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Special Issue "ZEMCH Research Initiatives: Mass Customisation and Sustainability"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Masa Noguchi (Website)

Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne, 757 Swanston Street, VIC 3010, Australia
Phone: +61(0)390358193
Interests: zero energy mass customised housing; low carbon emission sustainable community development; design engineering; ZEMCH Network

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The earth is experiencing the adverse effect of climate change. In response to growing global warming issues and the constant increase of energy prices, house-builders and housing manufacturers today are becoming more responsive to the delivery of net zero energy and carbon dioxide emission sustainable homes than ever. Within this context, the sustainability may embrace housing economy and adequacy beyond the legitimacy in which the quality barely coincides with individuals' dynamic various needs, desires and expectations. In this special issue, 'mass customisation' is reviewed being considered as a paradoxical concept which has been recognised as a means to lessen production costs of end-user products whilst achieving the customisability through economies of scope rather than economies of scale. Nevertheless, the housing industry's business operation tends to follow routines and the close system mode of operation often hinders the enterprises from adopting unfamiliar inn ovations which may be inevitable in realising the delivery and operation of socially, economically and environmentally sustainable homes. In order to deliver a marketable and replicable zero energy/emission mass custom home, or ZEMCH, the strategic balance between the optional and standard features seems to be critical. The optional features may be provided with the aim to enhance design quality (or customizability) that helps contribute to satisfying desires and expectations of individual stakeholders. The standard equipment, on the other hand, needs to be installed in buildings as it aims to exceed product quality whose levels can be adjusted in conjunction with societal demands and requirements. This edition encompasses a wide spectrum of hopes and fears around the design, production and marketing approaches to the ZEMCH delivery and operation, and showcases some exemplars budding out in different climates around the globe.

Dr. Masa Noguchi
Guest Editor

Submission

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

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. 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 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).


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Keywords

  • zero energy mass custom homes
  • mass customisation and personalisation
  • sustainable housing development
  • energy efficiency measurement
  • design and construction management
  • user behaviour and choice
  • renewable energy technology
  • housing affordability and inclusiveness
  • value analysis in design decision making
  • ZEMCH Network

