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Special Issue "Smart Energy Regions—Drivers and Barriers to the Implementation of Low Carbon Technologies at a Regional Scale"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Joanne Patterson

Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University
Website | E-Mail
Interests: built environment; energy; low carbon; technologies
Guest Editor
Dr. Derek Sinnott

Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford Ireland
Website1 | Website2 | E-Mail
Interests: Energy Efficiency and Management (M&T, M&V); Building Airtightness; Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ); retrofitting existing buildings; Smart Energy Technologies and Large Scale Implementation; Clean Energy Technologies including Solar Thermal & PV, Biomass and Wind

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There are a broad range of drivers and barriers involved in the implementation of innovative low carbon technologies at a regional scale. These include policy, supply chains, skills and training, and cost and value. To achieve the national and international target carbon emission reductions set by governments, the barriers need to be removed and the drivers need to be stimulated at a regional scale. This action requires the input from different sectors including the construction industry, government and research to allow informed decisions using both a top–down and bottom–up approach to make the zero carbon transition from policy to practice. Papers selected for this special issue are subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments and applications associated with smart energy regions.

Dr. Joanne Patterson
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

  • low carbon technologies
  • region
  • drivers
  • barriers,
  • skills
  • supply chains
  • cost
  • value

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Evaluation of a Regional Retrofit Programme to Upgrade Existing Housing Stock to Reduce Carbon Emissions, Fuel Poverty and Support the Local Supply Chain
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1261; doi:10.3390/su8121261
Received: 7 October 2016 / Revised: 24 November 2016 / Accepted: 29 November 2016 / Published: 3 December 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (11061 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The first-ever legally binding global climate deal that will be adopted by 195 countries was introduced in Paris in 2015, highlighting that climate change is being recognised as a real and urgent global problem. Legislative interventions need to be accompanied by significant action
[...] Read more.
The first-ever legally binding global climate deal that will be adopted by 195 countries was introduced in Paris in 2015, highlighting that climate change is being recognised as a real and urgent global problem. Legislative interventions need to be accompanied by significant action across all sectors of the built environment through reducing energy demand, providing energy supply from low carbon sources and combining with this with energy storage to enable necessary targets to be met. Retrofitting existing buildings is critical to making these cuts as 80% of buildings currently in existence will still be present in 2050. These retrofits need to be undertaken rapidly using replicable and affordable solutions that benefit both the householder whilst significantly reducing emissions. This paper will present an evaluation of a £9.6 million regional scale retrofit programme funded under the Welsh Governments Arbed 1 Programme which aimed to reduce fuel poverty, reduce carbon emissions and support the energy efficiency and renewable supply chain and encourage recruitment and training in the sector. Results have been obtained from desk top data collection and energy modelling calculations. The evaluation work presents the technical, environmental and economic impacts of the programme and demonstrates lessons learnt to help improve the implementation of the other regional retrofit projects providing evidence of the impacts of a large scale retrofit programme that are necessary for the deep carbon reductions required in the near future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Introduction of Behavioral Parameterization in the EPC Calculation Method and Assessment of Five Typical Urban Houses in Wallonia, Belgium
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1205; doi:10.3390/su8111205
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 22 November 2016
PDF Full-text (13635 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Energy Performance Certification (EPC) of existing residential buildings has been designed to introduce energy efficiency as a comparative criterion for real-estate purchase choices, which should influence real-estate market value and stimulate energy saving investments. EPCs in Belgium are asset ratings, calculated with
[...] Read more.
The Energy Performance Certification (EPC) of existing residential buildings has been designed to introduce energy efficiency as a comparative criterion for real-estate purchase choices, which should influence real-estate market value and stimulate energy saving investments. EPCs in Belgium are asset ratings, calculated with a standardized approach, which purposefully (and understandably) takes the human factor out of the equations in order to allow the comparison of buildings. As a result, they often overestimate energy consumption and present discrepancies that do not allow appropriation of the results by potential buyers. This study proposes complementary EPC results, obtained by integrating the behavior of occupants in the calculation method. This paper first analyses the pool of behavioral uncertainties that influence the results of EPCs, describes a questionnaire built to gather additional data on households’ characteristics and energy consumption habits and proposes modifications to the calculation method. The complementary results are then compared to regulatory EPC results and real consumption data. Though acknowledging the necessity of a standardized EPC for dwellings’ comparison, this study completes it with data on the energy consumption-related behaviors to (partially) close the gap between real and theoretical consumptions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Bottom-Up Building Stock Model for Tracking Regional Energy Targets—A Case Study of Kočevje
