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Special Issue "Energy and Seismic Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Cities"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Margani

Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture (DICAr), University of Catania, Viale Andrea Doria 6, 95127 Catania, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: sustainable architecture; energy and seismic retrofit; innovation in building technologies; integration of renewable energy systems in the building envelope; history of construction technologies; building refurbishment; restoration of historical buildings

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The principle of sustainability should be strictly connected with safety, since both aim to conserve resources: In the case of sustainability, those resources are typically thought of as environmental, while in the case of safety, the resources are basically human. In spite of this common ground, discussions of sustainability usually give insufficient attention to safety.

In seismic states like Italy, over 75% of the building stock is both highly earthquake-prone and energy-consuming.

In the last years the EU has made large investments to increase the energy efficiency of the existing real estate, paving the way for a low-carbon future. However, less effort has been made for reducing its seismic vulnerability. Therefore, the safety, and consequently the sustainability, of towns situated in seismic countries remains inadequate. In this sense, the disastrous effects of the earthquakes that have recently struck central Italy are emblematic.

In such countries, energy renovation actions should be combined with seismic retrofitting, for the following main reasons: Energy renovation alone will turn out to be worthless if an earthquake destroys the building; to avoid several costs otherwise duplicated (e.g., costs for building-site setup and scaffolds, cladding, plasters and other finishing); for preventing life losses and damages.

However, a number of barriers considerably limit the real possibility to extensively undertake combined retrofit actions, especially for multi-owner housing and high-rise buildings. These barriers are of different kinds: (i) technical (e.g. unfeasibility and/or ineffectiveness of conventional retrofit solutions, need of regulatory simplification); (ii) financial (e.g. high renovation costs, split-incentive/landlord-tenant dilemma, insufficient incentives and subsidies); (iii) organizational (e.g., temporary alternate accommodation for occupants, consensus to the retrofit expenditure by condominium ownerships, excessive time for getting construction permits); and (iv) cultural/social (insufficient information and skills, lack of adequate policy measures for promoting renovation actions).

In this framework, this Special Issue aims at collecting contributions to:

  • describe the scenario of seismic vulnerability and energy performance of any region or state;

  • specify the barriers that limit the concrete possibility to extensively undertake combined retrofitting interventions;

  • suggest possible interventions, measures, tools and policies to overcome such barriers and promote energy and seismic renovation at the same time.

The studies are expected to underline the relation between the suggested strategies and the local context, with the support of case studies (if needed), and to highlight the potentiality of extending the outcomes to other countries with similar scenarios.

I believe that this Special Issue may help bridge the gap between sustainability and safety, with a link that may conserve both human and environmental resources.

Thank you for your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Margani
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

