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Buildings, Volume 10, Issue 8 (August 2020) – 10 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Our work examined the “one-size-fits-all” approach, which is the most common cooling approach in inpatient wards in hot climates. It enables patients to have a wide range of control over the room temperature, down to 18 °C or less. The disparity of patients’ medical conditions and reduced metabolism has led to warmer perceptions by patients. Monitoring the indoor temperature profiles over an extended period of time revealed that surgical and cardiology wards frequently preferred moderate temperatures, while higher temperatures were preferred in medical and oncology wards. Existing HVAC equipment can reach very low temperatures, but these are not needed and cause intensive-energy loads in buildings that operate 24 hours a day. View this paper
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Article
Integrated Cost-Analysis Approach for Seismic and Thermal Improvement of Masonry Building Façades
Buildings 2020, 10(8), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10080143 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1296
Abstract
The combination of structural and thermal efficiency is a new frontier in civil engineering. Indeed, the retrofitting strategies should optimize costs and technical solutions from these two points of view. If a technical solution is able to provide an improvement of both structural [...] Read more.
The combination of structural and thermal efficiency is a new frontier in civil engineering. Indeed, the retrofitting strategies should optimize costs and technical solutions from these two points of view. If a technical solution is able to provide an improvement of both structural and energetic behavior, then the utility of the intervention can better justify the economic investment. In this paper, a meso-scale approach (i.e., façade-scale) for integrated interventions applied on masonry façades is proposed. The structural performance of the façade is evaluated by considering base shear and ductility of the structural element through non-linear static analyses. Moreover, the thermal indicator, that is the thermal transmittance, is computed with a simplified approach in terms of an equivalent wall, taking into account the role of the windows and doors of the façade. As proof of concept, the procedure is applied to a façade of an existing masonry building. Economic and environmental iso-cost curves are obtained to tune the interventions conceived for a real case study, analyzing the benefit offered by different retrofitting solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Building Structures)
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Article
Research and Development Directions for Design Support Tools for Circular Building
Buildings 2020, 10(8), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10080142 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2404
Abstract
To support the construction sector in its transition to a circular economy, many design instruments and decision support tools have been and are still being developed. This development is uncoordinated and raises confusion among building designers and advising engineers, slowing down the tools’ [...] Read more.
To support the construction sector in its transition to a circular economy, many design instruments and decision support tools have been and are still being developed. This development is uncoordinated and raises confusion among building designers and advising engineers, slowing down the tools’ adoption in practice. Moreover, it is unclear if the available design tools are able to fulfil the needs of design professionals at all. Therefore, this research identifies the knowledge challenges for the “supply and demand” of design tools for a circular construction practice. It focuses on Flanders, given the importance the topic receives in the region’s policy programme and among practitioners. This study builds on a thorough literature review, and on inventorying and categorising instruments and ongoing developments. By comparing that review with the needs that were identified during interviews with a focus group, it was possible to pinpoint designers’ needs for support tools and outline three urgent research tracks. More generally, it was found that the needs of our focus group are only partially reflected by the available design tools and the ongoing developments. This identified mismatch advocates for a more participatory and practice-oriented research approach when developing design support tools for circular building. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Engineering: the Challenges - Trends - Achievements)
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Article
Moisture Redistribution in Full-Scale Wood-Frame Wall Assemblies: Measurements and Engineering Approximation
Buildings 2020, 10(8), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10080141 - 14 Aug 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1177
Abstract
A counter-balanced mass measurement system was constructed to allow measurement of water loss from a full-scale wood-framed wall assembly. Water was injected onto a localized area of paper towel adjacent to the oriented strand board (OSB) wall sheathing. Moisture pins in the OSB [...] Read more.
A counter-balanced mass measurement system was constructed to allow measurement of water loss from a full-scale wood-framed wall assembly. Water was injected onto a localized area of paper towel adjacent to the oriented strand board (OSB) wall sheathing. Moisture pins in the OSB and relative humidity/temperature sensors inside the insulated wall cavity monitored conditions as the wall dried out. The wetted OSB area’s moisture content dropped at a faster rate than the total mass of the wall, indicating moisture redistribution within the wall. A simple model was used to calculate overall moisture redistribution, which was characterized using a near-exponential decay function. This simplification of the inherently three-dimensional physics of moisture redistribution could be incorporated into the one-dimensional hygrothermal models often used in research and engineering practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Building Energy, Physics, Environment, and Systems)
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Article
Potential Application of Blockchain Technology for Embodied Carbon Estimating in Construction Supply Chains
Buildings 2020, 10(8), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10080140 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 3070
Abstract
Carbon emissions are categorised as Embodied Carbon (EC) occurring in the production phase and Operational Carbon (OC) occurring in the operational phase of buildings. The current focus on producing zero-carbon buildings, emphasises reducing OC and ignores the importance of reducing EC emissions. This [...] Read more.
