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Special Issue "Energy Efficient Building Design 2013"

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A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Nyuk Hien Wong (Website)

Department of Building, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Phone: +65 651 634 23
Interests: zero energy building; passive design; natural ventilation and thermal comfort; urban heat island effect; thermal benefits of green roof and green walls

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The impact of global warming and climate change on our living environment is significant and the main cause is the burning of fossil fuels to meet the world energy requirements. As buildings account for more than half of our energy consumption and humans spend the majority of our time indoor, it is important to move towards the construction of green buildings without sacrificing thermal comfort. In this special issue, the editor hopes to foster greater understanding of the application of passive building designs in achieving net zero energy (or carbon) consumption for buildings under various climate conditions. In addition, the behaviour and interaction of occupants with green building design in achieving optimal thermal comfort is an area suitable for further discussion. As the energy consumption of buildings depends on the interaction between their surrounding buildings and external environment, the effects of this interaction should be another interesting focus for discussion.

Prof. Dr. Nyuk Hien Wong
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. Energies is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly 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 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • green building design
  • passive building design
  • zero energy building
  • zero Carbon building
  • thermal comfort
  • indoor environment
  • building and human behavior
  • building and building interactions
  • building and environment interactions

Published Papers (21 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Experimental and Numerical Analysis of Thermal and Hygrometric Characteristics of Building Structures Employing Recycled Plastic Aggregates and Geopolymer Concrete
Energies 2013, 6(11), 6077-6101; doi:10.3390/en6116077
Received: 18 July 2013 / Revised: 18 October 2013 / Accepted: 8 November 2013 / Published: 21 November 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1857 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The correct estimation of building energy consumptions is assuming an always increasing importance, and a detailed reproduction of building structures, with all the single components involved, is necessary to achieve this aim. In addition, the current ecological development tries to limit the [...] Read more.
The correct estimation of building energy consumptions is assuming an always increasing importance, and a detailed reproduction of building structures, with all the single components involved, is necessary to achieve this aim. In addition, the current ecological development tries to limit the use of natural raw materials as building components, in favor of alternative (waste) materials, which ensure significant advantages from the economic, energetic and environmental point of views. In this work, dynamic heat and vapor transport in a typical three-dimensional (3D) building structure, involving different types of environmental-friendly concrete mixtures, have been simulated by using finite elements. In particular, the authors propose to substitute part of the aggregates with plastic waste and to use a fly ash based geopolymeric binder for the production of low conductivity concrete, to be employed in eco-efficient buildings. Concrete produced with natural limestone aggregates has been considered as the reference benchmark. The whole characterization of the different types of concrete tested in the present work has been obtained through laboratory experiments. The structure taken into account in the simulations is a 3D thermal bridge, typical of building envelopes. The thermal and hygrometric transient behavior of this structure, employing plastic waste in different percentages and geopolymer concrete, has been analyzed by the authors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Cost and CO2 Emission Optimization of Steel Reinforced Concrete Columns in High-Rise Buildings
Energies 2013, 6(11), 5609-5624; doi:10.3390/en6115609
Received: 29 August 2013 / Revised: 3 October 2013 / Accepted: 14 October 2013 / Published: 25 October 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (611 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The construction industry is a representative industry that consumes large amounts of energy and produces substantial pollution. The operation of a building accounts for a large portion of its total CO2 emissions. Most efforts are focused on improving the energy efficiency [...] Read more.
The construction industry is a representative industry that consumes large amounts of energy and produces substantial pollution. The operation of a building accounts for a large portion of its total CO2 emissions. Most efforts are focused on improving the energy efficiency related to the operation of a building. The relative importance of the energy and CO2 emissions from the construction materials increases with the increasing number of low-energy buildings. To minimize the life-cycle energy use of a building, the energy consumed from both materials in the construction phase as well as the energy consumed from the operation of the building must be reduced. In this study, an optimal design method for composite columns in high-rise buildings using a genetic algorithm is proposed to reduce cost and CO2 emissions from the structural materials in the construction phase. The proposed optimal method minimizes the total cost, including the additional cost calculated based on CO2 emissions from composite columns, while satisfying the structural design criteria and constructability conditions. The proposed optimal method is applied to an actual 35-story building, and the effective use of structural materials for the sustainable design of composite columns is investigated. It is shown that using more concrete than steel section and using high-strength materials are economically and environmentally effective methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Energy Saving Potentials of Phase Change Materials Applied to Lightweight Building Envelopes
Energies 2013, 6(10), 5219-5230; doi:10.3390/en6105219
Received: 21 August 2013 / Revised: 20 September 2013 / Accepted: 23 September 2013 / Published: 14 October 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (496 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Phase change materials (PCMs) have been considered as an innovative technology that can reduce the peak loads and heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) energy consumption in buildings. Basically they are substances capable of storing or releasing thermal energy as latent heat. [...] Read more.
