E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "14th CIRIAF National Congress - Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development"

Quicklinks

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Francesco Asdrubali

Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, Via G. Duranti 67, 06125 Perugia, Italy
E-Mail
Fax: +39-075-5853697
Interests: sustainable development, environmental impact assessment, renewable energies, energy efficiency, energy planning, energy saving in buildings, sustainable mobility
Guest Editor
Prof. Franco Cotana

Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, Via G. Duranti 67, 06125 Perugia, Italy
E-Mail
Phone: +39 075 5853958
Fax: +39 075 5853697

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, and sustainable mobility. One hundred professors from fourteen different Italian universities are involved in the activities of the center.

The CIRIAF National Congress (e.g., the fourteenth one in 2014), has become, over time, an important event for researchers and experts (engineers, physicists, chemists, architects, doctors, and economists). These individuals are not simply academics; they also hail 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.

After some editions were devoted to panel discussions and workshops, the 14th Congress, which took place in Perugia from 4-5 April 2014, returned to the formula of parallel technical sessions. The Congress was quite successful. Seventy-nine papers were presented during the Congress; these were divided into the following eight Sessions, in line with the congress tradition. The session topics are of great contemporary interest:

  1. Built Environment Quality and Indoor Pollution
  2. Energy and Environmental Certification of Buildings
  3. Artworks Preservation and Museum Plants
  4. Renewable and Alternative Energy Sources and Systems
  5. Pollution from Physical Agents (noise, vibrations, electromagnetic fields)
  6. Air and Water Pollution
  7. Sustainable Mobility
  8. Energy Planning and Environmental Impact

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 concerning pollution originating from physical agents, the effects of environmental pollution on humans or related issues.

Thanks to an agreement with the international publishing house MDPI, I am happy to introduce to you a special issue of SUSTAINABILITY, which contains the best papers presented at the Congress.

The Special Issue will include the best papers presented at the Congress. These were selected by the Scientific Committee with the help of the various Chairmen of the Sessions. The papers cover all the various aspects of sustainability, from an interdisciplinary point of view, with a strong emphasis on the link between energy production, use and conservation, and environmental impact.

Prof. Dr.  Francesco Asdrubali
Prof. Franco Cotana
Guest Editors

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. 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 800 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Print Edition available!
A Print Edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Hardcover: 36.50 CHF*
Pages: 10, 164
*For contributing authors or bulk orders special prices may apply.
Prices include shipping.