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Photovoltaic Applications in Zero Energy Building Cases of IEA SHC/EBC Task 40/Annex 52
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8782-8800; doi:10.3390/su7078782
Received: 1 March 2015 / Accepted: 1 July 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3340 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) considerably reduces the building energy load through high efficiency equipment and passive elements such as building orientation, high insulation, natural daylighting, and ventilation in order to achieve zero energy balance with on-site energy production from renewable [...] Read more.
A Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) considerably reduces the building energy load through high efficiency equipment and passive elements such as building orientation, high insulation, natural daylighting, and ventilation in order to achieve zero energy balance with on-site energy production from renewable energy systems applied to the building. For a Zero Energy Building (ZEB), the heating energy demand can be significantly reduced with high insulation and air tightness, while the cooling energy demand can be curtailed by applying shading device, cross ventilation, etc. As such, the electrical energy demand for a ZEB is relatively higher than its heat energy demand. Therefore, the application of a Renewable Energy System (RES) to produce electricity is necessary for a ZEB. In particular, Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) systems that generate electricity can play an important role for achieving zero energy balance in buildings; BIPVs are multi-functional and there are many ways to apply them into buildings. This study comprehensively analyzes photovoltaic (PV) applications in ZEB cases through the International Energy Agency Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC)/Energy in Buildings and Communities Programme (EBC) Task 40/Annex 52 activities, which include PV installation methods, PV cell type, and electricity generation. The most widely applied RES is the PV system, corresponding to 29 out of a total of 30 cases. Among the roof type PV systems, 71% were non-integrated. In addition, 14 of the 27 cases in which PV systems were applied, satisfied over 100% of the electricity energy demand from the PV system and were found to generate surplus electrical power. Full article
Open AccessArticle Profiling Space Heating Behavior in Chilean Social Housing: Towards Personalization of Energy Efficiency Measures
Sustainability 2015, 7(6), 7973-7996; doi:10.3390/su7067973
Received: 28 February 2015 / Revised: 10 June 2015 / Accepted: 15 June 2015 / Published: 19 June 2015
PDF Full-text (984 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global increases in the demand for energy are imposing strong pressures over the environment while compromising the capacity of emerging economies to achieve sustainable development. In this context, implementation of effective strategies to reduce consumption in residential buildings has become a priority [...] Read more.
Global increases in the demand for energy are imposing strong pressures over the environment while compromising the capacity of emerging economies to achieve sustainable development. In this context, implementation of effective strategies to reduce consumption in residential buildings has become a priority concern for policy makers as minor changes at the household scale can result in major energy savings. This study aims to contribute to ongoing research on energy consumer profiling by exploring the forecasting capabilities of discrete socio-economic factors that are accessible through social housing allocation systems. Accordingly, survey data gathered by the Chilean Ministry of Social Development was used identify key characteristics that may predict firewood usage for space heating purposes among potential beneficiaries of the Chilean social housing program. The analyzed data evidences strong correlations between general household characteristics and space heating behavior in certain climatic zones, suggesting that personalized delivery of energy efficiency measures can potentially increase the effectiveness of initiatives aimed towards the reduction of current patterns of consumption. Full article
Open AccessArticle Environmental Impacts and Embodied Energy of Construction Methods and Materials in Low-Income Tropical Housing
Sustainability 2015, 7(6), 7866-7883; doi:10.3390/su7067866
Received: 7 May 2015 / Revised: 11 June 2015 / Accepted: 15 June 2015 / Published: 18 June 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1189 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper evaluates the current conditions of Ugandan low-income tropical housing with a focus on construction methods and materials in order to identify the key areas for improvement. Literature review, site visits and photographic surveys are carried out to collect relevant information [...] Read more.
This paper evaluates the current conditions of Ugandan low-income tropical housing with a focus on construction methods and materials in order to identify the key areas for improvement. Literature review, site visits and photographic surveys are carried out to collect relevant information on prevailing construction methods/materials and on their environmental impacts in rural areas. Low quality, high waste, and energy intensive production methods, as well as excessive soil extraction and deforestation, are identified as the main environmental damage of the current construction methods and materials. The embodied energy is highlighted as the key area which should be addressed to reduce the CO2 emissions of low-income tropical housing. The results indicate that the embodied energy of fired bricks in Uganda is up to 5.7 times more than general clay bricks. Concrete walling is identified as a much more environmentally friendly construction method compared to brick walling in East African countries. Improving fuel efficiency and moulding systems, increasing access to renewable energy sources, raising public awareness, educating local manufacturers and artisans, and gradual long-term introduction of innovative construction methods and materials which are adapted to local needs and conditions are some of the recommended actions to improve the current conditions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Redesigning Terraced Social Housing in the UK for Flexibility Using Building Energy Simulation with Consideration of Passive Design
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5488-5507; doi:10.3390/su7055488
Received: 16 February 2015 / Revised: 22 April 2015 / Accepted: 24 April 2015 / Published: 5 May 2015
PDF Full-text (3585 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A chosen case study house forms the basis of this paper, which is a pilot energy-efficient social housing project, completed by one of the largest housing developers in the UK. The main aim of this study is to inform the redesign of [...] Read more.