Phase change materials (PCMs) have been considered as an innovative technology that can reduce the peak loads and heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) energy consumption in buildings. Basically they are substances capable of storing or releasing thermal energy as latent heat. Because the amount of latent heat absorbed or released is much larger than the sensible heat, the application of PCMs in buildings has significant potential to reduce energy consumption. However, because each PCM has its own phase change temperature, which is the temperature at which latent heat is absorbed or released, it is important to use an appropriate PCM for the purpose of building envelope design. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate the energy saving potentials in buildings when various PCMs with different phase change temperatures are applied to a lightweight building envelope by analyzing the thermal load characteristics. As results, the annual heating load increased at every phase change temperature, but the peak heating load decreased by 3.19% with heptadecane (phase change temperature 21 °C), and the lowest indoor temperature increased by 0.86 °C with heptadecane (phase change temperature 21 °C). The annual cooling load decreased by 1.05% with dodecanol (phase change temperature 24 °C), the peak cooling load decreased by 1.30% with octadecane (phase change temperature 29 °C), and the highest indoor temperature dropped by 0.50 °C with octadecane (phase change temperature 29 °C). When the night ventilation was applied to the building HVAC system for better passive cooling performance, the annual cooling load decreased by 9.28% with dodecanol (phase change temperature 24 °C), the peak load decreased by 11.33% with octadecane (phase change temperature 29 °C), and the highest indoor temperature dropped by 0.85 °C with octadecane (phase change temperature 29 °C). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Development of Innovative Heating and Cooling Systems Using Renewable Energy Sources for Non-Residential Buildings
Energies 2013, 6(10), 5114-5129; doi:10.3390/en6105114
Received: 29 August 2013 / Revised: 26 September 2013 / Accepted: 27 September 2013 / Published: 9 October 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (4647 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Industrial and commercial areas are synonymous with high energy consumption, both for heating/cooling and electric power requirements, which are in general associated to a massive use of fossil fuels producing consequent greenhouse gas emissions. Two pilot systems, co-funded by the Italian Ministry [...] Read more.
Industrial and commercial areas are synonymous with high energy consumption, both for heating/cooling and electric power requirements, which are in general associated to a massive use of fossil fuels producing consequent greenhouse gas emissions. Two pilot systems, co-funded by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, have been created to upgrade the heating/cooling systems of two existing buildings on the largest industrial estate in Umbria, Italy. The upgrade was specifically designed to improve the system efficiency and to cover the overall energy which needs with renewable energy resources. In both cases a solar photovoltaic plant provides the required electric power. The first system features a geothermal heat pump with an innovative layout: a heat-storage water tank, buried just below ground level, allows a significant reduction of the geothermal unit size, hence requiring fewer and/or shorter boreholes (up to 60%–70%). In the other system a biomass boiler is coupled with an absorption chiller machine, controlling the indoor air temperature in both summer and winter. In this case, lower electricity consumption, if compared to an electric compression chiller, is obtained. The first results of the monitoring of summer cooling are presented and an evaluation of the performance of the two pilot systems is given. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of the Economic and Environmental Impact of Double Glazed Façade Ventilation Systems in Mediterranean Climates
Energies 2013, 6(10), 5069-5087; doi:10.3390/en6105069
Received: 5 June 2013 / Revised: 18 September 2013 / Accepted: 18 September 2013 / Published: 30 September 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1512 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Free convection is the most often used method in order to reduce solar load gains on a building with double glazed façades (DGFs). However, depending on the climate factors, the thermal performance of a DGF may not be satisfactory and extra energy [...] Read more.
