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Special Issue "15th CIRIAF National Congress – Environmental Footprint and Sustainable Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2015)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Pietro Buzzini

Department of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science, University of Perugia, 06125 Perugia, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39-075-5856455
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Francesco Asdrubali

Department of Engineering, Roma Tre University, Via Vito Volterra, 62, 00146 Roma, Italy
E-Mail
Phone: 06-57336487 mobile: 329-4103927

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

CIRIAF (Inter-University Research Center on Pollution and Environment “Mauro Felli)” is a research center, based at the University of Perugia, which promotes interdisciplinary research activities in the fields of environmental pollution and its health and socio-economic effects, sustainable development, renewable and alternative energy, energy planning, sustainable mobility. 100 professors from 14 different Italian universities are involved in the activities of the centre.

The CIRIAF National Congress, at its fifteen edition in 2015, has become, over time, an important event for researchers and experts (engineers, physicists, chemists, architects, doctors, economists) coming not only from the academic world, but also from Ministries, Environmental Agencies and local Authorities. The annual meeting in Perugia is an opportunity to discuss the issues related to Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development.

The 15th Congress, which took place in Perugia in the days 9-11 April 2015, was quite successful. 81 papers were presented during the Congress, divided into the following  Sessions in line with the congress tradition and in the meantime of great interest:

1) Environmental Footprint
2) Sustainable and Green Buildings
3) Environmental and Socio-Economic Sustainability
4) Renewable and Alternative Energies and Plants

A Special Session was also dedicated to EXPO 2015 “Feeding the Planet”, which was inaugurated in Milan just a few days after the Congress.  Sustainable agriculture materials and systems were discussed during this session.

As usual, the ceremony of the “Mauro Felli” award took  place during the Congress. The award, established to honor the memory of the founder and first Director of CIRIAF, is intended for young graduates, Ph.D. students or researchers who have carried out research activities in the fields of pollution from physical agents, effects of environmental pollution on humans or related issues.

Thanks to the agreement with the international publishing house MDPI, we are am happy to introduce you the Special issue of SUSTAINABILITY containing the best papers presented at the Congress.

The Special Issue will include the best papers presented at the Congress, selected by the Scientific Committee with the help of the various Chairmen of the Sessions.

Prof. Dr. Francesco Asdrubali
Prof. Pietro Buzzini
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability 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). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Environmental Footprint
  • Sustainable and Green Buildings
  • Environmental and Socio-Economic Sustainability
  • Renewable and Alternative Energies and Plants

Published Papers (32 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Recent Trends in the World Gas Market: Economical, Geopolitical and Environmental Aspects
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 154; doi:10.3390/su8020154
Received: 1 October 2015 / Revised: 28 January 2016 / Accepted: 30 January 2016 / Published: 16 February 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2163 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Natural gas is considered by energy experts to be the most promising fossil fuel for the 21st century, and as a matter of fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) introduced for the first time in the 2011 World Energy Outlook a high gas
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Natural gas is considered by energy experts to be the most promising fossil fuel for the 21st century, and as a matter of fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) introduced for the first time in the 2011 World Energy Outlook a high gas use scenario called the “Golden Age of Gas”. Natural gas is an easy to burn and clean fuel; its proven reserves are large and furthermore, enormous possibilities are offered by unconventional resources. There are anyway some geopolitical concerns in the global gas market, since the most important reserves are concentrated in a limited number of countries; the environmental impacts in the extraction of shale gas should also be taken into account. The paper presents an updated and thorough overview of recent advances and trends in the global gas market, highlighting the role of Europe in the World scenario. Statistical data from the main international reports are presented; economical, geopolitical and especially environmental aspects are presented and discussed. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Sustainable Acoustic Metasurfaces for Sound Control
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 107; doi:10.3390/su8020107
Received: 27 October 2015 / Revised: 5 January 2016 / Accepted: 15 January 2016 / Published: 22 January 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1278 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sound attenuation with conventional acoustic materials is subject to the mass law and requires massive and bulky structures at low frequencies. A possible alternative solution is provided by the use of metamaterials, which are artificial materials properly engineered to obtain properties and characteristics
[...] Read more.
Sound attenuation with conventional acoustic materials is subject to the mass law and requires massive and bulky structures at low frequencies. A possible alternative solution is provided by the use of metamaterials, which are artificial materials properly engineered to obtain properties and characteristics that it is not possible to find in natural materials. Theory and applications of metamaterials, already consolidated in electromagnetism, can be extended to acoustics; in particular, they can be applied to improve the properties of acoustical panels. The design of acoustic metasurfaces that could effectively control transmitted sound in unconventional ways appears a significant subject to be investigated, given its wide-ranging possible applications. In this contribution, we investigate the application of a metasurface-inspired technique to achieve the acoustical insulation of an environment. The designed surface has subwavelength thickness and structuring and could be realized with cheap, lightweight and sustainable materials. We present a few examples of such structures and analyze their acoustical behavior by means of full-wave simulations. Full article
Open AccessArticle Methodological Proposal for Optimal Location of Emergency Operation Centers through Multi-Criteria Approach
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 50; doi:10.3390/su8010050
Received: 17 September 2015 / Revised: 29 December 2015 / Accepted: 30 December 2015 / Published: 7 January 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1848 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Territorial vulnerability and risk analysis play a fundamental role in urban planning and emergency management. Requirements analysis of such aspects are possible to define more and more effective risk mitigation strategies providing efficient response plans to events. Many mitigation strategies as well as
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Territorial vulnerability and risk analysis play a fundamental role in urban planning and emergency management. Requirements analysis of such aspects are possible to define more and more effective risk mitigation strategies providing efficient response plans to events. Many mitigation strategies as well as many response plans have in common the purpose of minimizing response time in order to decrease the level of vulnerability of the concerning area. The response time to a perturbing event is in fact an essential parameter to define the hazard of the considered site and literature is unanimous in considering it. In this context, the article proposes a methodology for the optimization of the location on the territory of emergency operation centers (EOCs), reducing response times and mitigating in this way the vulnerability of the area. The proposed methodology is based on a multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) hybrid type AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process)-Electre. This method has been applied in the territory of Bressanone and Vipiteno (Bolzano-Italy), simulating the need to build a new barrack of Fire Department. A campaign of interviews with operators and industry experts and the collection of spatial data from the portals of the concerned authorities has been carried out in order to get the number of necessary data for the implementation of the proposed methodology. Full article