A chosen case study house forms the basis of this paper, which is a pilot energy-efficient social housing project, completed by one of the largest housing developers in the UK. The main aim of this study is to inform the redesign of flexible energy-efficient housing units. The housing, designed for social tenants, was built by the Accent Group in 2005, using modern construction methods and sustainable materials, based on extensive research from the adaptable and “Grow Home” principles of Avi Friedman as well as open building implementation. The first pilot scheme was designed in collaboration with the Building Energy Analysis Unit at the University of Sheffield, together with the Goddard Wybor Practise, and was a successful housing development with respect to being environmentally friendly and a low-energy design scheme for the UK climate. This paper presents redesigning of flexible terraced housing units, and their performance evaluation, using a building simulation method as well as the passive-house planning package. The aim was to plan a row of terraced houses that can not only utilize a flexible design concept in floor planning layout, but also to reduce energy consumption with a passive design with particular attention paid to material selection. In addition, building simulation work has been carried out with the use of DesignBuilder software for both thermal and energy performance evaluation. The study examines the annual energy performance and comfort conditions in the designed house to be situated in the Northeast of England, UK. A terraced house unit design is considered a flexible home that can adjust to the needs of different tenants for the purpose of achieving a sustainable building under different aspects, such as low energy, low carbon, use of renewables, and low impact materials, with flexibility by design. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Construction Management Framework for Mass Customisation in Traditional Construction
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5182-5210; doi:10.3390/su7055182
Received: 12 November 2014 / Revised: 15 March 2015 / Accepted: 10 April 2015 / Published: 28 April 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2466 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A Mass Customisation model is discussed as a competitive positioning strategy in the marketplace adding value to the customer’s end-use. It includes the user as part of the construction process responding to the customer’s demands and wishes. To the present day, almost [...] Read more.
A Mass Customisation model is discussed as a competitive positioning strategy in the marketplace adding value to the customer’s end-use. It includes the user as part of the construction process responding to the customer’s demands and wishes. To the present day, almost all proposals for Mass Customisation have been focused on the design phase and single family houses. The reality is that the processes carried out in the work execution are so inefficient that the costs of the Mass Customisation models are assumed by the customer and they do not offer solutions that support the change management. Furthermore, this inefficiency often makes Mass Customisation unfeasible in terms of deadlines and site management. Therefore, the present proposal focuses on achieving the paradigm of Mass Customisation in the traditional residential construction complementary to the existing proposals in the design phase. All this through the proposal of a framework for the integral management in the work execution, which will address change management introduced by the users offering an efficient and productive model that reduces costs in the process. This model will focus on the synergy between different strategies, techniques and technologies currently used in the construction management (such as Lean Construction or Six Sigma), together with, other strategies and technologies that have proven to be valid solutions in other fields (such as Business Process Management, Service Oriented Architecture, etc.). Full article
Open AccessArticle Adopting Product Modularity in House Building to Support Mass Customisation
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 4919-4937; doi:10.3390/su7054919
Received: 28 February 2015 / Revised: 2 April 2015 / Accepted: 14 April 2015 / Published: 24 April 2015
PDF Full-text (1118 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Product modularity is a concept that can contribute to the improvement of product quality and production efficiency in house-building. However, there is a lack of consensus in the literature on the concepts that define product modularity. Furthermore, little attention has been given [...] Read more.
Product modularity is a concept that can contribute to the improvement of product quality and production efficiency in house-building. However, there is a lack of consensus in the literature on the concepts that define product modularity. Furthermore, little attention has been given to the differences between building construction and manufacturing, for which product modularity was originally developed. This research aims to address that gap by adapting the conceptualization of product modularity so that it can effectively be used in the house-building industry. The methodological approach adopted in this study was Design Science Research, and two empirical studies were carried out on construction companies based in Brazil and in the U.K. Those studies are used to illustrate the applicability and utility of the proposed concepts and tools. Research findings indicate that the adoption of product modularity concepts results in benefits to both traditional construction technologies and pre-fabricated building systems. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Effects of Air Permeability, Background Ventilation and Lifestyle on Energy Performance, Indoor Air Quality and Risk of Condensation in Domestic Buildings
Sustainability 2015, 7(4), 4022-4034; doi:10.3390/su7044022
Received: 12 February 2015 / Revised: 27 March 2015 / Accepted: 31 March 2015 / Published: 8 April 2015
PDF Full-text (1265 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Effective and efficient ventilation is essential when improving energy performance and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of buildings. Reducing air permeability can considerably improve the energy performance of buildings; however, making the buildings more airtight may result in lower rates of natural ventilation [...] Read more.
Effective and efficient ventilation is essential when improving energy performance and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of buildings. Reducing air permeability can considerably improve the energy performance of buildings; however, making the buildings more airtight may result in lower rates of natural ventilation which may in turn increase the risks of condensation and unacceptable IAQ. This study evaluates the effects of different air permeability rates, background ventilation and occupants’ lifestyles on the energy performance as well as the risk of condensation and CO2 concentration in domestic buildings. Dynamic computer simulations were conducted in EnergyPlus. Results indicated direct relations between the ventilation rates, energy performance and IAQ. Higher air permeability along with background ventilation resulted in considerably better IAQ while energy consumption increased by up to four times. Occupants’ lifestyles were identified as a major contributor to the risk of condensation. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Method for Proposing Valued-Adding Attributes in Customized Housing
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 9244-9267; doi:10.3390/su6129244
Received: 25 September 2014 / Revised: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 4 December 2014 / Published: 12 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2187 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In most emerging economies, there has been many incentives and high availability of funding for low-cost housing projects. This has encouraged product standardization and the application of mass production ideas, based on the assumption that this is the most effective strategy for [...] Read more.