Free convection is the most often used method in order to reduce solar load gains on a building with double glazed façades (DGFs). However, depending on the climate factors, the thermal performance of a DGF may not be satisfactory and extra energy costs are required to obtain suitable comfort conditions inside the building. Forced ventilation systems are a feasible alternative to improve the thermal performance of a DGF in Mediterranean climates where large solar gains are a permanent condition throughout the year. In this paper the feasibility of using diverse forced ventilation methods in DGF is evaluated. In addition, an economical comparison between different mechanical ventilation systems was performed in order to demonstrate the viability of DGF forced ventilation. Moreover, an environmental study was carried out to prove the positive energetic balance on cooling loads between free and forced convection in DGF for Mediterranean climates. For this investigation, a CFD model was used to simulate the thermal conditions in a DGF for the different ventilation systems. Results obtained for heat flux, temperature and reductions in solar load gains were analyzed and applied for the economic and environmental research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Saving Building Energy through Advanced Control Strategies
Energies 2013, 6(9), 4769-4785; doi:10.3390/en6094769
Received: 3 June 2013 / Revised: 22 August 2013 / Accepted: 2 September 2013 / Published: 10 September 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (659 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article presents an analysis of the relationship between building energy usage and building control system operation and performance. A method is presented for estimating the energy saving potential of improvements in building and control system operation, including the relative impact of [...] Read more.
This article presents an analysis of the relationship between building energy usage and building control system operation and performance. A method is presented for estimating the energy saving potential of improvements in building and control system operation, including the relative impact of recommssioning and hardware and software upgrades, based on a subjective assessment of the level of energy efficient design and the energy usage of the building relative to similar buildings as indicated by the Energy Utilization Index for the building. The method introduces a Building Design Index and a Building Operating Index to evaluate building energy performance versus similar buildings, and uses these indices to estimate potential savings and effectiveness of control system improvements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Towards Energy Efficiency: Forecasting Indoor Temperature via Multivariate Analysis
Energies 2013, 6(9), 4639-4659; doi:10.3390/en6094639
Received: 1 July 2013 / Revised: 17 August 2013 / Accepted: 21 August 2013 / Published: 9 September 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (460 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The small medium large system (SMLsystem) is a house built at the Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera (CEU-UCH) for participation in the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition. Several technologies have been integrated to reduce power consumption. One of these is a forecasting system based [...] Read more.
The small medium large system (SMLsystem) is a house built at the Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera (CEU-UCH) for participation in the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition. Several technologies have been integrated to reduce power consumption. One of these is a forecasting system based on artificial neural networks (ANNs), which is able to predict indoor temperature in the near future using captured data by a complex monitoring system as the input. A study of the impact on forecasting performance of different covariate combinations is presented in this paper. Additionally, a comparison of ANNs with the standard statistical forecasting methods is shown. The research in this paper has been focused on forecasting the indoor temperature of a house, as it is directly related to HVAC—heating, ventilation and air conditioning—system consumption. HVAC systems at the SMLsystem house represent 53:89% of the overall power consumption. The energy used to maintain temperature was measured to be 30%–38:9% of the energy needed to lower it. Hence, these forecasting measures allow the house to adapt itself to future temperature conditions by using home automation in an energy-efficient manner. Experimental results show a high forecasting accuracy and therefore, they might be used to efficiently control an HVAC system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Method for Cost-Benefit Analysis of Improved Indoor Climate Conditions and Reduced Energy Consumption in Office Buildings
Energies 2013, 6(9), 4591-4606; doi:10.3390/en6094591
Received: 23 May 2013 / Revised: 22 August 2013 / Accepted: 22 August 2013 / Published: 3 September 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1488 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Indoor climate affects health and productivity of the occupants in office buildings, yet in many buildings of this type indoor climate conditions are not well-controlled due to insufficient heating or cooling capacity, high swings of external or internal heat loads, improper control [...] Read more.
