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Special Issue "Sustainable and Resource–Efficient Homes and Communities"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Avi Friedman

Affordable Homes Research Group, School of Architecture, McGill University, Macdonald-Harrington Building, 815 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal H3A 2K6, Quebec, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1-(514) 398-4923
Interests: factors which influence design and implementation of affordable and sustainable building practices at the unit and community levels, including user needs, construction technology, and resource efficiency

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past half century, homes and communities in many nations have been built with a disregard of nature, while exhausting natural resources during construction and after occupancy. A much talked-about term that casts a framework for new design thinking is sustainability. The fundamental thrust is thought processes and practices about the future consequences of present development actions.

This Special Issue looks for papers that address design of homes and communities with smaller environmental footprints and efficient resource consumption. In particular, the Guest Editor is looking for papers on active and passive heating and cooling systems, healthy indoor environments, energy-efficient windows, net-zero buildings, sustainable building materials selection, water recycling and efficiency, waste management and disposal, xeriscaping, edible landscapes and green roofs.

Papers selected for this Special Issue will be subject to peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments and applications.

Dr. Avi Friedman
Guest Editor

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

  • Active and passive heating and cooling systems;
  • healthy indoor environments;
  • energy-efficient windows; net-zero buildings;
  • sustainable building materials selection;
  • water recycling and efficiency;
  • waste management and disposal;
  • xeriscaping;
  • edible landscapes and green roofs