Carbon emissions are categorised as Embodied Carbon (EC) occurring in the production phase and Operational Carbon (OC) occurring in the operational phase of buildings. The current focus on producing zero-carbon buildings, emphasises reducing OC and ignores the importance of reducing EC emissions. This study focuses on EC. Methods available in EC estimating currently produce estimates that often do not complement each other. This makes it important to develop a robust and accurate methodology for estimating EC. Blockchain is an emerging technology that has significant potential for transaction processing in supply chains. The construction industry being the second least digitalised industry, the adoption of innovative technologies is predominantly important. This paper explores the potential application of blockchain for accurate estimation of EC in construction supply chains. A detailed literature review and expert interviews revealed that, compared to traditional information systems, blockchain systems could eliminate issues in EC estimating highlighting its potential credible application for EC estimating. Scalability was identified as a feature that was lacking in a blockchain system, however, for EC estimating, its impact was identified as minimal. It will be difficult to generalise the findings of the study due to interview based qualitative methodology adopted in this study along with the fact that blockchain is an emerging and fairly new technology. However, a similar process could be followed by other studies to compare blockchain with traditional information systems, to evaluate the suitability of blockchain technology to develop prototype systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Construction Management, and Computers & Digitization)
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Article
Application of Machine Learning for Predicting Building Energy Use at Different Temporal and Spatial Resolution under Climate Change in USA
Buildings 2020, 10(8), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10080139 - 04 Aug 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3567
Abstract
Given the urgency of climate change, development of fast and reliable methods is essential to understand urban building energy use in the sector that accounts for 40% of total energy use in USA. Although machine learning (ML) methods may offer promise and are [...] Read more.
Given the urgency of climate change, development of fast and reliable methods is essential to understand urban building energy use in the sector that accounts for 40% of total energy use in USA. Although machine learning (ML) methods may offer promise and are less difficult to develop, discrepancy in methods, results, and recommendations have emerged that requires attention. Existing research also shows inconsistencies related to integrating climate change models into energy modeling. To address these challenges, four models: random forest (RF), extreme gradient boosting (XGBoost), single regression tree, and multiple linear regression (MLR), were developed using the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey dataset to predict energy use intensity (EUI) under projected heating and cooling degree days by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) across the USA during the 21st century. The RF model provided better performance and reduced the mean absolute error by 4%, 11%, and 12% compared to XGBoost, single regression tree, and MLR, respectively. Moreover, using the RF model for climate change analysis showed that office buildings’ EUI will increase between 8.9% to 63.1% compared to 2012 baseline for different geographic regions between 2030 and 2080. One region is projected to experience an EUI reduction of almost 1.5%. Finally, good data enhance the predicting ability of ML therefore, comprehensive regional building datasets are crucial to assess counteraction of building energy use in the face of climate change at finer spatial scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Building Energy, Physics, Environment, and Systems)
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Article
Optimal Simulation of Three Peer to Peer (P2P) Business Models for Individual PV Prosumers in a Local Electricity Market Using Agent-Based Modelling
Buildings 2020, 10(8), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10080138 - 29 Jul 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2255
Abstract
Solar photovoltaic (PV) is becoming one of the most significant renewable sources for positive energy district (PED) in Sweden. The lack of innovative business models and financing mechanisms are the main constraints for PV’s deployment installed in local communities. This paper therefore proposes [...] Read more.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) is becoming one of the most significant renewable sources for positive energy district (PED) in Sweden. The lack of innovative business models and financing mechanisms are the main constraints for PV’s deployment installed in local communities. This paper therefore proposes a peer-to-peer (P2P) business model for 48 individual building prosumers with PV installed in a Swedish community. It considers energy use behaviour, electricity/financial flows, ownerships and trading rules in a local electricity market. Different local electricity markets are designed and studied using agent-based modelling technique, with different energy demands, cost–benefit schemes and financial hypotheses for an optimal evaluation. This paper provides an early insight into a vast research space, i.e., the operation of an energy system through the constrained interaction of its constituting agents. The agents (48 households) show varying abilities in exploiting the common PV resource, as they achieve very heterogeneous self-sufficiency levels (from ca. 15% to 30%). The lack of demand side management suggests that social and lifestyle differences generate huge impacts on the ability to be self-sufficient with a shared, limited PV resource. Despite the differences in self-sufficiency, the sheer energy amount obtained from the shared PV correlates mainly with annual cumulative demand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Net-Zero/Positive Energy Buildings and Districts)
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Article
Uncertainty in the Early Phase of a Municipal Building Refurbishment Project—A Case Study in Finland
Buildings 2020, 10(8), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10080137 - 27 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1761
Abstract
Municipal building refurbishment projects are carried out under conditions of high uncertainty and complexity, which often result in unsatisfying outcomes. In this research, a case study approach is used to provide a holistic presentation of the sources of uncertainties in the early phase [...] Read more.