Indoor climate affects health and productivity of the occupants in office buildings, yet in many buildings of this type indoor climate conditions are not well-controlled due to insufficient heating or cooling capacity, high swings of external or internal heat loads, improper control or operation of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, etc. However, maintenance of good indoor environmental conditions in buildings requires increased investments and possible higher energy consumption. This paper focuses on the relation between investment costs for retrofitting HVAC equipment as well as decreased energy use and improved performance of occupants in office buildings. The cost-benefit analysis implementation algorithm is presented in this paper, including energy survey of the building, estimation of occupants dissatisfied by key indoor climate indicators using questionnaire survey and measurements. Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) analysis is used in the proposed method for data processing. A case study of an office building is presented in order to introduce an application example of the proposed method. Results of the study verify the applicability of the proposed algorithm and TOPSIS analysis as a practical tool for office building surveys in order to maximize productivity by means of cost efficient technical building retrofitting solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle BubbleZERO—Design, Construction and Operation of a Transportable Research Laboratory for Low Exergy Building System Evaluation in the Tropics
Energies 2013, 6(9), 4551-4571; doi:10.3390/en6094551
Received: 31 May 2013 / Revised: 27 August 2013 / Accepted: 28 August 2013 / Published: 2 September 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (2296 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We present the design, construction and operation of a novel building systems laboratory, the BubbleZERO—Zero Emission Research Operation. Our objective was to design a space to evaluate the performance of Swiss-developed low exergy building systems in the tropical climate of Singapore using [...] Read more.
We present the design, construction and operation of a novel building systems laboratory, the BubbleZERO—Zero Emission Research Operation. Our objective was to design a space to evaluate the performance of Swiss-developed low exergy building systems in the tropical climate of Singapore using an integrated design approach. The method we employed for evaluation in the tropics was to design and build a test bed out of the shipping containers that transported the prototype low exergy systems from Switzerland to Singapore. This approach resulted in a novel laboratory environment containing radiant cooling panels and decentralized air supply, along with a self-shading, inflated “bubble” skin, experimental low emissivity (LowE) glazing, LED lighting, wireless sensors and distributed control. The laboratory evaluates and demonstrates for the first time in Singapore an integrated high-temperature cooling system with separate demand-controlled ventilation adapted for the tropics. It is a functional lab testing system in real tropical conditions. As such, the results showing the ability to mitigate the risk of condensation by maintaining a dew point below 18 °C by the separate decentralized ventilation are significant and necessary for potential future implementation in buildings. In addition, the control system provides new proof of concept for distributed wireless sensors and control for reliable automation of the systems. These key results are presented along with the integrated design process and real-life tropical operation of the laboratory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Seasonal Energy Efficiency Strategies of a Double Skin Façade in a Monsoon Climate Region
Energies 2013, 6(9), 4352-4376; doi:10.3390/en6094352
Received: 14 June 2013 / Revised: 24 July 2013 / Accepted: 7 August 2013 / Published: 23 August 2013
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (2667 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As climate change and global warming have become two of the most significant environmental issues today, the double-skin façade (DSF) is getting considerable attention as an energy-efficient passive design. This study is aimed at assessing the seasonal energy efficiency strategies of a [...] Read more.
As climate change and global warming have become two of the most significant environmental issues today, the double-skin façade (DSF) is getting considerable attention as an energy-efficient passive design. This study is aimed at assessing the seasonal energy efficiency strategies of a DSF targeting library facilities in the climate region with hot summers and cold winters. Toward this end, this study was conducted in four steps: (i) establishment of seasonal energy-efficient strategies; (ii) application of seasonal energy-efficient strategies; (iii) analysis of energy saving effect by season; and (iv) life cycle cost and life cycle CO2 analyses for selecting an optimal DSF. Results show that a shaft box DSF energy model (EMS) #2, which applied winter strategies, was optimal with an energy saving rate of 4.13%, while a multi-story DSF energy model (EMM) #5, which applied summer strategies, was optimal with an energy saving rate of 12.67%. In terms of savings to investment ratio (SIR40) and breakeven point (BEP40), the multi-story DSF (3.20; 9 years) was superior. The results of this study can be used for (i) seasonal energy efficiency strategies of a DSF in East Asian monsoon climates, and (ii) as a guideline for the application of a DSF both in existing and new buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Thermal Efficiency Comparison of Borehole Heat Exchangers with Different Drillhole Diameters
Energies 2013, 6(8), 4187-4206; doi:10.3390/en6084187
Received: 10 May 2013 / Revised: 8 July 2013 / Accepted: 22 July 2013 / Published: 19 August 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2213 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Thermal efficiency of borehole heat exchangers (BHE) is of crucial importance for the design and optimization of ground source heat pump (GSHP) system. This paper investigates thermal efficiency of a BHE with three drillhole diameters: 121 mm, 165 mm and 180 mm. [...] Read more.