Open AccessArticle Waste Energy Recovery from Natural Gas Distribution Network: CELSIUS Project Demonstrator in Genoa
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16703-16719; doi:10.3390/su71215841
Received: 5 October 2015 / Revised: 1 December 2015 / Accepted: 14 December 2015 / Published: 18 December 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4706 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasing energy efficiency by the smart recovery of waste energy is the scope of the CELSIUS Project (Combined Efficient Large Scale Integrated Urban Systems). The CELSIUS consortium includes a world-leading partnership of outstanding research, innovation and implementation organizations, and gather competence and excellence
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Increasing energy efficiency by the smart recovery of waste energy is the scope of the CELSIUS Project (Combined Efficient Large Scale Integrated Urban Systems). The CELSIUS consortium includes a world-leading partnership of outstanding research, innovation and implementation organizations, and gather competence and excellence from five European cities with complementary baseline positions regarding the sustainable use of energy: Cologne, Genoa, Gothenburg, London, and Rotterdam. Lasting four-years and coordinated by the City of Gothenburg, the project faces with an holistic approach technical, economic, administrative, social, legal and political issues concerning smart district heating and cooling, aiming to establish best practice solutions. This will be done through the implementation of twelve new high-reaching demonstration projects, which cover the most major aspects of innovative urban heating and cooling for a smart city. The Genoa demonstrator was designed in order to recover energy from the pressure drop between the main supply line and the city natural gas network. The potential mechanical energy is converted to electricity by a turboexpander/generator system, which has been integrated in a combined heat and power plant to supply a district heating network. The performed energy analysis assessed natural gas saving and greenhouse gas reduction achieved through the smart systems integration. Full article
Open AccessArticle MuSAE: A European Project for the Diffusion of Energy and Environmental Planning in Small-Medium Sized Municipalities
Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 16435-16450; doi:10.3390/su71215823
Received: 27 October 2015 / Revised: 25 November 2015 / Accepted: 3 December 2015 / Published: 11 December 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2604 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The basic idea of the EU LIFE+ 2011 project MuSAE (“Municipalities Subsidiarity for Actions on Energy”, code LIFE11 ENV/IT/000016) consists of transferring the skills and experience related to energy planning, acquired by the leading beneficiary, the Municipality of Perugia, to three small- or
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The basic idea of the EU LIFE+ 2011 project MuSAE (“Municipalities Subsidiarity for Actions on Energy”, code LIFE11 ENV/IT/000016) consists of transferring the skills and experience related to energy planning, acquired by the leading beneficiary, the Municipality of Perugia, to three small- or medium-sized Umbrian Municipalities (Marsciano, Umbertide and Lisciano Niccone). This transfer is aimed, among other objectives, at the drafting of the Municipal Energy and Environmental Plan (MEEP) and the opening of an energy information office in each partner Municipality, in cooperation with CIRIAF and Umbria Region. The present paper provides a summary of MuSAE activities, analyzing the procedures and modalities of implementation of the various phases of the MEEPs, on the basis of the experience gained over the years through the collaboration with the Municipality of Perugia and adapted to smaller territories such as those represented by the other partner Municipalities. A summary of the dissemination activities and pilot projects is also presented, testifying the first concrete results of the planning activity developed by each administration within the project. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Method to Evaluate the Stimulation of a Real World Field of View by Means of a Spectroradiometric Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(11), 14964-14981; doi:10.3390/su71114964
Received: 4 August 2015 / Revised: 4 November 2015 / Accepted: 5 November 2015 / Published: 10 November 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2168 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Stimulation elicited by a real world field of view is related to the color, the intensity and the direction of the information reaching the eye: different spectral power distributions of light trigger different responses. An evaluation of the stimulation provided by the field
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Stimulation elicited by a real world field of view is related to the color, the intensity and the direction of the information reaching the eye: different spectral power distributions of light trigger different responses. An evaluation of the stimulation provided by the field of view can be performed by measuring the spectral radiance with a spectroradiometer and weighting this data with an efficiency curve. Different weights (physical, physiological and psychological) can lead to different analyses and consequently to different results. The proposed method allows an overall and simplified evaluation of the field of view based on spectral and luminance measures and a script that processes the luminous information. The final aim of this approach is to provide further information about the light stimulation reaching the retina and to supply a qualitative evaluation of the field of view, allowing to know how much stimulation is coming from a certain area within the visual field depending on the type of surface, basing on spectral and directional information. This approach can have practical implications, allowing technicians and designers to take into consideration the possible visual fields, in order to properly shape the features of stimulation throughout the day, hence following a field of view-based dynamic design. Full article
Open AccessArticle Carbon Footprint of Tree Nuts Based Consumer Products
Sustainability 2015, 7(11), 14917-14934; doi:10.3390/su71114917
Received: 23 July 2015 / Revised: 2 November 2015 / Accepted: 3 November 2015 / Published: 6 November 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (393 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This case study shows results of a calculation of carbon footprint (CFP) resulting from the production of nuts added value products for a large consumer market. Nuts consumption is increasing in the world and so is the consumer awareness of the environmental impact
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This case study shows results of a calculation of carbon footprint (CFP) resulting from the production of nuts added value products for a large consumer market. Nuts consumption is increasing in the world and so is the consumer awareness of the environmental impact of goods, hence the calculation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of food production is of growing importance for producers. Calculation of CO2eq emissions was performed for all stages of the production chain to the final retail point for flour, grains, paste, chocolate covered nuts and spreadable cream produced from almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts grown and transformed in Italy and for peanuts grown in Argentina and transformed in Italy. Data from literature was used to evaluate CFP of raw materials, emissions from transport and packing were calculated using existing models, while emissions deriving from transformation were calculated empirically by multiplying the power of production lines (electrical and/or thermal) by its productivity. All values were reported in kg of CO2 equivalent for each kg of packed product (net weight). Resulting values ranged between 1.2 g of CO2/kg for a 100 g bag of almond to 4.8 g of CO2/kg for the 100 g bag of chocolate covered almond. The calculation procedure can be well used for similar cases of large consumer food productions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Urban Lighting Project for a Small Town: Comparing Citizens and Authority Benefits