Published Papers (25 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-25
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Linear, Non-Linear and Alternative Algorithms in the Correlation of IEQ Factors with Global Comfort: A Case Study
Sustainability 2014, 6(11), 8113-8127; doi:10.3390/su6118113
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 3 November 2014 / Accepted: 3 November 2014 / Published: 14 November 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1529 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) factors usually considered in engineering studies, i.e., thermal, acoustical, visual comfort and indoor air quality are individually associated with the occupant satisfaction level on the basis of well-established relationships. On the other hand, the full understanding of how
[...] Read more.
Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) factors usually considered in engineering studies, i.e., thermal, acoustical, visual comfort and indoor air quality are individually associated with the occupant satisfaction level on the basis of well-established relationships. On the other hand, the full understanding of how single IEQ factors contribute and interact to determine the overall occupant satisfaction (global comfort) is currently an open field of research. The lack of a shared approach in treating the subject depends on many aspects: absence of established protocols for the collection of subjective and objective measurements, the amount of variables to consider and in general the complexity of the technical issues involved. This case study is aimed to perform a comparison between some of the models available, studying the results of a survey conducted with objective and subjective method on a classroom within University of Roma TRE premises. Different models are fitted on the same measured values, allowing comparison between different weighting schemes between IEQ categories obtained with different methods. The critical issues, like differences in the weighting scheme obtained with different IEQ models and the variability of the weighting scheme with respect to the time of exposure of the users in the building, identified during this small scale comfort assessment study, provide the basis for a survey activity on a larger scale, basis for the development of an improved IEQ assessment method. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle Numerical Study of Urban Canyon Microclimate Related to Geometrical Parameters
Sustainability 2014, 6(11), 7894-7905; doi:10.3390/su6117894
Received: 12 June 2014 / Revised: 30 July 2014 / Accepted: 31 October 2014 / Published: 7 November 2014
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (2473 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study a microclimate analysis on a particular urban configuration: the—street canyon—has been carried out. The analysis, conducted by performing numerical simulations using the finite volumes commercial code ANSYS-Fluent, shows the flow field in an urban environment, taking into account three different
[...] Read more.
In this study a microclimate analysis on a particular urban configuration: the—street canyon—has been carried out. The analysis, conducted by performing numerical simulations using the finite volumes commercial code ANSYS-Fluent, shows the flow field in an urban environment, taking into account three different aspect ratios (H/W). This analysis can be helpful in the study on urban microclimate and on the heat exchanges with the buildings. Fluid-dynamic fields on vertical planes within the canyon, have been evaluated. The results show the importance of the geometrical configuration, in relation to the ratio between the height (H) of the buildings and the width (W) of the road. This is a very important subject from the point of view of “Smart Cities”, considering the urban canyon as a subsystem of a larger one (the city), which is affected by climate changes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Infrared Thermography Assessment of Thermal Bridges in Building Envelope: Experimental Validation in a Test Room Setup
Sustainability 2014, 6(10), 7107-7120; doi:10.3390/su6107107
Received: 26 June 2014 / Revised: 2 October 2014 / Accepted: 9 October 2014 / Published: 16 October 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (2592 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Thermal infrared imaging is a valuable tool to perform non-destructive qualitative tests and to investigate buildings envelope thermal-energy behavior. The assessment of envelope thermal insulation, ventilation, air leakages, and HVAC performance can be implemented through the analysis of each thermogram corresponding to an
[...] Read more.
Thermal infrared imaging is a valuable tool to perform non-destructive qualitative tests and to investigate buildings envelope thermal-energy behavior. The assessment of envelope thermal insulation, ventilation, air leakages, and HVAC performance can be implemented through the analysis of each thermogram corresponding to an object surface temperature. Thermography also allows the identification of thermal bridges in buildings’ envelope that, together with windows and doors, constitute one of the weakest component increasing thermal losses. A quantitative methodology was proposed in previous researches by the authors in order to evaluate the effect of such weak point on the energy balance of the whole building. In the present work, in-field experimental measurements were carried out with the purpose of evaluating the energy losses through the envelope of a test room experimental field. In-situ thermal transmittance of walls, ceiling and roof were continuously monitored and each element was characterized by its own thermal insulation capability. Infrared thermography and the proposed quantitative methodology were applied to assess the energy losses due to thermal bridges. The main results show that the procedure confirms to be a reliable tool to quantify the incidence of thermal bridges in the envelope thermal losses. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluating Mitigation Effects of Urban Heat Islands in a Historical Small Center with the ENVI-Met® Climate Model
Sustainability 2014, 6(10), 7013-7029; doi:10.3390/su6107013
Received: 10 June 2014 / Revised: 26 August 2014 / Accepted: 23 September 2014 / Published: 10 October 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (10896 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban morphology and increasing building density play a key role in the overall use of energy and promotion of environmental sustainability. The urban environment causes a local increase of temperature, a phenomenon known as Urban Heat Island (UHI). The purpose of this work
[...] Read more.
Urban morphology and increasing building density play a key role in the overall use of energy and promotion of environmental sustainability. The urban environment causes a local increase of temperature, a phenomenon known as Urban Heat Island (UHI). The purpose of this work is the study of the possible formation of an UHI and the evaluation of its magnitude, in the context of a small city, carried out with the ENVI-met® software. For this purpose, a simulation was needed, and this simulation is preparatory for a monitoring campaign on site, which will be held in the immediate future. ENVI-met® simulates the temporal evolution of several thermodynamics parameters on a micro-scale range, creating a 3D, non-hydrostatic model of the interactions between building-atmosphere-vegetation. The weather conditions applied simulate a typical Italian summer heat wave. Three different case-studies have been analyzed: Base Case, Cool Case and Green Case. Analysis of the actual state in the Base Case shows how even in an area with average building density, such as the old town center of a small city, fully developed UHI may rise with strong thermal gradients between built areas and open zones with plenty of vegetation. These gradients arise in a really tiny space (few hundreds of meters), showing that the influence of urban geometry can be decisive in the characterization of local microclimate. Simulations, carried out considering the application of green or cool roofs, showed small relevant effects as they become evident only in large areas heavily built up (metropolis) subject to more intense climate conditions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sun Simulators: Development of an Innovative Low Cost Film Filter