  • energy and seismic retrofit

  • sustainability

  • safety

  • multi-owner housing

  • policy measures

  • case study

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Energy and Seismic Recovering of Ancient Hamlets: the Case of Baia e Latina
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2831; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082831
Received: 6 May 2018 / Revised: 2 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 9 August 2018
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Abstract
This research proposes the development of a diagnostic tool to separately inspect the energetic and seismic behaviour of buildings in the small hamlet of Baia e Latina (district of Caserta) in order to evaluate and implement retrofitting interventions from seismic, energetic, and functional
[...] Read more.
This research proposes the development of a diagnostic tool to separately inspect the energetic and seismic behaviour of buildings in the small hamlet of Baia e Latina (district of Caserta) in order to evaluate and implement retrofitting interventions from seismic, energetic, and functional points of view. Methods, approaches, and tools relating to the minimisation of seismic vulnerability and energy consumption have been increasingly used and tested in order to ensure both sustainability and safety, with a connection that may improve the performances of both cultural and environmental heritage. The diagnosis method, stemming from the energy audit and the energy imprint evaluations of the buildings system (and the envelope above all), aims to redesign the whole construction or some of its parts within an energetic framework. With reference to the seismic behaviour of building aggregates, the basic methodology that has been conceived for isolated masonry buildings through a survey form has represented the starting tool for the application of an appropriate quick evaluation form considered for the aggregated structural units of historical centres. Finally, the methodology employed is aimed at obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate for the structural units of examined masonry aggregates without neglecting their seismic behaviour, which has been assessed in terms of vulnerability and damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Seismic Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle Reducing Seismic Vulnerability and Energy Demand of Cities through Green Infrastructure
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2591; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082591
Received: 12 June 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 24 July 2018
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Abstract
Historically, urbanization processes in Italy resulted in built environments with high levels of seismic vulnerability, low energy efficiency and a lack of green spaces. The latter represent the main providers of ecosystem services in cities and play a relevant role in reducing the
[...] Read more.
Historically, urbanization processes in Italy resulted in built environments with high levels of seismic vulnerability, low energy efficiency and a lack of green spaces. The latter represent the main providers of ecosystem services in cities and play a relevant role in reducing the effects of climate change by the regulation of microclimate and urban heat islands that are responsible for building energy consumption. Despite their importance in providing ecosystem services, the implementation of green infrastructure challenges limited financial resources for the public acquisition of private plots. This paper proposes a strategy to implement an urban green infrastructure aimed at generating a double positive effect on cities by triggering seismic retrofitting and the reduction of cooling energy demand of the existing urban fabric. This is proposed through a transfer of development rights program where landowners gain economic incentives to adopt seismic retrofitting interventions and, at the same time, public administrations implement the green infrastructure in the portion of areas transferred to the municipality. The energy efficiency of buildings closer to the green infrastructure, therefore, benefits from the cooling effects of this new greenery. The strategy is tested under different scenarios of acquisition of private land by public administrations in the metropolitan area of Catania (Italy). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Seismic Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle A Methodology for an Integrated Approach for Seismic and Energy Refurbishment of Historic Buildings in Mediterranean Area
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2448; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072448
Received: 28 May 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 10 July 2018 / Published: 13 July 2018
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Abstract
Energy savings and seismic risk mitigation are the main issues regarding the refurbishment of traditional buildings. Referring to historic buildings, we have to take into account, as design requirements, the cultural sustainability, which means the respects of the cultural value of the built
[...] Read more.
Energy savings and seismic risk mitigation are the main issues regarding the refurbishment of traditional buildings. Referring to historic buildings, we have to take into account, as design requirements, the cultural sustainability, which means the respects of the cultural value of the built heritage. Therefore, for historic buildings is not acceptable to adopt the conventional design choices applied to newer buildings on energy efficiency and seismic risk mitigation. Generally, the design on the built heritage requires a careful cognitive phase for firstly to identify the performance deficits and subsequently to define which actions are compatible with the cultural value of each building, according to a “case by case” approach. In Italy, specific guidelines have been elaborated on cultural heritage but such guidelines are not integrated into a single methodological process. This paper, through the study of two historic buildings, aims to identify the relationship between the two specialisms, seismic and energy, within an integrated approach. As a result, this study proposes an innovation process characterized by the integration of these two protocols within the cognitive phase and, especially in the pre-diagnosis phase; this phase is identified in the standard diagnosis (Energy approach) and in the LV2 knowledge (Seismic empirical approach). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Seismic Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle Seismic and Energy Retrofit of the Historic Urban Fabric of Enna (Italy)