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1063; doi:10.3390/su8101063
Received: 30 July 2016 / Revised: 8 September 2016 / Accepted: 14 September 2016 / Published: 21 October 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5399 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper addresses the development of a bottom-up building stock energy model (BuilS) for identification of the building stock renovation potential by considering energy performance of individual buildings through cross-linked data from various public available databases. The model enables integration of various EE
[...] Read more.
The paper addresses the development of a bottom-up building stock energy model (BuilS) for identification of the building stock renovation potential by considering energy performance of individual buildings through cross-linked data from various public available databases. The model enables integration of various EE and RES measures on the building stock to demonstrate long-term economic and environmental effects of different building stock refurbishment strategies. In the presented case study, the BuilS model was applied in the Kočevje city area and validated using the measured energy consumption of the buildings connected to the city district heating system. Three strategies for improving the building stock in Kočevje towards a more sustainable one are presented with their impact on energy use and CO2 emission projections up to 2030. It is demonstrated that the BuilS bottom-up model enables the setting of a correct baseline regarding energy use of the existing building stock and that such a model is a powerful tool for design and validation of the building stock renovation strategies. It is also shown that the accuracy of the model depends on available information on local resources and local needs, therefore acceleration of the building stock monitoring on the level of each building and continually upgrading of databases with building renovation information is of the utmost importance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Measurement of Heat-Flux of New Type Façade Walls
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1031; doi:10.3390/su8101031
Received: 3 August 2016 / Revised: 30 September 2016 / Accepted: 11 October 2016 / Published: 14 October 2016
PDF Full-text (6611 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The building envelope makes the most significant contribution to the reduction of building energy consumption. The application of new, alternative and improved materials and systems has an important impact on the performance of buildings. This paper is focused on thermal transmittance as an
[...] Read more.
The building envelope makes the most significant contribution to the reduction of building energy consumption. The application of new, alternative and improved materials and systems has an important impact on the performance of buildings. This paper is focused on thermal transmittance as an indicator of thermal conduction of the construction element. It includes comparisons of the U-values calculated by software with those measured in-situ on three representative façade walls. The walls have been constructed with the new wall system Fragmat NZ-1, a new product in Macedonian buildings. This research provides basic information on the thermal transmittance of the system. The results of the analysis show that in-situ measuring is a useful tool in validating the precision of analytically calculated values, since it was difficult to obtain precise results from the analytical calculations only, especially when the layers have non-uniform thickness. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Decision Making Tool for a Comprehensive Evaluation of Building Retrofitting Actions at the Regional Scale
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 990; doi:10.3390/su8100990
Received: 10 May 2016 / Revised: 19 September 2016 / Accepted: 27 September 2016 / Published: 30 September 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1298 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Buildings in Europe account for 40% of total primary energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions. Nearly one-half of the building stock was built before modern energy efficiency standards and need urgent renovation. Urban retrofitting has emerged as a crucial factor for
[...] Read more.
Buildings in Europe account for 40% of total primary energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions. Nearly one-half of the building stock was built before modern energy efficiency standards and need urgent renovation. Urban retrofitting has emerged as a crucial factor for bringing about a radical change, the new construction rate being lower than 1%. Nevertheless, an accepted and consolidated methodology for refurbishing the existing housing stock is still lacking. The study presents an operating methodology for the optimization of the retrofitting process, based on energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness, as well as users’ comfort, in the building asset of ITEA SpA, the social housing institute for the Province of Trento (Italy), which manages more than 600 buildings. The research consists of the following stages: (1) definition of building classes, similar in age, dimension, typology, construction system and location; (2) analysis of plant systems and recognition of cases significant for classifying buildings in term of energy class; (3) identification of possible improvements and related cost-benefits; and (4) extension of the results to the whole building class. A tool is here proposed, intended for use by ITEA in order to set medium- and long-term plans. The tool does not consider only the effective sustainability of the controlling body intervention but also the final users’ full satisfaction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Reflection on Low Energy Renovation of Residential Complexes in Southern Europe