Thermal efficiency of borehole heat exchangers (BHE) is of crucial importance for the design and optimization of ground source heat pump (GSHP) system. This paper investigates thermal efficiency of a BHE with three drillhole diameters: 121 mm, 165 mm and 180 mm. The BHE was installed in a GSHP system of an office building located in Nuremberg, Germany. Thermal properties and hydraulic properties of the ground where the BHE was installed have been measured by thermal response tests as well as pumping tests. Furthermore, the evaluation of thermal performance is made possible by monitoring operation of the GSHP system. Using the recorded data, thermal exchange rates have been calculated and compared in a daily period as well as a seasonal period. The daily statistics indicate that the thermal exchange rate of the BHE increases with larger drillhole diameter. For the seasonal cooling performance, the amount of thermal exchange of BHE with 165 mm and 180 mm diameters was found to be 3.2% and 7.1% larger than that of the BHE with 121 mm diameter, respectively. These findings provide helpful suggestions for the design of future GSHP systems to achieve higher energy-efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Optimum Application of Thermal Factors to Artificial Neural Network Models for Improvement of Control Performance in Double Skin-Enveloped Buildings
Energies 2013, 6(8), 4223-4245; doi:10.3390/en6084223
Received: 4 June 2013 / Revised: 4 August 2013 / Accepted: 5 August 2013 / Published: 19 August 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (851 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study proposes an artificial neural network (ANN)-based thermal control method for buildings with double skin envelopes that has rational relationships between the ANN model input and output. The relationship between the indoor air temperature and surrounding environmental factors was investigated based [...] Read more.
This study proposes an artificial neural network (ANN)-based thermal control method for buildings with double skin envelopes that has rational relationships between the ANN model input and output. The relationship between the indoor air temperature and surrounding environmental factors was investigated based on field measurement data from an actual building. The results imply that the indoor temperature was not significantly influenced by vertical solar irradiance, but by the outdoor and cavity temperature. Accordingly, a new ANN model developed in this study excluded solar irradiance as an input variable for predicting the future indoor temperature. The structure and learning method of this new ANN model was optimized, followed by the performance tests of a variety of internal and external envelope opening strategies for the heating and cooling seasons. The performance tests revealed that the optimized ANN-based logic yielded better temperature conditions than the non-ANN based logic. This ANN-based logic increased overall comfortable periods and decreased the frequency of overshoots and undershoots out of the thermal comfort range. The ANN model proved that it has the potential to be successfully applied in the temperature control logic for double skin-enveloped buildings. The ANN model, which was proposed in this study, effectively predicted future indoor temperatures for the diverse opening strategies. The ANN-based logic optimally determined the operation of heating and cooling systems as well as opening conditions for the double skin envelopes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Numerical Investigation of the Thermal Management Performance of MEPCM Modules for PV Applications
Energies 2013, 6(8), 3922-3936; doi:10.3390/en6083922
Received: 28 May 2013 / Revised: 12 July 2013 / Accepted: 26 July 2013 / Published: 6 August 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (466 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The efficiency of photovoltaic modules decreases as the cell temperature increases. It is necessary to have an adequate thermal management mechanism for a photovoltaic module, especially when combined with a building construction system. This study aims to investigate via computational fluid dynamics [...] Read more.
The efficiency of photovoltaic modules decreases as the cell temperature increases. It is necessary to have an adequate thermal management mechanism for a photovoltaic module, especially when combined with a building construction system. This study aims to investigate via computational fluid dynamics simulations the heat transfer characteristics and thermal management performance of microencapsulated phase change material modules for photovoltaic applications under temporal variations of daily solar irradiation. The results show that the aspect ratio of the microencapsulated phase change material layer has significant effects on the heat transfer characteristics and the overall thermal performance of the two cases examined with different melting points (26 °C and 34 °C) are approximately the same. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Use of LCA as a Tool for Building Ecodesign. A Case Study of a Low Energy Building in Spain
Energies 2013, 6(8), 3901-3921; doi:10.3390/en6083901
Received: 3 June 2013 / Revised: 15 July 2013 / Accepted: 22 July 2013 / Published: 2 August 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (452 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper demonstrates how to achieve energy savings in the construction and operation of buildings by promoting the use of life cycle assessment techniques in the design for new buildings and for refurbishment. The paper aims to draw on the application of [...] Read more.