Sustainability 2014, 6(10), 6830-6846; doi:10.3390/su6106830
Received: 18 June 2014 / Revised: 29 July 2014 / Accepted: 21 August 2014 / Published: 30 September 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1055 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sun simulators are employed to test the performance of photovoltaic (PV) devices, according to the standard International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61215. Economical and technical analysis show that PV manufacturers need to integrate Sun simulators in the production process and, in particular, at the
[...] Read more.
Sun simulators are employed to test the performance of photovoltaic (PV) devices, according to the standard International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61215. Economical and technical analysis show that PV manufacturers need to integrate Sun simulators in the production process and, in particular, at the end of the production chain in order to measure the I-V curve and to evaluate the peak power of PV devices. Sun simulators need specific lamps to simulate the solar spectrum and a specific filter to simulate atmosphere absorbance. Such a filter can cost over €6 per square centimeter. The aim of this work is to develop an alternative filter. In particular, both chemical analysis and spectrophotometric measurements are carried out to evaluate if the Air Mass (AM) 1.5 G filter can be replaced by a cheaper material. Preliminary simulations show how specific compounds coated on a glass surface can absorb the Sun spectrum, such as the AM 1.5 filter, but with lower costs. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle An Innovative Configuration for CO2 Capture by High Temperature Fuel Cells
Sustainability 2014, 6(10), 6687-6695; doi:10.3390/su6106687
Received: 28 May 2014 / Revised: 29 August 2014 / Accepted: 23 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (899 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many technological solutions have been proposed for CO2 capture in the last few years. Most of them are characterized by high costs in terms of energy consumption and, consequently, higher fossil fuel use and higher economic costs. High temperature fuel cells are
[...] Read more.
Many technological solutions have been proposed for CO2 capture in the last few years. Most of them are characterized by high costs in terms of energy consumption and, consequently, higher fossil fuel use and higher economic costs. High temperature fuel cells are technological solutions currently developed for energy production with low environmental impact. In CIRIAF—University of Perugia labs, cylindrical geometry, small-sized molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) prototypes were built and tested with good energy production and lifetime performances. In the present work, an innovative application for MCFCs is proposed, and an innovative configuration for CO2 capture/separation is investigated. The plant scheme is based on a reformer and a cylindrical MCFC. MCFCs are the most suitable solutions, because CO2 is used in their operating cycle. An analysis in terms of energy consumption/kgCO2 captured is made by coupling the proposed configuration with a gas turbine plant. The proposed configuration is characterized by a theoretical energy consumption of about 500 kJ/kgCO2, which is quite lower than actual sequestration technologies. An experimental campaign will be scheduled to verify the theoretical findings. Full article
Open AccessArticle Environmental Sustainability and Economic Benefits of Dairy Farm Biogas Energy Production: A Case Study in Umbria
Sustainability 2014, 6(10), 6696-6713; doi:10.3390/su6106696
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 22 August 2014 / Accepted: 29 August 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1180 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Accelerating demand to reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuels has been driving widespread attention to renewable fuels, such as biogas. In fact, in the last decade numerous policy guidelines and laws regarding energy, the environment and agriculture have been issued to encourage
[...] Read more.
Accelerating demand to reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuels has been driving widespread attention to renewable fuels, such as biogas. In fact, in the last decade numerous policy guidelines and laws regarding energy, the environment and agriculture have been issued to encourage the use of animal sewage as a raw material for the production of biogas. The production of energy from biogas in a dairy farm can provide a good opportunity for sustainable rural development, augmenting the farm’s income from traditional sources and helping to reduce the overall environmental impact of the energy sector. This paper investigates the trade-off between the environmental and economic benefits of an agro-energy farm in the Umbria region of Italy that employs livestock sewage and manure, dedicated energy crops (corn and triticale silage) and olive waste. The environmental analysis was performed using the LCA methodology, while the economic investigation was carried out by reconstructing the economic balance of the agro-energetic supply chain based on the budgets of each activity performed. The LCA results show, on the one hand, the predominant weight of producing dedicated crops compared to all other processes in the supply chain and, on the other hand, a significant reduction in environmental impact compared to that caused by energy production from fossil fuels. Economic analysis revealed that the results depend significantly on what rate per kWh the government incentives guarantee to agricultural producers of renewable energy. Full article
Open AccessArticle Analysis and Measurements of Artificial Optical Radiation (AOR) Emitted by Lighting Sources Found in Offices
Sustainability 2014, 6(9), 5941-5954; doi:10.3390/su6095941
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 10 August 2014 / Accepted: 15 August 2014 / Published: 4 September 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1438 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper the authors describe in detail the exposure limit values concerning artificial optical radiation due to the main incoherent light sources found in offices. In particular, for some examples of significant sources chosen as case studies, we discuss the results of
[...] Read more.
In this paper the authors describe in detail the exposure limit values concerning artificial optical radiation due to the main incoherent light sources found in offices. In particular, for some examples of significant sources chosen as case studies, we discuss the results of in situ measurements of the exposure values using a broadband photoradiometer. By comparing the measurement results with the exposure limit values specified in the European legislation, the maximum exposure times for workers have been evaluated. From the analysis of the results it can be concluded that the lighting sources typically present in indoor workplaces under usual conditions of use, do not pose a health risks for workers. However, in the case of accidental exposure during work activities or exposure linked to maintenance activities (short exposure distance), values in excess of the limit values have been observed, with decidedly short maximum exposure times. Full article