In most emerging economies, there has been many incentives and high availability of funding for low-cost housing projects. This has encouraged product standardization and the application of mass production ideas, based on the assumption that this is the most effective strategy for reducing costs. However, the delivery of highly standardized housing units to customers with different needs, without considering their lifestyle and perception of value, often results in inadequate products. Mass customization has been pointed out as an effective strategy to improve value generation in low-cost housing projects, and to avoid waste caused by renovations done in dwellings soon after occupancy. However, one of the main challenges for the implementation of mass customization is the definition of a set of relevant options based on users’ perceived value. The aim of this paper is to propose a method for defining value adding attributes in customized housing projects, which can support decision-making in product development. The means-end chain theory was used as theoretical framework to connect product attributes and costumers’ values, through the application of the laddering technique. The method was tested in two house-building projects delivered by a company from Brazil. The main contribution of this method is to indicate the customization units that are most important for users along with the explanation of why those units are the most relevant ones. Full article
Open AccessArticle Generation of a Tropically Adapted Energy Performance Certificate for Residential Buildings
Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 8415-8431; doi:10.3390/su6128415
Received: 23 July 2014 / Revised: 11 October 2014 / Accepted: 7 November 2014 / Published: 25 November 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1911 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the 1990s, national green building certification indices have emerged around the globe as promising measurement tools for environmental-friendly housing. Since 2008, tools for countries in the Northern “colder” hemisphere have been adapted to tropical countries. In contrast, the Tropically Adapted Energy [...] Read more.
Since the 1990s, national green building certification indices have emerged around the globe as promising measurement tools for environmental-friendly housing. Since 2008, tools for countries in the Northern “colder” hemisphere have been adapted to tropical countries. In contrast, the Tropically Adapted Energy Performance Certificate (TEPC), established in 2012, translates the United Nations’ triple bottom line principle into green building sustainability (planet), thermal comfort (people) and affordability (profit). The tool has been especially developed and revamped for affordable green building assessment helping to reduce global warming. Hence, by the comparably simple and transparent energy audit it provides, the TEPC examines buildings for their: (1) contribution to reduce CO2; (2) transmission rate in shielding a building’s envelope against the effects of the tropical heat; (3) generation of thermal comfort and (4) referring total cost of ownership to green the building further. All four dimensions are measured in the rainbow colour scale in compliance with national energy regulations. Accordingly, this research examines the tool’s implementation in tropical countries. Exemplified tropical case studies in residential areas seek to demonstrate the practicability of the approach and to derive a holistic certification by an internationally accredited certification board. Full article
Open AccessArticle Identification and Characterization of Particulate Matter Concentrations at Construction Jobsites
Sustainability 2014, 6(11), 7666-7688; doi:10.3390/su6117666
Received: 3 September 2014 / Revised: 10 October 2014 / Accepted: 23 October 2014 / Published: 3 November 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2579 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The identification and characterization of particulate matter (PM) concentrations from construction site activities pose major challenges due to the diverse characteristics related to different aspects, such as concentration, particle size and particle composition. Moreover, the characterization of particulate matter is influenced by [...] Read more.
The identification and characterization of particulate matter (PM) concentrations from construction site activities pose major challenges due to the diverse characteristics related to different aspects, such as concentration, particle size and particle composition. Moreover, the characterization of particulate matter is influenced by meteorological conditions, including temperature, humidity, rainfall and wind speed. This paper is part of a broader investigation that aims to develop a methodology for assessing the environmental impacts caused by the PM emissions that arise from construction activities. The objective of this paper is to identify and characterize the PM emissions on a construction site with different aerodynamic diameters (PM2.5, PM10, total suspended particulates (TSP)), based on an exploratory study. Initially, a protocol was developed to standardize the construction site selection criteria, laboratory procedures, field sample collection and laboratory analysis. This protocol was applied on a multifamily residential building construction site during three different construction phases (earthworks, superstructure and finishings) aimed at measuring and monitoring PM concentrations arising from construction activities. The particulate matter was characterized in different particle sizes. Results showed that the higher TSP emissions arising from construction activities provoked environmental impacts. Some limitations to the results were identified, especially with regards the need for a detailed investigation about the influence of different construction phases on PM emissions. The findings provided significant knowledge about various situations, serving as a basis for improving the existing methodology for particulate material collection on construction sites and the development of future studies on the specific construction site phases. Full article
Open AccessArticle Estimation of Hedonic Single-Family House Price Function Considering Neighborhood Effect Variables
Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 2946-2960; doi:10.3390/su6052946
Received: 15 January 2014 / Revised: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 30 April 2014 / Published: 14 May 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (311 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the formulation of hedonic models, in addition to locational factors and building structures which affect the house prices, the generation of the omitted variable bias is thought to occur in cases when local environmental variables and the individual characteristics of house [...] Read more.
In the formulation of hedonic models, in addition to locational factors and building structures which affect the house prices, the generation of the omitted variable bias is thought to occur in cases when local environmental variables and the individual characteristics of house buyers are not taken into consideration. However, since it is difficult to obtain local environmental information in a small neighborhood unit and to observe individual characteristics of house buyers, these variables have not been sufficiently considered in previous studies. We demonstrated that non-negligible levels of omitted variable bias are generated if these variables are not considered. Full article