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 987; doi:10.3390/su8100987
Received: 30 July 2016 / Revised: 15 September 2016 / Accepted: 24 September 2016 / Published: 30 September 2016
PDF Full-text (14140 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The transformation of European existing building stock towards very low energy buildings requires a new approach. In this context, it seems reasonable to think that buildings should no longer be renovated individually but as part of a global energy system. Focusing on larger
[...] Read more.
The transformation of European existing building stock towards very low energy buildings requires a new approach. In this context, it seems reasonable to think that buildings should no longer be renovated individually but as part of a global energy system. Focusing on larger urban units may present some scale advantages and may constitute an opportunity to change the urban environment in a smart energy way. Specificities of Southern European countries are addressed. Due either to the climate or the life style, there are large differences in energy consumption per dwelling among southern and northern European countries. How much heating energy will be saved by over-insulating building envelopes if people do not feel the need to heat their houses in the first place? In addition, real energy use in buildings frequently shows major differences with respect to the predicted consumption. The definition of realistic solutions demands the availability of realistic predictions. A case of a residential complex in Portugal is used to illustrate the main questions and to conclude that moving from a building to a group of buildings scale may be an interesting challenge for policy makers to look closer in the near future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Natural Ventilation Building Design Approach in Mediterranean Regions—A Case Study at the Valencian Coastal Regional Scale (Spain)
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 855; doi:10.3390/su8090855
Received: 27 July 2016 / Revised: 18 August 2016 / Accepted: 22 August 2016 / Published: 29 August 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4585 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Environmental awareness has led to an increased concern about low carbon technologies implementation. Among these technologies, the following research is focused on the natural ventilation effect evaluation in buildings prior to its construction. The aim is to select the most suitable architectural solution
[...] Read more.
Environmental awareness has led to an increased concern about low carbon technologies implementation. Among these technologies, the following research is focused on the natural ventilation effect evaluation in buildings prior to its construction. The aim is to select the most suitable architectural solution to ensure comfortable indoor environment in the most efficient way in the early building design stage. The design approach takes into account the wind conditions in the region and the building surroundings to evaluate the façade opening distribution impact on natural ventilation performance. The design approach is based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD). In this article, a case study located in the Valencian Community (Spain) is depicted. The Valencian Community coastal climatic conditions are evaluated to assess the low carbon technology energy saving potential. Moreover, the main drivers and barriers involved in the design approach implementation in the region are discussed. The conclusions show that the natural ventilation design approach can improve up to 9.7% the building energy performance respect an initial building design, in which natural ventilation has not been considered. The results contribute to an assessment of the complete low carbon technology effect in the region. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Experimental Study of a Small Scale Hydraulic System for Mechanical Wind Energy Conversion into Heat
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 637; doi:10.3390/su8070637
Received: 17 May 2016 / Revised: 29 June 2016 / Accepted: 30 June 2016 / Published: 20 July 2016
PDF Full-text (6006 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Significant potential for reducing thermal energy consumption in buildings of moderate and cold climate countries lies within wind energy utilisation. Unlike solar irradiation, character of wind speeds in Central and Northern Europe correspond to the actual thermal energy demand in buildings. However, mechanical
[...] Read more.
Significant potential for reducing thermal energy consumption in buildings of moderate and cold climate countries lies within wind energy utilisation. Unlike solar irradiation, character of wind speeds in Central and Northern Europe correspond to the actual thermal energy demand in buildings. However, mechanical wind energy undergoes transformation into electrical energy before being actually used as thermal energy in most wind energy applications. The study presented in this paper deals with hydraulic systems, designed for small-scale applications to eliminate the intermediate energy transformation as it converts mechanical wind energy into heat directly. The prototype unit containing a pump, flow control valve, oil tank and piping was developed and tested under laboratory conditions. Results of the experiments showed that the prototype system is highly efficient and adjustable to a broad wind velocity range by modifying the definite hydraulic system resistance. Development of such small-scale replicable units has the potential to promote “bottom-up” solutions for the transition to a zero carbon society. Full article

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