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1138; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041138
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (52600 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper exemplifies several methods for retrofitting existing housing through four case studies, representative of the historical centre of Enna, a small town in Sicily, according to the requirements of static safety, typological adaptation and indoor comfort. These buildings were mostly built in
[...] Read more.
This paper exemplifies several methods for retrofitting existing housing through four case studies, representative of the historical centre of Enna, a small town in Sicily, according to the requirements of static safety, typological adaptation and indoor comfort. These buildings were mostly built in the nineteenth century, up to three floors based on load-bearing masonry, iron joists and hollow tile floors and wooden roofs. A typological and construction analysis of these buildings was carried out to identify the stratigraphy of the different technical elements. Static and energy audits had been previously undertaken to understand the gap between the current state of the buildings and Italian standards and to develop appropriate interventions taking into account the site characteristics and the energy and seismic risk class pre- and post-retrofit intervention. The analyses and the retrofit interventions were performed in compliance with Italian standards and laws and strove to reach the minimum level. The study supports the planning of structural and energy retrofit interventions designed for historic load-bearing masonry buildings. Finally, the study simulates a strategy of action to provide subsidies and tax relief related to effective seismic and/or energy improvement that could be relevant for owners/builders as well as for local authorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Seismic Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle Seismic Retrofit Measures for Masonry Walls of Historical Buildings, from an Energy Saving Perspective
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 984; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040984
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (33720 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The planning of energy saving and structural retrofit interventions on masonry buildings are usually two separate projects; combined interventions are rare. Solutions tackling both aspects can reduce total refurbishment costs and improve global building performance. However, heavy interventions on the envelope have to
[...] Read more.
The planning of energy saving and structural retrofit interventions on masonry buildings are usually two separate projects; combined interventions are rare. Solutions tackling both aspects can reduce total refurbishment costs and improve global building performance. However, heavy interventions on the envelope have to be carefully designed in order to improve both seismic and energy performance whilst mitigating environmental impact. National energy saving regulations are generally less strict for historical buildings, making this category of buildings very interesting not only because of their widespread diffusion across Italy but also because of the possibility of planning interventions that will allow significant improvements by combining building efficiency and safety. This research looks at these aspects and proposes new methods for refurbishing masonry buildings combining seismic improvements and energy saving interventions. Among those mostly commonly applied on masonry buildings in Italy, and described in this paper, are various combined retrofit interventions, and we report the results of these interventions on thermal transmittance reduction and global costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Seismic Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle Renovation of a School Building: Energy Retrofit and Seismic Upgrade in a School Building in Motta Di Livenza
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 969; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040969
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4563 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main part of Italian building stock was built before the energy and seismic regulations, so most of buildings need comprehensive refurbishment to achieve the performance required by laws that are in force. This paper presents an experimental study for an energy and
[...] Read more.
The main part of Italian building stock was built before the energy and seismic regulations, so most of buildings need comprehensive refurbishment to achieve the performance required by laws that are in force. This paper presents an experimental study for an energy and structural upgrade methodology, applied to an existing school building in the north-east of Italy. The methodology is based on the International Energy Agency–Energy in Buildings and Communities Programme (IEA–EBC) Annex 56 project guidelines. For the energy retrofit, a set of interventions is defined concerning the building envelope and systems. Among these interventions, the optimal cost is identified: this minimizes the energy demand and the CO2 emissions, and reduces the financial commitment. The analysis of the seismic retrofit is developed using innovative techniques of intervention and high-performance materials. The proposed interventions are evaluated in terms of efficacy and cost. The results show that it is possible to identify a comprehensive energy retrofit at optimal cost, thanks to high energy saving and subsidies. For the seismic retrofit, the intervention with the higher cost-effectiveness ratio is determined, but the related investment does not have a payback time. The union of the two retrofits permits the combination of benefits and has a payback time for both the interventions. It is possible to state that the cost of a combined intervention is lower than the costs of two different interventions; therefore, when a single retrofit is needed, the possibility of a combined intervention should be evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Seismic Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle A European Project for Safer and Energy Efficient Buildings: Pro-GET-onE (Proactive Synergy of inteGrated Efficient Technologies on Buildings’ Envelopes)