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Thermal Ceramic Panels and Passive Systems in Mediterranean Housing: Energy Savings and Environmental Impacts
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1613; doi:10.3390/su9091613
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 5 September 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 11 September 2017
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Abstract
This research examines the benefits of designing a living space in a basement, as a method of passive temperature control in summer, combined with thermal ceramic panels (TCP) on some walls. These panels incorporate a capillary system of polypropylene tubes which work with
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This research examines the benefits of designing a living space in a basement, as a method of passive temperature control in summer, combined with thermal ceramic panels (TCP) on some walls. These panels incorporate a capillary system of polypropylene tubes which work with cold water. We studied a detached house on the coast of Alicante, where the moderate temperature of the ground tempered interior conditions of comfort using the flow of air from the basement, significantly reducing energy demand and environmental impacts. This reduction was quantified through simulations using the Design Builder tool, having previously monitored the state of the building, on scenarios of a house without a basement, a house with a basement and an all-air system, and a house with a basement and radiant surfaces, using TCP panels on walls. This latter passive system led to a 10.25% reduction in annual energy demand. When we combined it with the two possible air conditioning systems, comfort achieved using the TCP panel system improved by 45.8% compared to the all air system in the living room on the ground floor and by 17% in the basement living room. In addition, annual energy demand and environmental impacts deriving from the use of the installation decreased by 31.8% with the TCP system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resource–Efficient Homes and Communities)
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Open AccessArticle A Bamboo Treatment Procedure: Effects on the Durability and Mechanical Performance
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1444; doi:10.3390/su9091444
Received: 18 July 2017 / Revised: 9 August 2017 / Accepted: 10 August 2017 / Published: 23 August 2017
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Abstract
Bamboo is a natural material having a fast reproduction and high mechanical strengths. However, when a bio-based material in general, and bamboo in particular are expected to be a construction material, their sensitivity to moisture and their durability are usually questionable. Indeed, it
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Bamboo is a natural material having a fast reproduction and high mechanical strengths. However, when a bio-based material in general, and bamboo in particular are expected to be a construction material, their sensitivity to moisture and their durability are usually questionable. Indeed, it is well known that these materials do not possess the same performance in the long-term, when compared to industrial materials. Sustainable solutions for the bamboo treatment still need to be investigated. The present study explores the oil-heated treatment with different types of oils, like flax or sunflower oils. The present investigation concentrates on mechanical properties and durability of treated bamboos to assess the effectiveness of these kinds of treatment. First, bamboo specimens were treated to decrease their sensitivity to moisture and improve their durability. Different conditions of treatment were tested: treatment at 100 °C or 180 °C; with flax oil, sunflower oil, or without oil; treatment durations of 1 h, 2 h, or 3 h; and, different cooling methods and cooling durations. Then, mechanical and durability tests were carried out on untreated and treated bamboos: uniaxial compression tests, 3 points bending tests, water immersion tests, and humidity tests. The results showed that some tested treatment methods could increase both the durability and the compressive strength of treated specimens, compared to untreated bamboo. The best results were observed on specimens treated at 180 °C during 1 h or 2 h without oil, and then cooled in 20 °C sunflower oil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resource–Efficient Homes and Communities)
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Open AccessArticle The Convenience Benefits of the District Heating System over Individual Heating Systems in Korean Households
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1348; doi:10.3390/su9081348
Received: 15 May 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
Koreans usually prefer the district heating system (DHS) to the individual heating system (IHS) because DHS can give them convenience and safety within their living environment. The Korean government thus plans to expand the DHS and requires information about the value that consumers
[...] Read more.
Koreans usually prefer the district heating system (DHS) to the individual heating system (IHS) because DHS can give them convenience and safety within their living environment. The Korean government thus plans to expand the DHS and requires information about the value that consumers place on the DHS over the IHS, which has not been dealt with in academic literature. This paper attempts to investigate Korean households’ willingness to pay (WTP) for DHS over IHS, for residential heat (RH). To this end, the authors apply the dichotomous choice contingent valuation to assessing additional WTP for DHS using a survey of 1000 randomly selected households living in buildings with IHS. A mixture model is applied to deal with the zero WTP responses. The WTP distribution is specified as a mixture of two distributions, one with a point mass at zero and the other with full support on the positive half of the real line. The results show that the mean additional WTP for DHS-based RH over IHS-based RH is estimated to be KRW 5775 (USD 5.4) per Gcal. This value can be interpreted as the consumer’s convenience benefits of DHS over IHS, and amounts to approximately 6.0% of the average price: KRW 96,510 (USD 90.4) per Gcal in 2013, for IHS-based RH. This information is useful for evaluating changes to the method used for supplying RH from IHS to DHS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resource–Efficient Homes and Communities)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Interior Design Elements and Lighting Layouts on Prospective Occupants’ Perceptions of Amenity and Efficiency in Living Rooms
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1119; doi:10.3390/su9071119
Received: 16 May 2017 / Revised: 17 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 27 June 2017
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Abstract
This study examines the effect of interior design elements on prospective occupants’ perceptions of amenity and efficiency in a residential space. Thirty-one prospective occupants participated in a survey using virtual reality environments that consist of various combinations of interior design elements. In this
[...] Read more.
This study examines the effect of interior design elements on prospective occupants’ perceptions of amenity and efficiency in a residential space. Thirty-one prospective occupants participated in a survey using virtual reality environments that consist of various combinations of interior design elements. In this study, occupants’ perceptions were discussed in terms of affordance and satisfaction, and the relationship between them is interpreted statistically. The spatial factors affecting overall satisfaction at a detailed level were discussed. The causal relationship between the interior design elements and space were determined under the elaboration of perception processing. Multiple linear relationships between a limited number of spatial factors and virtually created space were analyzed. The perceived affordance of interior design elements was influenced by priming and concrete behaviors in a space. The materials, surfaces, and colors were weak contributors to clear perceptions about space. The occupants’ evaluative perception processing elaborations were not effectively activated in the assessment of spatial design adequacy (SDA) in terms of materials, surfaces, and colors in a space. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resource–Efficient Homes and Communities)