Open AccessArticle Development of Innovative Aerogel Based Plasters: Preliminary Thermal and Acoustic Performance Evaluation
Sustainability 2014, 6(9), 5839-5852; doi:10.3390/su6095839
Received: 4 June 2014 / Revised: 13 August 2014 / Accepted: 26 August 2014 / Published: 1 September 2014
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (2150 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The thermal and acoustic properties of innovative insulating systems used as building coatings were investigated: Granular silica aerogel was mixed with natural plaster in different percentages. This coating solution is transpiring and insulating, thanks to the use of a natural lime coat and
[...] Read more.
The thermal and acoustic properties of innovative insulating systems used as building coatings were investigated: Granular silica aerogel was mixed with natural plaster in different percentages. This coating solution is transpiring and insulating, thanks to the use of a natural lime coat and aerogel, a highly porous light material with very low thermal conductivity. The thermal conductivity of the proposed solution was evaluated by means of a Heat Flow meter apparatus (EN ISO 12667), considering different percentages of aerogel. The natural plaster without aerogel has a thermal conductivity of about 0.50 W/m K; considering a percentage of granular aerogel of about 90% in volume, the thermal conductivity of the insulating natural coating falls to 0.050 W/m K. Increasing the percentage of granular aerogel, a value of about 0.018–0.020 W/m K can be reached. The acoustic properties were also evaluated in terms of the acoustic absorption coefficient, measured by means of a Kundt’s Tube (ISO 10534-2). Two samples composed by a plasterboard support, an insulation plaster with aerogel (thicknesses 10 mm and 30 mm respectively) and a final coat were assembled. The results showed that the absorption coefficient strongly depends on the final coat, so the aerogel-based plaster layer moderately influences the final value. The application of this innovative solution can be a useful tool for new buildings, but also for the refurbishment of existing ones. This material is in development: until now, the best value of the thermal conductivity obtained from manufacturers is about 0.015 W/m K. Full article
Open AccessArticle Comparison of ORC Turbine and Stirling Engine to Produce Electricity from Gasified Poultry Waste
Sustainability 2014, 6(9), 5714-5729; doi:10.3390/su6095714
Received: 25 June 2014 / Revised: 5 August 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1419 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Biomass Research Centre, section of CIRIAF, has recently developed a biomass boiler (300 kW thermal powered), fed by the poultry manure collected in a nearby livestock. All the thermal requirements of the livestock will be covered by the heat produced by gas
[...] Read more.
The Biomass Research Centre, section of CIRIAF, has recently developed a biomass boiler (300 kW thermal powered), fed by the poultry manure collected in a nearby livestock. All the thermal requirements of the livestock will be covered by the heat produced by gas combustion in the gasifier boiler. Within the activities carried out by the research project ENERPOLL (Energy Valorization of Poultry Manure in a Thermal Power Plant), funded by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, this paper aims at studying an upgrade version of the existing thermal plant, investigating and analyzing the possible applications for electricity production recovering the exceeding thermal energy. A comparison of Organic Rankine Cycle turbines and Stirling engines, to produce electricity from gasified poultry waste, is proposed, evaluating technical and economic parameters, considering actual incentives on renewable produced electricity. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle Development of a Geographical Information System (GIS) for the Integration of Solar Energy in the Energy Planning of a Wide Area
Sustainability 2014, 6(9), 5730-5744; doi:10.3390/su6095730
Received: 11 June 2014 / Revised: 31 July 2014 / Accepted: 19 August 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3640 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Energy planning has become one of the most powerful tools for urban planning even if several constraints, (i.e., aesthetic, archaeological, landscape) and technological (low diffusion of Renewable Energy Sources, RES) reduce its spreading. An efficient and sustainable urban planning process should
[...] Read more.
Energy planning has become one of the most powerful tools for urban planning even if several constraints, (i.e., aesthetic, archaeological, landscape) and technological (low diffusion of Renewable Energy Sources, RES) reduce its spreading. An efficient and sustainable urban planning process should be based on detailed energy issues, such as: (i) the effective energetic characteristics and needs of the area like urban density and energy consumption, (ii) the integration of different RES and (iii) the diffusion of high efficiency technologies for energy production like cogeneration and district heating. The above-mentioned energetic issues and constraints must be constantly updated, in order to evaluate the consequences on environment and landscape due to new distributed generation technologies. Moreover, energy strategies and policies must be adapted to the actual evolution of the area. In this paper the authors present a Geographical Information Database System (GIS DB) based on: (i) the availability of land use (Land Capability Classification, LCC) to evaluate the productive potential; (ii) the estimation of residential energy consumptions (e.g., electricity), (iii) the integration of RES. The GIS DB model has been experimented in a wide area of Central Italy, considering exclusively the solar energy source for energy generation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Integrated Thermal-Energy Analysis of Innovative Translucent White Marble for Building Envelope Application
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5439-5462; doi:10.3390/su6085439
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 7 August 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 20 August 2014
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (2651 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Marble is a natural material, used in the construction field since antiquity. It has always been used to communicate monumentality and solidity. Nowadays new technologies permit marble to express new languages: particularly, translucent marble technology overturns the concept of solidity. The main issue
[...] Read more.
Marble is a natural material, used in the construction field since antiquity. It has always been used to communicate monumentality and solidity. Nowadays new technologies permit marble to express new languages: particularly, translucent marble technology overturns the concept of solidity. The main issue to address is the lack of thermal-energy performance of such a thin stone layer as the only facade component. Conversely, Bianco Carrara and Statuario marbles, for instance, have intrinsic benefits as natural cool materials, due to their high solar reflectance and thermal emissivity. Thus, this paper analyzes the thermal-energy and environmental behavior of marble facade for a new designed building in New York City. An integrated analysis of the energy performance of the marble skin is performed through a preliminary experimental characterization, carried out for two different types of naturally white marble, for comparative purposes. Then, a dynamic simulation model of the building is developed to evaluate year-round benefits and drawbacks of the translucent marble envelope in terms of indoor thermal comfort and air-conditioning requirement. The analysis showed how the proposed marble facade is able to decrease the energy requirement for cooling up to 6%, demonstrating possible relevant perspectives for marble-based facades, even in energy-efficient buildings. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle The Question of Sustainability of Green Electricity Policy Intervention