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14230-14244; doi:10.3390/su71014230
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 14 October 2015 / Accepted: 15 October 2015 / Published: 21 October 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2032 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The smart and resilient city evolves by slow procedures of mutation without radical changes, increasing the livability of its territory. The value of the city center in a Smart City can increase through urban lighting systems: its elements on the territory can collect
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The smart and resilient city evolves by slow procedures of mutation without radical changes, increasing the livability of its territory. The value of the city center in a Smart City can increase through urban lighting systems: its elements on the territory can collect and convey data to increase services to city users; the electrical system becomes the so-called Smart Grid. This paper presents a study of smart lighting for a small town, a touristic location inside a nature reserve on the Italian coast. Three different approaches have been proposed, from minimal to more invasive interventions, and their effect on the territory has been investigated. Based on street typology and its surroundings, the work analyzes the opportunity to introduce smart and useful services for the citizens starting from a retrofitting intervention. Smart city capabilities are examined, showing how it is possible to provide new services to the cities through ICT (Information and Communication Technology) without deep changes and simplifying the control of basic city functions. The results evidence an important impact on annual energy costs, suggesting smart grid planning not only for metropolis applications, but also in smaller towns, such as the examined one. Full article
Open AccessArticle A New Method to Energy Saving in a Micro Grid
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13904-13919; doi:10.3390/su71013904
Received: 11 June 2015 / Revised: 2 October 2015 / Accepted: 9 October 2015 / Published: 15 October 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3538 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-textRetraction
Abstract
Optimization of energy production systems is a relevant issue that must be considered in order to follow the fossil fuels consumption reduction policies and CO2 emission regulation. Increasing electricity production from renewable resources (e.g., photovoltaic systems and wind farms) is desirable but
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Optimization of energy production systems is a relevant issue that must be considered in order to follow the fossil fuels consumption reduction policies and CO2 emission regulation. Increasing electricity production from renewable resources (e.g., photovoltaic systems and wind farms) is desirable but its unpredictability is a cause of problems for the main grid stability. A system with multiple energy sources represents an efficient solution, by realizing an interface among renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, and conventional power generators. Direct consequences of multi-energy systems are a wider energy flexibility and benefits for the electric grid, the purpose of this paper is to propose the best technology combination for electricity generation from a mix of renewable energy resources to satisfy the electrical needs. The paper identifies the optimal off-grid option and compares this with conventional grid extension, through the use of HOMER software. The solution obtained shows that a hybrid combination of renewable energy generators at an off-grid location can be a cost-effective alternative to grid extension and it is sustainable, techno-economically viable, and environmentally sound. The results show how this innovative energetic approach can provide a cost reduction in power supply and energy fees of 40% and 25%, respectively, and CO2 emission decrease attained around 18%. Furthermore, the multi-energy system taken as the case study has been optimized through the utilization of three different type of energy storage (Pb-Ac batteries, flywheels, and micro—Compressed Air Energy Storage (C.A.E.S.). Full article
Open AccessArticle The Multifunctional Environmental Energy Tower: Carbon Footprint and Land Use Analysis of an Integrated Renewable Energy Plant
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13564-13584; doi:10.3390/su71013564
Received: 26 August 2015 / Revised: 21 September 2015 / Accepted: 30 September 2015 / Published: 2 October 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (4465 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Multifunctional Environmental Energy Tower (MEET) is a single, vertical, stand-alone renewable energy plant designed to decrease the primary energy consumption from fossil fuels, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to maximize the energy production from renewable sources available in place and to minimize
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The Multifunctional Environmental Energy Tower (MEET) is a single, vertical, stand-alone renewable energy plant designed to decrease the primary energy consumption from fossil fuels, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to maximize the energy production from renewable sources available in place and to minimize land use. A feasibility case study was performed for the city of Rome, Italy. Several technologies are exploited and integrated in a single system, including a photovoltaic plant, a geothermal plant and a biomass digester for urban organic waste and sewage sludge. In the proposed configuration, the MEET could cover more than 11% of the electric power demand and up to 3% of the space heating demand of the surrounding urban area. An LCA analysis evaluates the environmental impact in a cradle-to-grave approach for two impact categories: global warming (carbon footprint) and land use (land occupation and land transformation). The functional unit is a mix of electric (49.1%) and thermal (50.9%) energy (kWhmix). The carbon footprint is 48.70 g CO2eq/kWhmix; the land transformation is 4.058 m2/GWhmix; and the land occupation is 969.3 m2y/GWhmix. With respect to other energy production technologies, the carbon footprint is lower and similar to the best-performing ones (e.g., co-generation from wood chips); both of the land use indicators are considerably smaller than the least-impacting technologies. A systematic study was finally performed, and possible optimizations of the original design are proposed. Thanks to the modular design, the conceptual idea can be easily applied to other urban and non-urban scenarios. Full article
Open AccessArticle Blue Light Hazard and Risk Group Classification of 8 W LED Tubes, Replacing Fluorescent Tubes, through Optical Radiation Measurements
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13454-13468; doi:10.3390/su71013454
Received: 17 July 2015 / Revised: 23 September 2015 / Accepted: 24 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1039 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, the authors discuss the results of a measurement survey of artificial optical radiation emitted by 8 W LED tubes suitable for the substitution of 18 W fluorescent lamps used for general lighting. For both types of lamps, three different color
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In this paper, the authors discuss the results of a measurement survey of artificial optical radiation emitted by 8 W LED tubes suitable for the substitution of 18 W fluorescent lamps used for general lighting. For both types of lamps, three different color temperatures were chosen, 3000 K, 4000 K, and 6000 K. These measurements were performed to evaluate the photobiological safety of the sources. The radiance and irradiance values have been measured in a wide range of wavelengths (180–3000 nm). The measurement results obtained for the LED tubes have been compared to those of similar measurements obtained for fluorescent lamps. The analysis has been focused on the range of wavelengths 300–700 nm, the blue light range, which turned out to be defining for the risk groups of the lamps. This classification is a function of the maximum permissible exposure time as indicated in the European Standard EN 62471 on the photobiological safety of lamps and lamp systems. Full article