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 812; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030812
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (8279 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper describes the progress of the four-year European project Pro-GET-onE currently under implementation. This research and innovation project is based on the assumption that greater efficiency, attractiveness, and marketable renovation can only be achieved through an integrated set of technologies where all
[...] Read more.
The paper describes the progress of the four-year European project Pro-GET-onE currently under implementation. This research and innovation project is based on the assumption that greater efficiency, attractiveness, and marketable renovation can only be achieved through an integrated set of technologies where all the different requirements (energy, structural, functional) are optimally managed. Thus, the project focuses on the unprecedented integration of different technologies to achieve a multi-benefit approach that is provided by a closer integration between energy and non-energy related benefits. The project aims to combine different pre-fabricated elements in a unified and integrated system resulting in a higher performance in terms of energy requirements, structural safety, and social sustainability. The project attempts to achieve this goal through the introduction of innovative solutions for building envelopes to optimally combine the climatic, structural, and functional aspects through a significant architectural transformation and a substantial increase of the real estate value of the buildings. This augmented value obtained through the application of the inteGrated Efficient Technologies (GETs) is extremely important when considering the necessity of creating an innovative and attractive market in the energy renovation of existing buildings towards the target of nearly zero energy buildings (nZEBs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Seismic Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle Seismic and Energy Renovation Measures for Sustainable Cities: A Critical Analysis of the Italian Scenario
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010254
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4668 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One of the main challenges of the twenty-first century is to increase the sustainability level of our cities. However, a town, to be considered sustainable, must, above all, be safe, particularly against natural hazards, which in Europe are mostly related to climate changes
[...] Read more.
One of the main challenges of the twenty-first century is to increase the sustainability level of our cities. However, a town, to be considered sustainable, must, above all, be safe, particularly against natural hazards, which in Europe are mostly related to climate changes (e.g., hurricanes, floods, storms, and landslides) and seismic events (earthquakes). Unfortunately, sustainability is still not a prerogative of most European cities, especially those placed in seismic countries such as Italy, where at least 50% of the residential stock is earthquake-prone, while over 80% of the same stock is highly energy-consuming and carbon dioxide-emitting, thus contributing to trigger hazards related to climate changes. In this context, renovation actions, which combine both energy and seismic issues are strongly needed. Nevertheless, several technical, organizational and financial barriers considerably limit the real possibility to extensively undertake this kind of renovation. This study analyzes such barriers, with particular reference to the Italian scenario, suggesting and discussing possible solutions and underlining the advantages of increasing energy and seismic performances at the same time. The proposed solutions may be effectively extended to many other countries with similar socio-economic scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Seismic Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Cities)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Seismic and Energy Renovation: A Review of the Code Requirements and Solutions in Italy and Romania
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1561; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051561
Received: 14 March 2018 / Revised: 1 May 2018 / Accepted: 1 May 2018 / Published: 14 May 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (102576 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most European cities are characterized by very large areas, often formed by buildings of low quality, from a series of perspectives (architectural, technological, materials, technical systems, etc.). The possibility of renovating them is strategic to improve both the quality of life and to
[...] Read more.
Most European cities are characterized by very large areas, often formed by buildings of low quality, from a series of perspectives (architectural, technological, materials, technical systems, etc.). The possibility of renovating them is strategic to improve both the quality of life and to the possibility of economic recovery for building companies. In the last decades, the attention of the scientific community has been addressed to the energy renovation, thanks to the strong activities of the European Community in this field. However, since a relevant part of the EC territory is at risk of earthquake, the possibility to combine both energy and seismic renovation actions may be strategic for many countries. In particular, Italy and Romania are linked by a common social tradition that springs from the Roman Empire. Nowadays, this link is stronger, thanks to common interests in social, cultural and business fields. Therefore, the investigation of possible synergies for seismic and energy renovation strategies may be really interesting for both countries. In this paper, after an overview of regulations and common practices for buildings with reinforced concrete structures, in both states, some key combined renovation interventions will be described and discussed, as well as advantages and perspectives of integrated renovation approaches. The outcomes of this work are to show the way to transform existing energy-consuming and seismic-prone buildings into energy-efficient and seismic-resistant ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Seismic Renovation Strategies for Sustainable Cities)
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