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5378-5400; doi:10.3390/su6085378
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 11 August 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (793 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, we analyse the financial viability and economic sustainability implications of government programs for the development of renewable energy sources, explicitly considering that consumers take environmental issues into account. We envisage a broad policy strategy for the future, which we label
[...] Read more.
In this paper, we analyse the financial viability and economic sustainability implications of government programs for the development of renewable energy sources, explicitly considering that consumers take environmental issues into account. We envisage a broad policy strategy for the future, which we label the “World Sustainable Scenario”, and we quantify the inter-temporal resource requirement in terms of investment necessary to achieve it. We perform an empirical meta-analysis to quantify the willingness to pay for green electricity worldwide. Subsequently, we compare the amount of resources required according to policy programs and the populations’ willingness to sacrifice current resources for future benefits (i.e., willingness to finance future investments) to assess the plausibility of current policies. The main empirical findings show that the population’s attitude toward green electricity will support, on average, 50% of the total investment required. We conclude that this is a positive result, which will make possible the success of the renewable energy sources development policy. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle Building Behavior Simulation by Means of Artificial Neural Network in Summer Conditions
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5339-5353; doi:10.3390/su6085339
Received: 4 June 2014 / Revised: 7 August 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 18 August 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (4411 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many studies in Italy showed that buildings are responsible for about 40% of total energy consumption, due to worsening performance of building envelope; in fact, a great number of Italian buildings were built before the 1970s and 80s. In particular, the energy consumptions
[...] Read more.
Many studies in Italy showed that buildings are responsible for about 40% of total energy consumption, due to worsening performance of building envelope; in fact, a great number of Italian buildings were built before the 1970s and 80s. In particular, the energy consumptions for cooling are considerably increased with respect to the ones for heating. In order to reduce the cooling energy demand, ensuring indoor thermal comfort, a careful study on building envelope performance is necessary. Different dynamic software could be used in order to evaluate and to improve the building envelope during the cooling period, but much time and an accurate validation of the model are required. However, when a wide experimental data is available, the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) can be an alternative, simple and fast tool to use. In the present study, the indoor thermal conditions in many dwellings built in Umbria Region were investigated in order to evaluate the envelope performance. They were recently built and have very low energy consumptions. Based on the experimental data, a feed forward network was trained, in order to evaluate the different envelopes performance. As input parameters the outdoor climatic conditions and the thermal characteristics of building envelopes were set, while, as a target parameter, the indoor air temperature was provided. A good training of network was obtained with a high regression value (0.9625) and a very small error (0.007 °C) on air temperature. The network was also used to simulate the envelope behavior with new innovative glazing systems, in order to evaluate and to improve the energy performance. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Energy Upgrading of Existing Buildings: Window and Shading Device Typologies for Energy Efficiency Refurbishment
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5354-5377; doi:10.3390/su6085354
Received: 11 June 2014 / Revised: 10 July 2014 / Accepted: 31 July 2014 / Published: 18 August 2014
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1851 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Residential buildings built after the Second World War have high energy consumption and inadequate thermal comfort, especially in summer conditions, largely attributable to the high transmittance of windows and lack of effective shading devices. Performance improvement of these components is essential for energy
[...] Read more.
Residential buildings built after the Second World War have high energy consumption and inadequate thermal comfort, especially in summer conditions, largely attributable to the high transmittance of windows and lack of effective shading devices. Performance improvement of these components is essential for energy upgrading of existing buildings. This paper shows the results of the research, which aims to evaluate effects on energy consumption and environmental comfort of combined solutions of windows and shading devices applied to a case study representing a typical post World War II Italian building. In this paper, the main typologies of solar control systems are described and evaluated on the basis of a case study in different climatic locations (Berlin, Milan, Florence and Athens). Thermal behavior has been assessed through the EnergyPlus dynamic calculation code, by using appropriate performance indicators for energy and thermal sensation. Starting from performance evaluation of the existing building, different strategies have been assessed: replacement of existing windows with high-energy performance ones and introduction of shading devices and solar control glasses. Finally, a global comparative analysis has been carried out based on energy, acoustic and lighting performances, technical feasibility and management problems. Results of the different solar shading devices assessment are reported in the form of a data sheet. Full article
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Two Models for Evaluating the Energy Performance of Different Buildings
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5311-5321; doi:10.3390/su6085311
Received: 5 June 2014 / Revised: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 5 August 2014 / Published: 14 August 2014
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (931 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nowadays it is possible to employ several software packages to evaluate building’s energy performance, each of them based on a different calculation code, with different boundary conditions in terms of environmental temperature, solar radiation, wind velocity and relative humidity. In this contribution, a
[...] Read more.
Nowadays it is possible to employ several software packages to evaluate building’s energy performance, each of them based on a different calculation code, with different boundary conditions in terms of environmental temperature, solar radiation, wind velocity and relative humidity. In this contribution, a comparison between two calculation codes, taking into account different types of buildings, has been carried out. In particular, a semi-stationary calculation code and a dynamic one have been employed to determine energy demands of three different building’s types: an old building, a house and a flat. Analyzing semi-stationary conditions (consequently simplified environmental conditions), a software which applies the UNI TS 11300 standard has been considered. This standard defines the procedures for the national implementation of the UNI EN ISO 13790. Furthermore, in order to consider the environmental conditions variation, a well-known dynamic software has been used. Full article