This paper demonstrates how to achieve energy savings in the construction and operation of buildings by promoting the use of life cycle assessment techniques in the design for new buildings and for refurbishment. The paper aims to draw on the application of a specific methodology for low energy consumption, integrated planning, environmental performance evaluation of buildings, and design for sustainability and LCA techniques applied to buildings. The ENergy Saving through promotion of LIfe Cycle assessment in buildings (ENSLIC) methodology based on LCA for use in an integral planning process has been promoted to stakeholders who require a means to optimize the environmental performance of buildings. Feedback from the stakeholders has facilitated the creation of simplified LCA guidelines, a systematic approach guiding the user through the alternative options regarding software choices, their strengths and weaknesses, the databases available, the usefulness of different indicators, aggregation, definition of limits and options for simplifying the process. As a result, this paper presents the applied results of a case study where this methodology is implemented serving as an energy savings evaluation tool for decision makers, end-users, professionals involved in the different stages of construction, etc. Finally, it is demonstrated how LCA can facilitate comparisons between different buildings, showing the influence of all variables on a building’s life cycle environmental impact and showing the potential for energy savings. Removing market barriers to sustainable construction is actually stricter and this is good news for promoting higher energy efficiency in buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Infrared Screening of Residential Buildings for Energy Audit Purposes: Results of a Field Test
Energies 2013, 6(8), 3859-3878; doi:10.3390/en6083859
Received: 3 July 2013 / Revised: 20 July 2013 / Accepted: 22 July 2013 / Published: 30 July 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (577 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the European Union (EU), the building sector is responsible for approximately 40% of total energy consumption. The existing building stock is inefficient and can, and indeed must be retrofitted to address this issue. The practical implementation of the European strategies requires [...] Read more.
In the European Union (EU), the building sector is responsible for approximately 40% of total energy consumption. The existing building stock is inefficient and can, and indeed must be retrofitted to address this issue. The practical implementation of the European strategies requires knowledge of the energy performance of existing buildings through energy audit techniques. Application of thermography in the fields of energy are very widespread, since, through such a non-invasive investigation, and through correct interpretation of infrared images, it is possible to highlight inefficiencies in buildings and related facilities. The paper shows and discusses the results of an infrared audit campaign on 14 existing buildings located in Milan Province (Italy) made in different construction periods and characterised, therefore, by different building technologies. The U-values obtained in an indirect way through the thermography of the opaque walls of the buildings investigated, were compared with the actual known values in order to verify the reliability of the method and the possible margin of error. The study indicated that the category of buildings in which the application of this method is sufficiently reliable is that of solid-mass structure buildings, the most widespread in Italy, whereas in the case of buildings whose external walls are insulated, the percentage of deviation is very high. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Development of Clay Tile Coatings for Steep-Sloped Cool Roofs
Energies 2013, 6(8), 3637-3653; doi:10.3390/en6083637
Received: 24 June 2013 / Revised: 15 July 2013 / Accepted: 17 July 2013 / Published: 24 July 2013
Cited by 29 | PDF Full-text (1247 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most of the pitched roofs of existing buildings in Europe are covered by non-white roofing products, e.g., clay tiles. Typical, cost effective, cool roof solutions are not applicable to these buildings due to important constraints deriving from: (i) the owners of homes [...] Read more.