Open AccessArticle Willingness to Pay and Public Acceptance for Hydrogen Buses: A Case Study of Perugia
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13270-13289; doi:10.3390/su71013270
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 11 September 2015 / Accepted: 24 September 2015 / Published: 28 September 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (736 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability transportation is characterized by a positive externality on the environment, health, social security, land use and social inclusion. The increasing interest in global warming has caused attention to be paid to the introduction of the hydrogen bus (H2B). When introducing new environmental
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Sustainability transportation is characterized by a positive externality on the environment, health, social security, land use and social inclusion. The increasing interest in global warming has caused attention to be paid to the introduction of the hydrogen bus (H2B). When introducing new environmental technologies, such as H2B, it is often necessary to assess the environmental benefits related to this new technology. However, such benefits are typically non-priced due to their public good nature. Therefore, we have to address this problem using the contingent valuation (CV) method. This method has been developed within environmental economics as a means to economically assess environmental changes, which are typically not traded in the market. So far, several big cities have been analyzed to evaluate the perceived benefit related to H2B introduction, but to the best of our knowledge, no one has performed a CV analysis of a historical city where smog also damages historical buildings. This paper presents the results obtained using a multi-wave survey. We have investigated user preferences to elicit their willingness to pay for H2B introduction in Perugia, taking into account all types of negative externalities due to the traffic pollution. The results confirm that residents in Perugia are willing to pay extra to support the introduction of H2B. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Effects of Mitigation on Methane and Ammonia Production by Using Origanum vulgare L. and Rosmarinus officinalis L. Essential Oils on in Vitro Rumen Fermentation Systems
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12856-12869; doi:10.3390/su70912856
Received: 20 May 2015 / Revised: 1 September 2015 / Accepted: 16 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (760 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effects of increasing concentrations of oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) essentials oil (EO) on ruminal gas emissions were tested in vitro using 50 mL serum bottles. Each bottle contained a 200 mg substrate (alfalfa hay and
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The effects of increasing concentrations of oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) essentials oil (EO) on ruminal gas emissions were tested in vitro using 50 mL serum bottles. Each bottle contained a 200 mg substrate (alfalfa hay and corn meal 1:1) and a 20 mL solution composed of a buffered medium and rumen fluid (1:2). The percentage of ruminal fermentation products was quantified by an infrared analyzer. The reduction of total gas production was 6% and 9% respectively when using the 1.5 and 2.0 g/L oregano EO measurements. The reduction of methane production was 55%, 72% and 71% respectively with regard to the 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 g/L oregano EO doses, while rosemary EO (2.0 g/L) reduced the methane production by 9%. The production of ammonia was significantly reduced (59%–78%) by all treatments with the exception of rosemary EO at the lowest dose. Dry matter and neutral detergent fiber degradability was reduced by most of the treatments (respectively 4%–9% and 8%–24%). The total volatile fatty acids (VFA) concentration was markedly decreased by oregano EO and was not affected by rosemary EO. Both EOs mitigated rumen fermentations, but oregano EO gave rise to the highest reduction in methane and ammonia production. However, further research is needed to evaluate the use of these essential oils as dietary supplements by taking into account the negative effects on feed degradability. Full article
Open AccessArticle Small Wind Technology Diffusion in Suburban Areas of Sicily
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12693-12708; doi:10.3390/su70912693
Received: 19 May 2015 / Revised: 17 August 2015 / Accepted: 9 September 2015 / Published: 16 September 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2063 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Among renewable energy resources, wind energy became more attractive in the last decade. Wind farm installations dramatically increased in areas where climatic conditions, topography, and environment have allowed their development. The installation of wind turbines, usually carried out in remote areas, recently began
[...] Read more.
Among renewable energy resources, wind energy became more attractive in the last decade. Wind farm installations dramatically increased in areas where climatic conditions, topography, and environment have allowed their development. The installation of wind turbines, usually carried out in remote areas, recently began to cover areas identified by a complex terrain such as urban and suburban zones. Although these new plant choices are characterized by lower productivity, there is increasing interest in wind energy production in both urban and suburban areas. In this work the authors have carried out an energy analysis developed from a sample of small wind turbines available on the market. This study shows how variable the energy production of a small wind turbine can be according to many design and context parameters: wind profiles, installation height, land use, and characteristics of the turbine. Full article
Open AccessArticle Bayesian Analysis of Demand Elasticity in the Italian Electricity Market
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12127-12148; doi:10.3390/su70912127
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 18 August 2015 / Accepted: 21 August 2015 / Published: 2 September 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (820 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The liberalization of the Italian electricity market is a decade old. Within these last ten years, the supply side has been extensively analyzed, but not the demand side. The aim of this paper is to provide a new method for estimation of the
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The liberalization of the Italian electricity market is a decade old. Within these last ten years, the supply side has been extensively analyzed, but not the demand side. The aim of this paper is to provide a new method for estimation of the demand elasticity, based on Bayesian methods applied to the Italian electricity market. We used individual demand bids data in the day-ahead market in the Italian Power Exchange (IPEX), for 2011, in order to construct an aggregate demand function at the hourly level. We took into account the existence of both elastic and inelastic bidders on the demand side. The empirical results show that elasticity varies significantly during the day and across periods of the year. In addition, the elasticity hourly distribution is clearly skewed and more so in the daily hours. The Bayesian method is a useful tool for policy-making, insofar as the regulator can start with a priori historical information on market behavior and estimate actual market outcomes in response to new policy actions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Ethanol Production from Common Reed (Phragmites australis) through Simultaneuos Saccharification and Fermentation
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12149-12163; doi:10.3390/su70912149
Received: 8 June 2015 / Revised: 19 August 2015 / Accepted: 24 August 2015 / Published: 2 September 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1266 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Phragmites australis (common reed) is a perennial grass that grows in wetlands or near inland waterways. Due to its fast-growing properties and low requirement in nutrients and water, this arboreal variety is recognized as a promising source of renewable energy although it is
[...] Read more.
