Special Issue "Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings"


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: http://www.utwente.nl/ctw/gtbcenter/
E-Mail: e.durmisevic@4darchitects.nl
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


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.


  • 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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Displaying article 1-5
p. 622-649
by , ,  and
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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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
p. 581-596
by ,  and
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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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
p. 536-559
by , , ,  and
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 536-559; doi:10.3390/buildings5020536
Received: 28 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 May 2015 / Published: 21 May 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
p. 424-448
by , ,  and
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
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
p. 354-380
by , ,  and
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
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
An Integrated Approach to Emergy and Environmental Accounting of Buildings
RS Srinivasan
M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management, University of Florida, USA
Through comprehensive assessment of buildings and its components during all building stages, life cycle energy analysis attempts to provide a holistic view of the impact to the environment. Recently, in the U.S., green building rating systems have evinced strong interest in such assessments through allocating points and, in some cases, making them a required component to secure building rating. Similar to the exponential increase in the awareness of building energy modeling and the tools that support such activities, it is expected that the building life cycle energy analysis and the limited number of tools that support such assessments, will be excessively used. Although designers are empowered with such tools to amass credits towards their green rating, this may act as a double-edge sword – on one hand, the benefits are enormous considering that previously rating systems focused predominantly on operational energy use, while on the other hand, it poses two significant problems: (1) the lack of knowledge of the tool, i.e., the deficiency in understanding the underlying constructs and the various assumptions used in such tools, and (2) the assumption that raw materials are given to us in plenty and that they do not deplete, i.e., none of the tools except a very few approaches consider the energies used up in the formation of such raw materials. This paper addresses the later issues for both widespread uses of life cycle energy analysis tools and to extend the life cycle energy analysis to raw material formation stage.
The first part of paper provides a detailed discussion on the various types of life cycle energy analysis tools, particularly the sector-based (EIO-LCA), process-based (Athena® Impact Estimator, SimaPro, GaBi), and the use of a hybrid-approaches (BIRDS). Besides, the discussion will expand to include the energy used up in raw material formation through the introduction of the concept of emergy (and Eco-LCA). The second part of the paper introduces a novel decision support tool developed with an integrated approach to emergy and environmental accounting of buildings. This tool allows a single input (material quantities) and provides a series of outputs through its in-built database. The outputs include sej (using emergy transformities and Eco-LCA), total energy in TJs and emissions such as SOx, NOx, CO2, etc. Through aggregation, several midpoint indicators (GWP, ODP, Disability Adjusted Life Years or DALY, PDF) and including carbon sequestration, human health and age impacts are determined. Using this integrated emergy and environmental accounting approaches, this tool will aid design professionals with a clear understanding of the sustainable choices at hand at a very early stage in the design process.

Type of Paper: Article
Some of the advantages of natural renewable materials in the building sector
Isminur Aybek, Zedina Hujdur, Amar Dautović, Adnan Novalić, Sanela Klarić *
Department of Architecture, International Burch University Sarajevo
Architecture design today has become far more challenging than it traditionally used to be. On top of accustomed thermal insulation thickness and heating demand, architects need to design new or renovate existing structures in compliance with the primary energy demand, CO2 reductions, as well as ecological properties of the building materials. These properties are essential for a holistic assessment.
Researches and demand for ecological building materials have been growing dramatically, particularly for insulating materials from renewable resources. Conventional design, constructions and conventional materials are still predominantly used in the world, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey.
The aim of this paper is to present a comparison between the use of conventional methods, constructions and materials against alternative solutions of renewable insulations materials application in wall constructions. Conventional walls are predominantly made of cement, bricks, Styrofoam, plaster and paint. For innovative walls, materials used for a wall 1 are: brick, wood fibre insulation, plaster, coat render, and for wall 2: timber, sheep’s wool insulation, brick, OSB board and plaster.  The test results indicate the amount of primary energy and CO2 emission that could be saved if renewable materials are used not only for insulation but for the construction as well. Findings also show great demand for a new clean technology in brick production that will save energy and CO2 emission. Our findings also show that renewable materials have more ecological advantages and present fewer health risks.
wall construction, natural insulation materials, primary energy, global warming potential, health

Last update: 30 December 2014

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