Most of the pitched roofs of existing buildings in Europe are covered by non-white roofing products, e.g., clay tiles. Typical, cost effective, cool roof solutions are not applicable to these buildings due to important constraints deriving from: (i) the owners of homes with roofs visible from the ground level; (ii) the regulation about the preservation of the historic architecture and the minimization of the visual environment impact, in particular in historic centers. In this perspective, the present paper deals with the development of high reflective coatings with the purpose to elaborate “cool” tiles with the same visual appearance of traditional tiles for application to historic buildings. Integrated experimental analyses of reflectance, emittance, and superficial temperature were carried out. Deep analysis of the reflectance spectra is undertaken to evaluate the effect of different mineral pigments, binders, and an engobe basecoat. Two tile typologies are investigated: substrate-basecoat-topcoat three-layer tile and substrate-topcoat two-layer tile. The main results show that the developed coatings are able to increase the overall solar reflectance by more than 20% with acceptable visual appearance, suitable for application in historic buildings. Additionally, the effect of a substrate engobe layer allows some further contribution to the increase of the overall reflectance characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Determining Adaptability Performance of Artificial Neural Network-Based Thermal Control Logics for Envelope Conditions in Residential Buildings
Energies 2013, 6(7), 3548-3570; doi:10.3390/en6073548
Received: 17 June 2013 / Revised: 4 July 2013 / Accepted: 4 July 2013 / Published: 18 July 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (970 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines the performance and adaptability of Artificial Neural Network (ANN)-based thermal control strategies for diverse thermal properties of building envelope conditions applied to residential buildings. The thermal performance using two non-ANN-based control logics and two predictive ANN-based control logics was [...] Read more.
This study examines the performance and adaptability of Artificial Neural Network (ANN)-based thermal control strategies for diverse thermal properties of building envelope conditions applied to residential buildings. The thermal performance using two non-ANN-based control logics and two predictive ANN-based control logics was numerically tested using simulation software after validation. The performance tests were conducted for a two-story single-family house for various envelope insulation levels and window-to-wall ratios on the envelopes. The percentages of the period within the targeted ranges for air temperature, humidity and PMV, and the magnitudes of the overshoots and undershoots outside of the targeted comfort range were analyzed for each control logic scheme. The results revealed that the two predictive control logics that employed thermal predictions of the ANN models achieved longer periods of thermal comfort than the non-ANN-based models in terms of the comfort periods and the reductions of the magnitudes of the overshoots and undershoots. The ANN-based models proved their adaptability through accurate control of the thermal conditions in buildings with various architectural variables. The ANN-based predictive control methods demonstrated their potential to create more comfortable thermal conditions in single-family homes compared to non-ANN based control logics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings of the Lombardy Region (Italy), a Case Study of High-Energy Performance Buildings
Energies 2013, 6(7), 3506-3527; doi:10.3390/en6073506
Received: 28 May 2013 / Revised: 10 July 2013 / Accepted: 11 July 2013 / Published: 16 July 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1007 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The topic of nearly zero-energy buildings (n-ZEB), introduced by the Directive 2010/31/EU will direct the building market toward ever greater energy efficiency of new buildings. In some contexts, however, the building market for high-efficiency buildings has evolved, in recent years, on the [...] Read more.
The topic of nearly zero-energy buildings (n-ZEB), introduced by the Directive 2010/31/EU will direct the building market toward ever greater energy efficiency of new buildings. In some contexts, however, the building market for high-efficiency buildings has evolved, in recent years, on the basis of national and regional laws that have contributed to the acceleration of the process. This paper analyses the case study of the Lombardy Region (Italy), which transposed and assimilated the Directive 91/2002 (Energy Performance Building Directive), as of 2006, with regional legislation for energy efficiency of buildings. Within a few years the market for high energy-performance of buildings in the Lombardy Region had grown substantially: to date nearly 7500 energy performance certificates for buildings of Class A and Class A+ have been issued. The paper therefore analyses a success story in what is a field of great current interest, namely n-ZEB buildings. In the first part of the work, the evolution in terms of energy efficiency of the housing market in the Lombardy Region has been analyzed, with particular reference to the high energy-performance of buildings. The second part focuses on a sample of 20 n-ZEB buildings in order to highlight the design choices applied to them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Exploring Ventilation Efficiency in Poultry Buildings: The Validation of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in a Cross-Mechanically Ventilated Broiler Farm
Energies 2013, 6(5), 2605-2623; doi:10.3390/en6052605
Received: 8 April 2013 / Revised: 13 May 2013 / Accepted: 14 May 2013 / Published: 21 May 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (864 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Broiler production in modern poultry farms commonly uses mechanical ventilation systems. This mechanical ventilation requires an amount of electric energy and a high level of investment in technology. Nevertheless, broiler production is affected by periodic problems of mortality because of thermal stress, [...] Read more.