Other

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Open AccessConcept Paper Retrofitting Housing with Lightweight Green Roof Technology in Sydney, Australia, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sustainability 2015, 7(1), 1081-1098; doi:10.3390/su7011081
Received: 26 July 2014 / Revised: 24 December 2014 / Accepted: 9 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (8468 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The built environment contributes around half of total greenhouse gas emissions and with 87% of residential buildings that we will have by 2050 already built, it is vital to adopt sustainable retrofitting practices. The question is: what are the viable solutions? One [...] Read more.
The built environment contributes around half of total greenhouse gas emissions and with 87% of residential buildings that we will have by 2050 already built, it is vital to adopt sustainable retrofitting practices. The question is: what are the viable solutions? One answer may be green roof retrofitting. The environmental benefits include reduced operational carbon emissions, reduced urban heat island effect, increased bio-diversity, housing temperature attenuation and reduced stormwater run-off. The economic benefits are the reduced maintenance costs and lower running costs. The social gain is the creation of spaces where people have access to green areas. However, the barriers to retrofitting include the perceptions of structural adequacy, the risk of water damage, high installation and maintenance costs, as well as access and security issues. Many Australian and Brazilian residential buildings have metal sheet roofs, a lightweight material with poor thermal performance. During the summer, temperatures in Sydney and Rio de Janeiro reach 45 degrees Celsius, and in both cities, rainfall patterns are changing, with more intense downpours. Furthermore, many residential buildings are leased, and currently, tenants are restricted by the modifications that they can perform to reduce running costs and carbon emissions. This research reports on an experiment on two small-scale metal roofs in Sydney and Rio de Janeiro to assess the thermal performance of portable small-scale modules. The findings are that considerable variation in temperature was found in both countries, indicating that green roof retrofitting could lower the cooling energy demand considerably. Full article

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