Phragmites australis (common reed) is a perennial grass that grows in wetlands or near inland waterways. Due to its fast-growing properties and low requirement in nutrients and water, this arboreal variety is recognized as a promising source of renewable energy although it is one of the least characterized energy crops. In this experiment, the optimization of the bioethanol production process from Phragmites australis was carried out. Raw material was first characterized according to the standard procedure (NREL) to evaluate its composition in terms of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin content. Common reed was pretreated by steam explosion process at three different severity factor (R0) values. The pretreatment was performed in order to reduce biomass recalcitrance and to make cellulose more accessible to enzymatic attack. After the pretreatment, a water insoluble substrate (WIS) rich in cellulose and lignin and a liquid fraction rich in pentose sugars (xylose and arabinose) and inhibitors were collected and analyzed. The simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) of the WIS was performed at three different solid loadings (SL) 10%, 15%, 20% (w/w). The same enzyme dosage, equal to 20% (g enzyme/g cellulose), was used for all the WIS loadings. The efficiency of the whole process was evaluated in terms of ethanol overall yield (g ethanol/100 g raw material). The maximum ethanol overall yields achieved were 16.56 and 15.80 g ethanol/100 g RM dry basis for sample AP10 and sample AP4.4, respectively. The yields were reached working at lower solid loading (10%) and at the intermediate LogR0 value for the former and at intermediate solid loading (15%) and high LogR0 value for the latter, respectively. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Water Footprint of the Wine Industry: Implementation of an Assessment Methodology and Application to a Case Study
Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 12190-12208; doi:10.3390/su70912190
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 24 August 2015 / Accepted: 28 August 2015 / Published: 2 September 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1938 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An original methodology for the Water Footprint Assessment (WFA) of a Product for the wine-making industry sector is presented, with a particular focus on the evaluation procedure of the grey water. Results obtained with the proposed methodology are also presented for an Italian
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An original methodology for the Water Footprint Assessment (WFA) of a Product for the wine-making industry sector is presented, with a particular focus on the evaluation procedure of the grey water. Results obtained with the proposed methodology are also presented for an Italian case study. The product was analyzed using a life-cycle approach, with the aim of studying the water volumes of each phase according to the newly-released ISO 14046 international standard. The functional unit chosen in this study is the common 0.75 liter wine bottle. An in-house software (V.I.V.A.) was implemented with the goal of accounting for all the contributions in a cradle-to-grave approach. At this stage, however, minor water volumes associated with some foreground and background processes are not assessed. The evaluation procedure was applied to a case study and green, blue, and grey water volumes were computed. Primary data were collected for a red wine produced by an Umbrian wine-making company. Results are in accordance with global average water footprint values from literature, showing a total WF of 632.2 L/bottle, with the major contribution (98.3%) given by green water, and minor contributions (1.2% and 0.5%) given by grey and blue water, respectively. A particular effort was dedicated to the definition of an improved methodology for the assessment of the virtual water volume required to dilute the load of pollutants on the environment below some reference level (Grey WF). The improved methodology was elaborated to assure the completeness of the water footprint assessment and to overcome some limitations of the reference approach. As a result, the overall WF can increase up to 3% in the most conservative hypotheses. Full article
Open AccessArticle Maintenance and Energy Optimization of Lighting Systems for the Improvement of Historic Buildings: A Case Study
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 10770-10788; doi:10.3390/su70810770
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 10 July 2015 / Accepted: 4 August 2015 / Published: 7 August 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (5802 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Proper lighting is vital to improve, from an artistic point of view, the surface expanse and decorative detailing of architectural heritage buildings considered valuable. When properly lit, monumental buildings can become to onlookers an essential part of the city. Nowadays, for design planners
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Proper lighting is vital to improve, from an artistic point of view, the surface expanse and decorative detailing of architectural heritage buildings considered valuable. When properly lit, monumental buildings can become to onlookers an essential part of the city. Nowadays, for design planners dealing with the improvement of buildings, whose architectural design should be valorized, the real challenge is to combine the lighting artistic requirements with scrupulous economic management in order to limit the energy demand and to respect the environment. For these reasons, this case study examines the lighting of the monumental façade and the cloister of St. Peter in Chains situated in the Faculty of Engineering of Sapienza University of Rome. The present lighting installation, characterized by metal halides, compact fluorescent and halogen lamps, is compared with an alternative scenario presenting LED lamps and scenographic lighting of the monumental façade. Such comparison is based on the evaluation of the lighting levels for different visual tasks and on energy and maintenance issues; the first analysis was performed through the software DIALux Evo 4.0, whereas the second was performed using ecoCALC. This study leads to the conclusion that the lighting levels of the solution presenting LED lamps are better than those of the present solution, and they comply with current standards. Finally, the higher costs of LED lamp installations and the scenographic lighting of the monumental façade are balanced by lower maintenance costs, with a payback period of seven years. Full article
Open AccessArticle Design of the Building Envelope: A Novel Multi-Objective Approach for the Optimization of Energy Performance and Thermal Comfort
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 10809-10836; doi:10.3390/su70810809
Received: 11 June 2015 / Revised: 26 July 2015 / Accepted: 4 August 2015 / Published: 7 August 2015
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (4584 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
According to the increasing worldwide attention to energy and the environmental performance of the building sector, building energy demand should be minimized by considering all energy uses. In this regard, the development of building components characterized by proper values of thermal transmittance, thermal
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According to the increasing worldwide attention to energy and the environmental performance of the building sector, building energy demand should be minimized by considering all energy uses. In this regard, the development of building components characterized by proper values of thermal transmittance, thermal capacity, and radiative properties is a key strategy to reduce the annual energy need for the microclimatic control. However, the design of the thermal characteristics of the building envelope is an arduous task, especially in temperate climates where the energy demands for space heating and cooling are balanced. This study presents a novel methodology for optimizing the thermo-physical properties of the building envelope and its coatings, in terms of thermal resistance, capacity, and radiative characteristics of exposed surfaces. A multi-objective approach is adopted in order to optimize energy performance and thermal comfort. The optimization problem is solved by means of a Genetic Algorithm implemented in MATLAB®, which is coupled with EnergyPlus for performing dynamic energy simulations. For demonstration, the methodology is applied to a residential building for two different Mediterranean climates: Naples and Istanbul. The results show that for Naples, because of the higher incidence of cooling demand, cool external coatings imply significant energy savings, whereas the insulation of walls should be high but not excessive (no more than 13–14 cm). The importance of high-reflective coating is clear also in colder Mediterranean climates, like Istanbul, although the optimal thicknesses of thermal insulation are higher (around 16–18 cm). In both climates, the thermal envelope should have a significant mass, obtainable by adopting dense and/or thick masonry layers. Globally, a careful design of the thermal envelope is always necessary in order to achieve high-efficiency buildings. Full article