Broiler production in modern poultry farms commonly uses mechanical ventilation systems. This mechanical ventilation requires an amount of electric energy and a high level of investment in technology. Nevertheless, broiler production is affected by periodic problems of mortality because of thermal stress, thus being crucial to explore the ventilation efficiency. In this article, we analyze a cross-mechanical ventilation system focusing on air velocity distribution. In this way, two methodologies were used to explore indoor environment in livestock buildings: Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations and direct measurements for verification and validation (V&V) of CFD. In this study, a validation model using a Generalized Linear Model (GLM) was conducted to compare these methodologies. The results showed that both methodologies were similar in results: the average of air velocities values were 0.60 ± 0.56 m s−1 for CFD and 0.64 ± 0.54 m s−1 for direct measurements. In conclusion, the air velocity was not affected by the methodology (CFD or direct measurements), and the CFD simulations were therefore validated to analyze indoor environment of poultry farms and its operations. A better knowledge of the indoor environment may contribute to reduce the demand of electric energy, increasing benefits and improving the thermal comfort of broilers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)
Open AccessArticle Analysis and Assessments of Combined Cooling, Heating and Power Systems in Various Operation Modes for a Building in China, Dalian
Energies 2013, 6(5), 2446-2467; doi:10.3390/en6052446
Received: 17 December 2012 / Revised: 13 March 2013 / Accepted: 26 April 2013 / Published: 8 May 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1310 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Combined Cooling, Heating and Power (CCHP) systems have been widely used in different kinds of buildings to make better use of fuels because of their high overall efficiency. This paper presents a mathematical analysis of a CCHP system in comparison to a [...] Read more.
Combined Cooling, Heating and Power (CCHP) systems have been widely used in different kinds of buildings to make better use of fuels because of their high overall efficiency. This paper presents a mathematical analysis of a CCHP system in comparison to a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. The operation strategies following electric load (FEL), thermal load (FTL) and a hybrid electric-thermal load (FHL) are proposed and investigated in this study. Criteria, namely primary energy saving (PES), exergy efficiency (ηexergy), and CO2 emission reduction (CER) are defined to evaluate the performances of CCHP systems for a hypothetical building located in Dalian (China). The results indicate that: (1) a new mathematical foundation is established to find whether the recovered thermal energy and the amount of electricity generated by the power generation unit (PGU) are enough to provide the energy required; (2) the CCHP system does not always perform better than a HVAC system from an instantaneous perspective, especially in FTL mode; (3) the CCHP system in FEL operation mode can be seen as a suitable energy system in Dalian from the annual performance perspective. Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis is presented in order to show how the performances vary due to the changes of various technical variables. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)

Review

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Open AccessReview A Literature Review on Heating of Ventilation Air with Large Diameter Earth Tubes in Cold Climates
Energies 2013, 6(8), 3734-3743; doi:10.3390/en6083734
Received: 4 June 2013 / Revised: 13 July 2013 / Accepted: 16 July 2013 / Published: 25 July 2013
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Abstract
Earth-air heat exchange (EAHE) systems offer the possibility of reducing use of nonrenewable energy for heating ventilation air in cold climates. The number of installations of large diameter (greater than 900 mm) EAHE systems reported for cold climates is small. Even less [...] Read more.
Earth-air heat exchange (EAHE) systems offer the possibility of reducing use of nonrenewable energy for heating ventilation air in cold climates. The number of installations of large diameter (greater than 900 mm) EAHE systems reported for cold climates is small. Even less has been reported on their heating performance, but the available information suggests that further rigorous assessment is warranted to determine whether the reported better than expected temperature rise is supported and, if so, the reasons for this. Another concern is the possibility of long-term heat depletion in the surrounding soil, which would affect performance. Only a couple of short-term experimental studies of ground temperature effects of heating with EAHE were found for cool climates. Four articles that addressed ground temperature effects with horizontal ground source heat pump exchangers had conflicting findings regarding heat depletion in the soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficient Building Design 2013)

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