Open AccessArticle Cellulose Nanocrystals Obtained from Cynara Cardunculus and Their Application in the Paper Industry
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5252-5264; doi:10.3390/su6085252
Received: 28 May 2014 / Revised: 29 July 2014 / Accepted: 6 August 2014 / Published: 13 August 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1009 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biorefinery aims at designing new virtuous and high-efficiency energy chains, achieving the combined production of biofuels (e.g., bioethanol) and biobased products. This emerging philosophy can represent an important opportunity for the industrial world, exploiting a new kind of nano-smart biomaterials in their production
[...] Read more.
Biorefinery aims at designing new virtuous and high-efficiency energy chains, achieving the combined production of biofuels (e.g., bioethanol) and biobased products. This emerging philosophy can represent an important opportunity for the industrial world, exploiting a new kind of nano-smart biomaterials in their production chains. This paper will present the lab experience carried out by the Biomass Research Centre (CRB) in extracting cellulose nanocrystals (NCC) from a pretreated (via Steam Explosion) fraction of Cynara cardunculus. This is a very common and invasive arboreal variety in central Italy. The NCC extraction methodology allows the separation of the crystalline content of cellulose. Such a procedure has been considered in the literature with the exception of one step in which the conditions have been optimized by CRB Lab. This procedure has been applied for the production of NCC from both Cynara cardunculus and microcrystalline cellulose (MCC). The paper will discuss some of the results achieved using the obtained nanocrystals as reinforcing filler in a paper sheet; it was found that the tensile strength increased from 3.69 kg/15 mm to 3.98 kg/15 mm, the durability behavior (measured by bending number) changed from the value 95 to the value 141, and the barrier properties (measured by Gurley porosity) were improved, increasing from 38 s to 45 s. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle Alternative Testing Methods for Predicting Health Risk from Environmental Exposures
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5265-5283; doi:10.3390/su6085265
Received: 11 June 2014 / Revised: 1 August 2014 / Accepted: 4 August 2014 / Published: 13 August 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1019 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Alternative methods to animal testing are considered as promising tools to support the prediction of toxicological risks from environmental exposure. Among the alternative testing methods, the cell transformation assay (CTA) appears to be one of the most appropriate approaches to predict the carcinogenic
[...] Read more.
Alternative methods to animal testing are considered as promising tools to support the prediction of toxicological risks from environmental exposure. Among the alternative testing methods, the cell transformation assay (CTA) appears to be one of the most appropriate approaches to predict the carcinogenic properties of single chemicals, complex mixtures and environmental pollutants. The BALB/c 3T3 CTA shows a good degree of concordance with the in vivo rodent carcinogenesis tests. Whole-genome transcriptomic profiling is performed to identify genes that are transcriptionally regulated by different kinds of exposures. Its use in cell models representative of target organs may help in understanding the mode of action and predicting the risk for human health. Aiming at associating the environmental exposure to health-adverse outcomes, we used an integrated approach including the 3T3 CTA and transcriptomics on target cells, in order to evaluate the effects of airborne particulate matter (PM) on toxicological complex endpoints. Organic extracts obtained from PM2.5 and PM1 samples were evaluated in the 3T3 CTA in order to identify effects possibly associated with different aerodynamic diameters or airborne chemical components. The effects of the PM2.5 extracts on human health were assessed by using whole-genome 44 K oligo-microarray slides. Statistical analysis by GeneSpring GX identified genes whose expression was modulated in response to the cell treatment. Then, modulated genes were associated with pathways, biological processes and diseases through an extensive biological analysis. Data derived from in vitro methods and omics techniques could be valuable for monitoring the exposure to toxicants, understanding the modes of action via exposure-associated gene expression patterns and to highlight the role of genes in key events related to adversity. Full article
Open AccessArticle Remediation of Groundwater Polluted by Aromatic Compounds by Means of Adsorption
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 4807-4822; doi:10.3390/su6084807
Received: 10 June 2014 / Revised: 17 July 2014 / Accepted: 23 July 2014 / Published: 29 July 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (754 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work, an experimental and modeling analysis of the adsorption of four aromatic compounds (i.e., toluene, naphthalene, o-xylene and ethylbenzene) onto a commercial activated carbon is carried out. The aim is to assess the suitability of the adsorption process for
[...] Read more.
In this work, an experimental and modeling analysis of the adsorption of four aromatic compounds (i.e., toluene, naphthalene, o-xylene and ethylbenzene) onto a commercial activated carbon is carried out. The aim is to assess the suitability of the adsorption process for the treatment of polluted groundwater, also when a multiple contamination is detected. Batch adsorption tests from simulated polluted groundwater are performed in single-compound systems and in two binary systems (i.e., toluene + naphthalene and o-xylene + ethylbenzene), at constant temperature (20 °C) and pH (7). Experimental results in single-compound systems reveal that all of the analytes are significantly adsorbed on the tested activated carbon. In particular, toluene and naphthalene adsorption capacities are the highest and of similar value, while for o-xylene and ethylbenzene, the performances are lower. The adsorption of these compounds seems to be influenced by a combined effect of several parameters, such as hydrophobicity, molecule size, structure of the molecule, etc. Experimental results in binary systems show a different behavior of the two systems, which confirms their complexity and explains the interest in these complex adsorption systems. In particular, toluene and naphthalene are mutually competitive, while in the case of o-xylene + ethylbenzene, only the former undergoes competitive effects. The analysis of the entire experimental data set is integrated with a dedicated modeling analysis using the extended Langmuir model. For both single-compound and binary systems, this model provides acceptable results, in particular for low equilibrium concentrations, like those more commonly found in groundwater, and for the compounds involved in adsorptive competitive effects. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle Buildings Energy Efficiency: Interventions Analysis under a Smart Cities Approach
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 4694-4705; doi:10.3390/su6084694
Received: 6 June 2014 / Revised: 17 July 2014 / Accepted: 21 July 2014 / Published: 25 July 2014