Open AccessArticle In Situ Thermal Transmittance Measurements for Investigating Differences between Wall Models and Actual Building Performance
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 10388-10398; doi:10.3390/su70810388
Received: 19 June 2015 / Revised: 23 July 2015 / Accepted: 28 July 2015 / Published: 5 August 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (1727 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An accurate assessment of a building’s wall performance, defined through the thermal transmittance, is essential to compute the annual energy consumption. Analyzing opaque surfaces, the heat transfer across walls can be modeled by an electro-thermal analogy, based on resistors series, crossed by a
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An accurate assessment of a building’s wall performance, defined through the thermal transmittance, is essential to compute the annual energy consumption. Analyzing opaque surfaces, the heat transfer across walls can be modeled by an electro-thermal analogy, based on resistors series, crossed by a one-dimensional heat flow. This analogy is well established and it refers to stratigraphy composed of homogeneous materials. When dealing with inhomogeneous materials, possibly including hollow bricks, the wall’s thermal transmittance is evaluated by means of an effective conductance. However, in order to verify the theoretical models effectiveness, a comparison with in situ measurements is needed. In this paper, three building walls characterized by different stratigraphy have been analyzed; by employing a heat flow meter investigation. Measurements results and estimated thermal transmittance values—calculated applying the standard UNI EN ISO 6946—have been compared. Full article
Open AccessArticle Methodological Approach to the Energy Analysis of Unconstrained Historical Buildings
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 10428-10444; doi:10.3390/su70810428
Received: 9 June 2015 / Revised: 24 July 2015 / Accepted: 31 July 2015 / Published: 5 August 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The goal set by the EU of quasi-zero energy buildings is not easy to reach for a country like Italy, as it holds a wide number of UNESCO sites and most of them are entire historical old towns. This paper focuses on the
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The goal set by the EU of quasi-zero energy buildings is not easy to reach for a country like Italy, as it holds a wide number of UNESCO sites and most of them are entire historical old towns. This paper focuses on the problem of the improvement of energy performance of historical Italian architecture through simple interventions that respect the building without changing its shape and structure. The work starts from an energy analysis of a building located in the historic center of Tivoli, a town close to Rome. The analysis follows the recommendations of the UNI TS 11300-Part1, which indicates how to evaluate the energy consumptions. The calculations were performed only on the building envelope, based on passive solutions and alternatives. Four passive strategies were examined and applied based on the location of the building and the non-alteration of the structure and the landscape. The obtained results impacted positively on the energy performance of the building: the annual energy saving reached a maximum value of 25%. This work shows how it is possible to improve the energy performance of an existing building achieving a significant energy saving with the respect of the building architecture, shape, function and the surrounding landscape. Full article
Open AccessArticle Energy Retrofit Strategies for Residential Building Envelopes: An Italian Case Study of an Early-50s Building
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 10445-10460; doi:10.3390/su70810445
Received: 13 June 2015 / Revised: 28 July 2015 / Accepted: 30 July 2015 / Published: 5 August 2015
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (2669 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
During the last few years, the issues of energy efficiency and energy saving have dominated the buildings research field. New constructions are based on efficient design and, because of this, the real challenge is to retrofit existing buildings. Italian standards impose thermal transmittance
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During the last few years, the issues of energy efficiency and energy saving have dominated the buildings research field. New constructions are based on efficient design and, because of this, the real challenge is to retrofit existing buildings. Italian standards impose thermal transmittance limits for opaque and transparent surfaces, according to the climatic area. In order to understand buildings’ energy behavior, an accurate analysis, carried out by employing advanced calculation codes and instrumental diagnosis—provided by the use of heat flow meter, surface temperature probes and thermal imaging camera—is needed. In this paper, a structure built in the 50 s has been analyzed, by means of a measurement campaign, to investigate the building’s characteristics and its vulnerability. Finally, some retrofit hypotheses have been evaluated by means of a well-known dynamic code. All investments have to be analyzed under a financial point of view, considering materials and installation costs. For this reason, the payback time has been calculated in order to understand how quickly the energy upgrading can be repaid. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Methodological Comparison between Energy and Environmental Performance Evaluation
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 10324-10342; doi:10.3390/su70810324
Received: 9 June 2015 / Revised: 21 July 2015 / Accepted: 29 July 2015 / Published: 31 July 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (1239 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The European Union is working on strategies in order to increase the energy efficiency of buildings. A useful solution is to identify the energy performance of buildings through the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), as it provides information for the comparison of buildings with
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The European Union is working on strategies in order to increase the energy efficiency of buildings. A useful solution is to identify the energy performance of buildings through the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), as it provides information for the comparison of buildings with different architectural typology, shape, design technology and geographic location. However, this tool does not assess the real energy consumption of the building and does not always take into account its impact on the environment. In this work, two different types of analysis were carried out: one based only on the energy efficiency and the other one based on the environmental impact. Those analyses were applied on a standard building, set in three different Italian locations, with the purpose of obtaining cross-related information. After the evaluation of the results, interventions on some parameters (walls insulation, windows frame, filler gas in the insulated glazing) have been identified in order to improve the energy behavior of the building with an acceptable environmental impact. The aim of this paper is to propose a methodology that integrates the EPC with green building rating systems, leading to a more conscious choice of retrofit interventions as a compromise between energy performances and environmental impact. Full article