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Open AccessArticle Taking the Time Characteristic into Account of Life Cycle Assessment: Method and Application for Buildings
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 922; doi:10.3390/su9060922
Received: 14 April 2017 / Revised: 14 April 2017 / Accepted: 18 May 2017 / Published: 31 May 2017
PDF Full-text (901 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Life cycle assessment (LCA) involves many temporal issues. It is necessary to make a clear distinction between long-term impacts and short-term impacts, especially for those structures with long service life, such as buildings. With their long service life of 50 years, a great
[...] Read more.
Life cycle assessment (LCA) involves many temporal issues. It is necessary to make a clear distinction between long-term impacts and short-term impacts, especially for those structures with long service life, such as buildings. With their long service life of 50 years, a great deal of maintenance and repairs could be conducted, causing a respective environmental impact. In this paper we explored a monetization method to convert the life cycle environmental impact into a life cycle environmental cost to address the temporal issues involved in LCA by discounting. This method can facilitate decision-making when tradeoffs between current and future environmental impacts exist. Moreover, this method can be used as an effective supplement to life cycle cost and provide decision support for making trade-off between cost and environmental impact. Finally, a building located in Xiamen City, China was selected as a case study and analyzed by the proposal LCA method. The results indicated that carbon cost in the operational stage is the maximum, building material production and transportation stages are ranked second, and the amount in the demolition stage is negligible, compared with the other three stages. Additionally, with the increase of the discount rate, the carbon cost in different life cycle stages will decrease, the percentage of the carbon cost in the operational stage will gradually decrease, but the percentage of the carbon cost in building material production and transportation stages will gradually increase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resource–Efficient Homes and Communities)
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Open AccessArticle Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollutant Emissions of China’s Residential Sector: The Importance of Considering Energy Transition
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 614; doi:10.3390/su9040614
Received: 9 March 2017 / Revised: 10 April 2017 / Accepted: 11 April 2017 / Published: 14 April 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1781 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study focuses on China’s residential sector and examines energy use growth resulting from income increases and urbanization development. We also look at the energy transition (from primitive fuels to advanced fuels) caused by economic development, as well as the mitigation potential of
[...] Read more.
This study focuses on China’s residential sector and examines energy use growth resulting from income increases and urbanization development. We also look at the energy transition (from primitive fuels to advanced fuels) caused by economic development, as well as the mitigation potential of greenhouse gas and air pollutants emissions. Several studies have provided evidence of a positive correlation between income and per capita final energy use at the national level. In addition to income, demographic factors such as household size and education level have also been suggested to have influences on urban energy use. In this study, we consider various socio-economic indicators to analyze their influences on household energy use. Considering the economic and climate diversity across China’s provincial regions, our analysis is based on the 31 provincial regions and examines the emissions pathways of 31 provincial regions. We first apply a multiple linear regression analysis on historical panel data to determine the correlations between socio-economic indicators and domestic energy sources. Next, we use the Asia-Pacific Integrated Model (AIM/Enduse) to estimate mitigation potential due to energy transition and sustainable policies. The results suggest that income and education levels are major drivers that have a significant impact on household energy choices both in rural and urban areas. In rural areas, climate and energy resource potential also have an impact on the choices of biomass energy use. Without consideration of energy transition constraints, future estimation of energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions can be greatly overestimated or underestimated depending on the socioeconomic status of the province. It is important to note that the way that we consider energy transition constraints also significantly affects the air pollutants’ emissions of the household sector due to biomass consumption, especially on particulate matter 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5) emissions. Furthermore, implementation of efficient technologies contributes to achieving China’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) and brings the co-benefits of air pollutants’ emission reductions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resource–Efficient Homes and Communities)
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Open AccessArticle Control of Thermally Activated Building System Considering Zone Load Characteristics
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 586; doi:10.3390/su9040586
Received: 28 February 2017 / Revised: 6 April 2017 / Accepted: 6 April 2017 / Published: 11 April 2017
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Abstract
The objectives of this study were to investigate the thermally activated building system (TABS) mechanism for appropriate use of the system and to apply the proper concept of TABS for each zone by using different TABS control strategies. In order to examine the
[...] Read more.
The objectives of this study were to investigate the thermally activated building system (TABS) mechanism for appropriate use of the system and to apply the proper concept of TABS for each zone by using different TABS control strategies. In order to examine the TABS mechanism, dynamic simulation with EnergyPlus was used to model the office building with TABS, because the radiant heat exchange characteristics of the TABS according to the time variable was critical. The typical control concept of TABS, self-regulation, was applied in the simulation by setting the supply water temperature as room setpoint temperature. As a result, the advantage of self-regulation can be amplified by utilizing the entire thermal mass of the TABS, which can be executed by customizing to target a specific type of load. Since the large area of the office building may comprise different loads in different zones, the TABS control according to the different zone loads were proposed. By separating the control strategy from zone to zone, the proposed control strategy improved the thermal comfort by 5%, reduced peak heating load by 10%, reduced cooling load by 36%, and decrease the total energy consumption by 13%. This study demonstrated a possible improvement on self-regulation of TABS with separate zone controls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resource–Efficient Homes and Communities)
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