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (1683 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most of the world’s population lives in urban areas and in inefficient buildings under the energy point of view. Starting from these assumptions, there is the need to identify methodologies and innovations able to improve social development and the quality of life of
[...] Read more.
Most of the world’s population lives in urban areas and in inefficient buildings under the energy point of view. Starting from these assumptions, there is the need to identify methodologies and innovations able to improve social development and the quality of life of people living in cities. Smart cities can be a viable solution. The methodology traditionally adopted to evaluate building energy efficiency starts from the structure’s energy demands analysis and the demands reduction evaluation. Consequently, the energy savings is assessed through a cascade of interventions. Regarding the building envelope, the first intervention is usually related to the reduction of the thermal transmittance value, but there is also the need to emphasize the building energy savings through other parameters, such as the solar gain factor and dye solar absorbance coefficients. In this contribution, a standard building has been modeled by means of the well-known dynamic software, TRNSYS. This study shows a parametrical analysis through which it is possible to evaluate the effect of each single intervention and, consequently, its influence on the building energy demand. Through this analysis, an intervention chart has been carried out, aiming to assess the intervention efficiency starting from the percentage variation of energy demands. Full article
Open AccessArticle Experimental Analysis of Natural Gravel Covering as Cool Roofing and Cool Pavement
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 4706-4722; doi:10.3390/su6084706
Received: 18 June 2014 / Revised: 16 July 2014 / Accepted: 21 July 2014 / Published: 25 July 2014
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (2088 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Passive solutions for building energy efficiency represent an interesting research focus nowadays. In particular, natural materials are widely investigated for their potential intrinsic high thermal energy and environmental performance. In this view, natural stones represent a promising solution as building envelope covering and
[...] Read more.
Passive solutions for building energy efficiency represent an interesting research focus nowadays. In particular, natural materials are widely investigated for their potential intrinsic high thermal energy and environmental performance. In this view, natural stones represent a promising solution as building envelope covering and urban pavement. This paper concerns the experimental characterization of several low-cost and local gravel coverings for roofs and urban paving, properly selected for their natural high albedo characteristics. To this aim, the in-field albedo of gravel samples is measured with varying grain size. These in-field measurements are compared to in-lab measurements of solar reflectance and thermal emissivity. The analysis shows a significant variation of the albedo with varying grain size. Both in-lab and in-field measurements agree that the stones with the finest grain size, i.e., fine sand, have the best optic-thermal performance in terms of solar reflectance (62%). This feature results in the reduction of the surface temperature when exposed to solar radiation. Moreover, a natural mixed stone is compared to the high reflectance stone, demonstrating that the chosen stone presents an intrinsic “cool” behavior. Therefore, this natural, low-cost, durable and sustainable material could be successfully considered as a natural cool roof or cool paving solution. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle Influence of the Thermal Inertia in the European Simplified Procedures for the Assessment of Buildings’ Energy Performance
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4514-4524; doi:10.3390/su6074514
Received: 5 June 2014 / Revised: 9 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 21 July 2014
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (1166 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aims to highlight the importance of thermal inertia in buildings. Nowadays, it is possible to use energy analysis software to simulate the building energy performance. Considering Italian standards, these analyses are based on the UNI TS 11300 that defines the procedures
[...] Read more.
This study aims to highlight the importance of thermal inertia in buildings. Nowadays, it is possible to use energy analysis software to simulate the building energy performance. Considering Italian standards, these analyses are based on the UNI TS 11300 that defines the procedures for the national implementation of the UNI EN ISO 13790. These standards require an energy analysis under steady-state condition, underestimating the thermal inertia of the building. In order to understand the inertial behavior of walls, a cubic Test-Cell was modelled through the dynamic calculation code TRNSYS and three different wall types were tested. Different stratigraphies, characterized by the same thermal transmittance value, composed by massive elements and insulating layers in different order, were simulated. Through TRNSYS, it was possible to define maximum surface temperatures and to calculate thermal lag between maximum values, both external and internal. Moreover, the attenuation between external surface temperatures and internal ones during summer (July) was calculated. Finally, the comparison between Test-Cell’s annual energy demands, performed by using a commercial code based on the Italian standard UNITS 11300 and the dynamic code, TRNSYS, was carried out. Full article
Open AccessArticle Robustness of Acoustic Scattering Cancellation to Parameter Variations
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4416-4425; doi:10.3390/su6074416
Received: 10 June 2014 / Revised: 7 July 2014 / Accepted: 7 July 2014 / Published: 16 July 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1000 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This contribution aims at investigating the possibility to cloak a spherical object from an acoustic wave by applying the scattering cancellation approach. In electromagnetism, the scattering problem is treated using the Mie expansion technique, through which the scattered field by a spherical object
[...] Read more.
This contribution aims at investigating the possibility to cloak a spherical object from an acoustic wave by applying the scattering cancellation approach. In electromagnetism, the scattering problem is treated using the Mie expansion technique, through which the scattered field by a spherical object can be represented as a superposition of TE and TM spherical harmonics. It is possible to extend this concept to the acoustic field by defining an analogous approach; the pressure field, generated by an elastic wave impinging on a spherical object, can be expressed applying the Mie expansion technique, as well. In acoustics, to achieve scattering suppression at a given frequency, the constitutive parameters to control are density and compressibility. By varying these parameter values, it is possible to define an engineered material with anomalous properties, which cannot be found in nature, able to reduce the scattering cross-section (SCS) from a spherical object. We propose a study about the effectiveness of the SCS reduction from an elastic sphere coated with a properly-designed acoustic metamaterial. The sensitivity of the SCS to parameter variations is analyzed for different coating thicknesses and sphere dimensions. Our analysis is supported by both the analytical modelling of the structure and numerical simulations. Full article