Open AccessArticle Experimental Investigation on the Effect of Phase Change Materials on Compressed Air Expansion in CAES Plants
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 9773-9786; doi:10.3390/su7089773
Received: 4 June 2015 / Revised: 6 July 2015 / Accepted: 15 July 2015 / Published: 23 July 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1827 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The integration of renewable energy in the electrical grid is challenging due to the intermittent and non-programmable generated electric power and to the transmission of peak power levels. Several energy storage technologies have been studied to find a solution to these issues. In
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The integration of renewable energy in the electrical grid is challenging due to the intermittent and non-programmable generated electric power and to the transmission of peak power levels. Several energy storage technologies have been studied to find a solution to these issues. In particular, compressed air energy storage (CAES) plants work by pumping and storing air into a vessel or in an underground cavern; then when energy is needed, the pressurized air is expanded in an expansion turbine. Several CAES configurations have been proposed: diabatic, adiabatic and isothermal. The isothermal process seems to be the most promising to improve the overall efficiency. It differs from conventional CAES approaches as it employs near-isothermal compression and expansion. Currently, there are no commercial isothermal CAES implementations worldwide, but several methods are under investigation. In this paper, the use of phase change materials (PCM) for isothermal air expansion is discussed. Air expansion tests in presence of PCM were carried out in a high-pressure vessel in order to analyze the effect of PCM on the process. Results show that in presence of PCM near isothermal expansion conditions occur and therefore they affect positively the value of the obtainable expansion work. Full article
Open AccessArticle Case Study on Economic Return on Investments for Safety and Emergency Lighting in Road Tunnels
Sustainability 2015, 7(8), 9809-9822; doi:10.3390/su7089809
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 14 July 2015 / Accepted: 17 July 2015 / Published: 23 July 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1011 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
While planning a double-hole road tunnel with a length higher than one km, it is important to pay attention to the safety factor if an accident occurs. If there is a power outage, in order to avoid critical situations that could jeopardize the
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While planning a double-hole road tunnel with a length higher than one km, it is important to pay attention to the safety factor if an accident occurs. If there is a power outage, in order to avoid critical situations that could jeopardize the safety of the people present (facilitating the stream coming out from the tunnel and the arrival of the emergency personnel), it is really important to guarantee uninterrupted lighting of roadways, mandatory emergency lay-bys, and ways of escape. Uninterrupted service of the lighting systems supply must be guaranteed, in accordance with the current regulations, through the exertion of UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) and power units. During tunnel construction, such devices represent a cost that must be amortized. In this case study, which takes into consideration a section of a road tunnel characterized by emergency lay-bys and ways of escape, emergency and security lighting were planned and installation and management costs were evaluated. The goal of this research was the creation of a cash flow thanks to the energy generated by photovoltaic panels, in a way that the service life of the system (25 years) coincided with the amortization of the costs of the backup electrical equipment installation (complying with the regulations). The possibility of over-dimensioning the UPS and providing it with a proper photovoltaic panel surface (235 kWp) to generate and exchange electric energy with the grid was taken into consideration. Full article
Open AccessArticle A First Approach to Natural Thermoventilation of Residential Buildings through Ventilation Chimneys Supplied by Solar Ponds
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9649-9663; doi:10.3390/su7079649
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 3 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (1637 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The exploitation of natural ventilation is a good solution to improve buildings from an energetic point of view and to fulfill the requirements demanded by the thermohygrometric comfort and the air quality in enclosed spaces. Some past researches demonstrated how some devices, useful
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The exploitation of natural ventilation is a good solution to improve buildings from an energetic point of view and to fulfill the requirements demanded by the thermohygrometric comfort and the air quality in enclosed spaces. Some past researches demonstrated how some devices, useful to this purpose, follow the principles of solar chimneys and are able to move air masses while exploiting the Archimedes thrust. The natural ventilation must be supplied by a flow moving upward, generated by a heat source performing at temperatures slightly higher than the one present in the environment. To have a minimum energetic effect, the heat can be extracted from solar ponds; solar ponds are able to collect and store solar energy in the geographical regions characterized by sufficient values of solar radiation. Thus it is possible, in summer, to provoke a nocturnal natural ventilation useful for the air change in indoor spaces (in those climatic areas where, during the night, there is a temperature gradient). Full article
Open AccessArticle Energy Optimization of Road Tunnel Lighting Systems
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9664-9680; doi:10.3390/su7079664
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (1668 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A road tunnel is an enclosed and covered infrastructure for the vehicular traffic. Its lighting system provides 24 h of artificial sources only, with a higher amount of electric power used during the day. Due to safety reasons, when there is natural lighting
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A road tunnel is an enclosed and covered infrastructure for the vehicular traffic. Its lighting system provides 24 h of artificial sources only, with a higher amount of electric power used during the day. Due to safety reasons, when there is natural lighting outside the tunnel, the lighting levels in the stretches right after the entrance and before the exit must be high, in order to guide the driver’s eye towards the middle of the tunnel where the luminance must guarantee safe driving, avoid any over-dimensioning of the lighting systems, and produce energy savings. Such effects can be reached not only through the technological advances in the field of artificial lighting sources with high luminous efficiency, but also through new materials for road paving characterized by a higher reflection coefficient than other ordinary asphalts. This case study examines different technical scenarios, analyzing and comparing possible energy and economic savings. Traditional solutions are thus compared with scenarios suggesting the solutions previously mentioned. Special asphalts are interesting from an economic point of view, whereas the high costs of LED sources nowadays represent an obstacle for their implementation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Energy Performance and Thermal Comfort of a High Efficiency House: RhOME for denCity, Winner of Solar Decathlon Europe 2014
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9681-9695; doi:10.3390/su7079681
Received: 4 June 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (3612 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The increase of people living in large cities and the expansion of new urban areas are keys to defining new sustainable models. It is estimated that about 70% of the EU population lives in urban areas, and it is expected to reach 80%
