgent need to assess the renewable and non-renewable resources used in the manufacturing process and to progressively replace non-renewable resources with renewables.
[...] Read more.
In order to achieve a material and energy balance in buildings that is sustainable in the long run, there is an urgent need to assess the renewable and non-renewable resources used in the manufacturing process and to progressively replace non-renewable resources with renewables. Such progressive disinvestment in the non-renewable resources that may be substituted with renewable resources is referred to as “Renewable Substitutability” and if implemented, this process will lead to a paradigm shift in the way building materials are manufactured. This paper discusses the development of a Renewable Substitutability Index (RSI) that is designed to maximize the use of renewable resources in a building and quantifies the substitution process using solar emergy (i.e., the solar equivalent joules required for any item). The RSI of a building or a building component, i.e., floor or wall systems, etc., is the ratio of the renewable resources used during construction, including replacement and maintenance, to the building’s maximum renewable emergy potential. RSI values range between 0 and 1.0. A higher RSI achieves a low-energy building strategy promoting a higher order of sustainability by optimizing the use of renewables over a building’s lifetime from formation-extraction-manufacturing to maintenance, operation, demolition, and recycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
Open AccessArticle Using Life Cycle Assessment to Inform Decision-Making for Sustainable Buildings
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 536-559; doi:10.3390/buildings5020536
Received: 28 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 May 2015 / Published: 21 May 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5143 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Because the student residences of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel built in 1973 are not adapted to current comfort standards, the university decided to construct new accommodation facilities at the border of the campus. However, besides demolition, there was no strategy on how to
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Because the student residences of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel built in 1973 are not adapted to current comfort standards, the university decided to construct new accommodation facilities at the border of the campus. However, besides demolition, there was no strategy on how to deal with the existing ones. In the search for a more sustainable strategy, the university’s administration assigned the TRANSFORM research team to define various design strategies and to assess the long-term environmental consequences in order to select the best strategy by the use of Life Cycle Environmental Assessment. Current Life Cycle Environmental Assessments generally include maintenance, repair, replacement and operational energy consumption during use, but do not include future refurbishments. However, it is likely that their impact cannot be neglected either. Therefore, this article offers a framework which takes future refurbishments into account, in addition to the standard use impacts: initial and end-of-life impact. We report on the construction assemblies, the results of the assessments conducted and the advice provided. The results confirm that the impact of future refurbishments cannot be neglected. In addition, we observed that there were significant environmental savings when transforming the residences compared to new construction, and long-term benefits of a design enabling the reuse of building elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
Open AccessArticle Towards a More Sustainable Building Stock: Optimizing a Flemish Dwelling Using a Life Cycle Approach
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 424-448; doi:10.3390/buildings5020424
Received: 27 February 2015 / Revised: 28 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 11 May 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2531 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Over the past decades, the construction sector has focused strongly on reducing operational energy consumption. Other types of environmental impact that occur during the life span of construction works, however, have to be taken into account as well. This case study focuses on
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Over the past decades, the construction sector has focused strongly on reducing operational energy consumption. Other types of environmental impact that occur during the life span of construction works, however, have to be taken into account as well. This case study focuses on developing scenarios to improve the environmental profile of new buildings in the Flemish/Belgian context. The study takes into account current energy regulation and investigates the influence of energy scenarios and building type on the environmental profile. A life cycle energy assessment (LCEA) and a life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) were carried out for all scenarios, supplemented by a screening life cycle costing (LCC). The results indicate the importance of the compactness of a building, with the best results identified for the terraced scenario. The results are due to the reduced use of materials and, to a smaller extent, a reduction in energy consumption (smaller exposed surface). The results of the energy scenarios show a discrepancy between the LCEA and LCIA. According to the LCEA, passive scenarios are always preferable, but the LCIA results suggest two ways to reach a similar environmental profile. Firstly, by providing a level of insulation based on current regulations complemented with advanced technical services, and, alternatively, by increasing the level of insulation along with standard services. The results of the LCC show a similar trend to those of the LCIA. The results therefore suggest that there are multiple ways to improve the environmental profile of new buildings. Nevertheless, the choice of impact assessment method can have a strong influence on the results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
Open AccessArticle Integrating Simplified and Full Life Cycle Approaches in Decision Making for Building Energy Refurbishment: Benefits and Barriers
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 354-380; doi:10.3390/buildings5020354
Received: 2 March 2015 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 5 May 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (663 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The life cycle assessment (LCA) method is a powerful tool that can serve to aid decision making regarding the environmental benefits of refurbishment projects. However, due to the relative complexity of LCA studies, simplified LCA methodologies are frequently used, focusing on just some
[...] Read more.
The life cycle assessment (LCA) method is a powerful tool that can serve to aid decision making regarding the environmental benefits of refurbishment projects. However, due to the relative complexity of LCA studies, simplified LCA methodologies are frequently used, focusing on just some of the building life cycle phases or a reduced number of indicators. The most common and widespread simplification is to only evaluate the differences a refurbishment project makes on the operational energy use of the building. This paper compares the results of applying full LCA, simplified LCA and operational energy use assessment in a refurbishment case study. Results show that simplified LCA methodologies including building use phase and product manufacturing phase can generally be sufficiently accurate to aid decision making for building energy refurbishment, as other building life cycle phases related to transport of products, on site construction, deconstruction or end of life represent a generally negligible part of the total life cycle impacts, both in terms of resource use or environmental impacts. Barriers and benefits of applying simplified LCA approaches to building energy refurbishment projects are subsequently discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)

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