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Clathrate Hydrates for Thermal Energy Storage in Buildings: Overview of Proper Hydrate-Forming Compounds
Sustainability 2014, 6(10), 6815-6829; doi:10.3390/su6106815
Received: 24 June 2014 / Revised: 20 September 2014 / Accepted: 23 September 2014 / Published: 30 September 2014
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (1067 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasing energy costs are at the origin of the great progress in the field of phase change materials (PCMs). The present work aims at studying the application of clathrate hydrates as PCMs in buildings. Clathrate hydrates are crystalline structures in which guest molecules
[...] Read more.
Increasing energy costs are at the origin of the great progress in the field of phase change materials (PCMs). The present work aims at studying the application of clathrate hydrates as PCMs in buildings. Clathrate hydrates are crystalline structures in which guest molecules are enclosed in the crystal lattice of water molecules. Clathrate hydrates can form also at ambient pressure and present a high latent heat, and for this reason, they are good candidates for being used as PCMs. The parameter that makes a PCM suitable to be used in buildings is, first of all, a melting temperature at about 25 °C. The paper provides an overview of groups of clathrate hydrates, whose physical and chemical characteristics could meet the requirements needed for their application in buildings. Simulations with a dynamic building simulation tool are carried out to evaluate the performance of clathrate hydrates in enhancing thermal comfort through the moderation of summer temperature swings and, therefore, in reducing energy consumption. Simulations suggest that clathrate hydrates have a potential in terms of improvement of indoor thermal comfort and a reduction of energy consumption for cooling. Cooling effects of 0.5 °C and reduced overheating hours of up to 1.1% are predicted. Full article
Open AccessReview Comparative Analysis of Monitoring Devices for Particulate Content in Exhaust Gases
Sustainability 2014, 6(7), 4287-4307; doi:10.3390/su6074287
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 1 July 2014 / Accepted: 2 July 2014 / Published: 11 July 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The installation and operation of continuous particulate emission monitors in industrial processes has become well developed and common practice in industrial stacks and ducts over the past 30 years, reflecting regulatory monitoring requirements. Continuous emissions monitoring equipment is installed not only for regulatory
[...] Read more.
The installation and operation of continuous particulate emission monitors in industrial processes has become well developed and common practice in industrial stacks and ducts over the past 30 years, reflecting regulatory monitoring requirements. Continuous emissions monitoring equipment is installed not only for regulatory compliance, but also for the monitoring of plant performance, calculation of emissions inventories and compilation of environmental impact assessments. Particulate matter (PM) entrained in flue gases is produced by the combustion of fuels or wastes. The size and quantity of particles released depends on the type of fuel and the design of the plant. The present work provides an overview of the main industrial emission sources, a description of the main types of monitoring systems offered by manufacturers and a comparative analysis of the currently available technologies for measuring dust releases to atmosphere. Full article

Journal Contact

MDPI AG
Sustainability Editorial Office
St. Alban-Anlage 66, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
sustainability@mdpi.com
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
Editorial Board
Contact Details Submit to Sustainability
Back to Top