Municipal building refurbishment projects are carried out under conditions of high uncertainty and complexity, which often result in unsatisfying outcomes. In this research, a case study approach is used to provide a holistic presentation of the sources of uncertainties in the early phase of a municipal school refurbishment project in Finland. The study also explores how these sources are treated in the case project. It is considered that the uncertainty in the case study originated from three key sources: from the project due to the characteristics of existing buildings; from the organization due to the separately operating municipal units; from the municipal environment due to the municipal policy, and decision-making process. This study shows that more emphasis should be laid on the sources of uncertainty in the early phases of a municipal building refurbishment project for reaching proper decisions. In addition, the study presents suggestions for improving the municipal process. Full article
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Article
Thermal Environment Perceptions from a Longitudinal Study of Indoor Temperature Profiles in Inpatient Wards
Buildings 2020, 10(8), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10080136 - 25 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1596
Abstract
Inpatient wards in general have cooling systems with a “one-size-fits-all” approach, driven by a fixed set-point temperature (21–24 °C) that is flexible to lower limits down to 18 °C or less. This approach does not consider patients’ temperature demands, which vary due to [...] Read more.
Inpatient wards in general have cooling systems with a “one-size-fits-all” approach, driven by a fixed set-point temperature (21–24 °C) that is flexible to lower limits down to 18 °C or less. This approach does not consider patients’ temperature demands, which vary due to thermo-physiology caused by medical conditions, and mixed demographics. It also causes additional cooling demands in hot climates that are infrequently utilized by patients, who tend to adopt warmer internal set temperatures. Thus, this research examined the indoor temperature profiles (distribution of shape) in patient rooms in fully air-conditioned inpatient wards over an extended period of time. During four months of summer, longitudinal monitoring of internal temperature and relative humidity was carried out in 18 patient rooms in the surgical, medical, cardiology, and oncology wards of two hospitals in Saudi Arabia. In parallel, 522 patients were surveyed to capture common subjective thermal indices. The findings revealed that the most frequently preferred temperature (peaks) varied significantly between wards; peaks (modes) were 20.1–21.8 °C in cardiology; 22.2–23.9 °C in the surgical ward; warmer 24.8–25.3 °C in medical ward; and 25.3–26.8 °C in oncology. Surveys also showed that patients were not satisfied with the indoor environment in both hospitals. Given the significant variance in temperature profiles between wards and patient dissatisfaction with the indoor environment, these results suggest that more appropriately designed zoned cooling strategies are needed in hospitals as per the nature of each ward. Besides its implications for benchmarking the HVAC system, this approach will substantially reduce energy loads and operational costs in hot-climate hospitals if patients desire warmer conditions than the set conditions provided by system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Building Energy, Physics, Environment, and Systems)
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Article
Definition of Optimal Ventilation Rates for Balancing Comfort and Energy Use in Indoor Spaces Using CO2 Concentration Data
Buildings 2020, 10(8), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10080135 - 24 Jul 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2473
Abstract
Air ventilation rate plays a relevant role in maintaining adequate indoor air quality (IAQ) conditions in public buildings. In general, high ventilation rates ensure good indoor air quality but entail relevant energy consumption. Considering the necessity of balancing IAQ and energy consumption, a [...] Read more.
Air ventilation rate plays a relevant role in maintaining adequate indoor air quality (IAQ) conditions in public buildings. In general, high ventilation rates ensure good indoor air quality but entail relevant energy consumption. Considering the necessity of balancing IAQ and energy consumption, a correlation between the number of occupants obtained from analysis of CO2 concentration variation is presented as a general element for controlling the operation of heating ventilation and air cooling (HVAC) systems. The specific CO2 exhalation rate is estimated using experimental data in some real conditions in university classrooms. A method for the definition of optimal values of air exchange rate is defined, highlighting that the obtained values are much lower than those defined in current technical standards with possibilities of relevant reduction of the total energy consumption. Full article
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Article
Schedule Delay Risk Analysis in Construction Projects with a Simulation-Based Expert System
Buildings 2020, 10(8), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10080134 - 23 Jul 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2576
Abstract
In this paper, we present a simulation-based approach for effectively estimating delay risks in project schedules and predicting the possibilities of in-time project completion for various deadlines. The main contribution of this study is the development of a novel approach for duration risk [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present a simulation-based approach for effectively estimating delay risks in project schedules and predicting the possibilities of in-time project completion for various deadlines. The main contribution of this study is the development of a novel approach for duration risk quantification, which uses a newly introduced equation for total risk estimation regarding activities’ durations, and quantifying the manager’s experience as expressed through a questionnaire. In addition, the proposed approach integrates these preferences into a simulation-based framework used for estimating the activities’ durations variation and predicting the actual project duration with more accuracy. Furthermore, using different distributions according to each activity characteristic supports decision making from a wide range of experts, from risk-averse to risk-seeking managers. The proposed method was applied to estimate the total project completion time of a complicated hotel renovation project and the possibility for the project to be delivered within an imposed deadline. The promising results in comparison to the classic PERT method proved that this process can better express the uncertainty and provide project risk managers with better predictions when estimating budget and time-critical overruns under lack of knowledge and historical data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Construction Management, and Computers & Digitization)
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