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The increase of people living in large cities and the expansion of new urban areas are keys to defining new sustainable models. It is estimated that about 70% of the EU population lives in urban areas, and it is expected to reach 80% by 2030. Consequently, it is important to find a new concept of buildings that can reduce the total energy consumption. The Solar Decathlon is an international university competition, born in 2002, created by the U.S. State Energy Department (DOE). Students are challenged to design and operate a full-scale, innovative and sustainable house able to exploit solar radiation as its sole energy source. The objective of the competition is to promote research and education in sustainable architecture and solar energy fields. This paper presents an overview on the contribution of LIFT (Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Technical Physics of Roma Tre University) to the winning project of the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 competition: The RhOME for denCity. This project consists of a building properly designed to produce a solar-powered house that is cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. Full article
Open AccessArticle Hydrogen Production from Water by Photolysis, Sonolysis and Sonophotolysis with Solid Solutions of Rare Earth, Gallium and Indium Oxides as Heterogeneous Catalysts
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9310-9325; doi:10.3390/su7079310
Received: 18 May 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (802 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work, we present the hydrogen production by photolysis, sonolysis and sonophotolysis of water in the presence of newly synthesized solid solutions of rare earth, gallium and indium oxides playing as catalysts. From the experiments of photolysis, we found that the best
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In this work, we present the hydrogen production by photolysis, sonolysis and sonophotolysis of water in the presence of newly synthesized solid solutions of rare earth, gallium and indium oxides playing as catalysts. From the experiments of photolysis, we found that the best photocatalyst is the solid solution Y0.8Ga0.2InO3 doped by sulphur atoms. In experiments of sonolysis, we optimized the rate of hydrogen production by changing the amount of water, adding ethanol and tuning the power of our piezoelectric transducer. Finally, we performed sonolysis and sonophotolysis experiments in the presence of S:Y0.8Ga0.2InO3 finding a promising synergistic effect of UV-visible electromagnetic waves and 38 kHz ultrasound waves in producing H2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Local Microclimate Boundary Conditions on Building Energy Performance
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9207-9230; doi:10.3390/su7079207
Received: 17 June 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3129 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Local environmental boundaries play an important role in determining microclimate conditions affecting thermal-energy behavior of buildings. In this scenario, the purpose of the present work is to investigate how residential buildings are affected by different local microclimate conditions. To this aim, the continuous
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Local environmental boundaries play an important role in determining microclimate conditions affecting thermal-energy behavior of buildings. In this scenario, the purpose of the present work is to investigate how residential buildings are affected by different local microclimate conditions. To this aim, the continuous microclimate monitoring of (i) a rural area; (ii) a suburban area; and (iii) an urban area is carried out, and the comparative analysis of the different boundary conditions is performed. In particular, the effect of the presence of a large lake in the rural area on building energy demand for heating and cooling is evaluated, both in winter and summer. Coupled degree hour method and numerical analysis are performed in order to predict the energy requirement of buildings subject to local microclimate boundary conditions. The main results show higher air temperature and relative humidity values for the rural area. No significant mitigation effect due to the lake presence is found in urban and suburban areas because of the peculiar wind regime of the region. Additionally, the dynamic thermal-energy simulation shows a decrease of 14% and 25% in the heating consumption and an increase of 58% and 194% in cooling requirements of buildings situated in the rural area around the lake compared to the urban and suburban areas, respectively. Full article
Open AccessArticle CFD Analysis of Convective Heat Transfer Coefficient on External Surfaces of Buildings
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9088-9099; doi:10.3390/su7079088
Received: 21 May 2015 / Revised: 24 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 13 July 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (1266 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Convective heat transfer coefficients for external building surfaces are essential in building energy simulation (BES) to calculate convective heat gains and losses from building facades and roofs to the environment. These coefficients are complex functions of: building geometry, building surroundings, local air flow
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Convective heat transfer coefficients for external building surfaces are essential in building energy simulation (BES) to calculate convective heat gains and losses from building facades and roofs to the environment. These coefficients are complex functions of: building geometry, building surroundings, local air flow patterns and temperature differences. A microclimatic analysis in a typical urban configuration, has been carried out using Ansys Fluent Version 14.0, an urban street canyon, with a given H/W ratio, has been considered to simulate a three-dimensional flow field and to calculate the thermal fluid dynamics parameters that characterize the street canyon. In this paper, the convective heat transfer coefficient values on the windward external façade of the canyon and on the windward and leeward inner walls are analyzed and a comparison with values from experimental and numerical correlations is carried out. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Different Urban Microclimate Mitigation Strategies through a PMV Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9012-9030; doi:10.3390/su7079012
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 3 July 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
Cited by 25 | PDF Full-text (2125 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Outdoor thermal comfort affects the health of the people and the quality of life in urban areas. This is the reason why in the past few years different mitigation strategies for the microclimate have been studied and examined. These strategies depend on those
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Outdoor thermal comfort affects the health of the people and the quality of life in urban areas. This is the reason why in the past few years different mitigation strategies for the microclimate have been studied and examined. These strategies depend on those passive factors characterizing the urban setting that are able to affect the values of local meteorological variables, as the limit surfaces of the urban space (parterre and façades of the buildings). This paper examines the Cloister by Giuliano da Sangallo, which is part of the Faculty of Engineering of Sapienza University of Rome. The case study compares the present configuration of the Cloister with four other configurations characterized by some vegetation and materials with a high albedo by taking into consideration the PMV (Predicted Mean Vote) model. Microclimatic variables are calculated through numerical simulations performed by the ENVI-met software. Such a comparison is performed during a typical summer day. While examining the results it can be noticed how the strategy presenting the best results is the one with some vegetation, whereas the materials with a high albedo improve the microclimate if applied on surfaces characterized by a high sky view factor. Full article

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