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Buildings, Volume 5, Issue 2 (June 2015) , Pages 297-735

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Open AccessArticle
Building Envelope Over-Cladding: Impact on Energy Balance and Microclimate
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 715-735; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020715 - 19 Jun 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2132
Abstract
A considerable part of recent EU policies is currently addressed at developing effective measures to support the transition towards a low carbon society according to the principles and goals of Roadmap to 2050. In this general framework the links between the development of [...] Read more.
A considerable part of recent EU policies is currently addressed at developing effective measures to support the transition towards a low carbon society according to the principles and goals of Roadmap to 2050. In this general framework the links between the development of low-emission strategies and climate-resilient approaches to buildings play a key role. As most part of the existing building stock was built before the 1980s, retrofit and renovation actions are widely investigated. Despite progress in this field, relatively little attention has been given to the connections between the achievable energy savings and the energy investment needed to pursue the renovation process and to how technological choices can impact on the energy balance according to a multi-criteria perspective. The paper will explore how different technologies and design solutions to building envelopes cladding contribute to the reduction of the heat gains in urban environments and how appropriate adaptive strategies can further mitigate against accelerated greenhouse emissions. It will discuss the relationship between individual building performance and consequent effect on external environment. The effects of technological and material choices are evaluated for some design scenarios and conditions in order to develop an indicative impact mode. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buildings, Design and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Climate Change Mitigation through Energy Benchmarking in the GCC Green Buildings Codes
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 700-714; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020700 - 05 Jun 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3058
Abstract
It is well known that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of countries resides at or close to the top of the global table of CO2 emissions per capita and its economy relies heavily on its fossil fuels. This provides a context for [...] Read more.
It is well known that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of countries resides at or close to the top of the global table of CO2 emissions per capita and its economy relies heavily on its fossil fuels. This provides a context for green building programs that initially aim to create an understanding of emission pathways within the GCC and hence develop approaches to their reduction in the built environment. A set of criteria will allow specific analysis to be undertaken linked to the spatial dimensions of the sector under study. In this paper, approaches to modelling energy consumption and CO2 emissions are presented. As investment in the built environment continues, natural resources dwindle and the cost of energy increases, delivering low-energy buildings will become mandatory. In this study, a hybrid modelling approach (bottom-top & top-bottom) is presented. Energy benchmarks are developed for different buildings’ uses and compared with international standards. The main goals are to establish design benchmarks and develop a modelling tool that contains specific information for all buildings types (existing and new), as well as planned and projected growths within the various city districts, then integrate this database within a geospatial information system that will allow us to answer a range of “what-if”-type questions about various intervention strategies, emissions savings, and acceptability of pre-defined course of actions in the city sector under consideration. The spatial carbon intensity may be adjusted over a certain period, (e.g., through local generation (microgeneration)) or due to an increasing proportion of lower carbon-energy in the generation mix and this can be related to the sector and city overall consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buildings, Design and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of the Potential to Achieve very Low Energy Use in Public Buildings in China with Advanced Window and Shading Systems
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 668-699; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020668 - 29 May 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2646
Abstract
As rapid growth in the construction industry continues to occur in China, the increased demand for a higher standard living is driving significant growth in energy use and demand across the country. Building codes and standards have been implemented to head off this [...] Read more.
As rapid growth in the construction industry continues to occur in China, the increased demand for a higher standard living is driving significant growth in energy use and demand across the country. Building codes and standards have been implemented to head off this trend, tightening prescriptive requirements for fenestration component measures using methods similar to the U.S. model energy code American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1. The objective of this study is to (a) provide an overview of applicable code requirements and current efforts within China to enable characterization and comparison of window and shading products, and (b) quantify the load reduction and energy savings potential of several key advanced window and shading systems, given the divergent views on how space conditioning requirements will be met in the future. System-level heating and cooling loads and energy use performance were evaluated for a code-compliant large office building using the EnergyPlus building energy simulation program. Commercially-available, highly-insulating, low-emittance windows were found to produce 24%–66% lower perimeter zone HVAC electricity use compared to the mandated energy-efficiency standard in force (GB 50189-2005) in cold climates like Beijing. Low-e windows with operable exterior shading produced up to 30%–80% reductions in perimeter zone HVAC electricity use in Beijing and 18%–38% reductions in Shanghai compared to the standard. The economic context of China is unique since the cost of labor and materials for the building industry is so low. Broad deployment of these commercially available technologies with the proper supporting infrastructure for design, specification, and verification in the field would enable significant reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the near term. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancements in Daylighting in Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Simulating Performance Risk for Lighting Retrofit Decisions
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 650-667; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020650 - 28 May 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2106
Abstract
In building retrofit projects, dynamic simulations are performed to simulate building performance. Uncertainty may negatively affect model calibration and predicted lighting energy savings, which increases the chance of default on performance-based contracts. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to develop a simulation-based [...] Read more.
In building retrofit projects, dynamic simulations are performed to simulate building performance. Uncertainty may negatively affect model calibration and predicted lighting energy savings, which increases the chance of default on performance-based contracts. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to develop a simulation-based method that can analyze lighting performance risk in lighting retrofit decisions. The model uses a surrogate model, which is constructed by adaptively selecting sample points and generating approximation surfaces with fast computing time. The surrogate model is a replacement of the computation intensive process. A statistical method is developed to generate extreme weather profile based on the 20-year historical weather data. A stochastic occupancy model was created using actual occupancy data to generate realistic occupancy patterns. Energy usage of lighting, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is simulated using EnergyPlus. The method can evaluate the influence of different risk factors (e.g., variation of luminaire input wattage, varying weather conditions) on lighting and HVAC energy consumption and lighting electricity demand. Probability distributions are generated to quantify the risk values. A case study was conducted to demonstrate and validate the methods. The surrogate model is a good solution for quantifying the risk factors and probability distribution of the building performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancements in Daylighting in Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrating Life Cycle Energy into the Design of Façade Refurbishment for a Post-War Residential Building in The Netherlands
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 622-649; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020622 - 27 May 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2879
Abstract
The existing building stock has been in the focus of European Union policies for energy savings. Nevertheless, energy certification schemes refer mostly to operational energy and usually do not consider aspects related to the life cycle of the building. To look at the [...] Read more.
The existing building stock has been in the focus of European Union policies for energy savings. Nevertheless, energy certification schemes refer mostly to operational energy and usually do not consider aspects related to the life cycle of the building. To look at the overall energy cost during the lifespan of a building, the energy used to produce and assemble the building materials also needs to be included. This paper develops a design methodology for existing residential buildings that aims at decreasing the life cycle energy use as much as possible. This approach was applied on a case study of an existing post-war residential building in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The main focus of this study is to find a design solution for façade retrofitting that considers both embodied and operational energy. The design approach is based on comparing different strategies for the use of façade materials. This design methodology can be replicated in other projects, as the conclusions and recommendations can also be used for future refurbishment projects for which a low operational energy and materials with a low embodied energy are desired. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Time-History Seismic Analysis of Masonry Buildings: A Comparison between Two Non-Linear Modelling Approaches
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 597-621; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020597 - 26 May 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3088
Abstract
The paper presents a comparison between two numerical modelling approaches employed to investigate the seismic behavior of unreinforced masonry buildings with flexible diaphragms. The comparison is performed analyzing a two-story prototype tested on a shaking table at the CNR-ENEA research center of Casaccia [...] Read more.
The paper presents a comparison between two numerical modelling approaches employed to investigate the seismic behavior of unreinforced masonry buildings with flexible diaphragms. The comparison is performed analyzing a two-story prototype tested on a shaking table at the CNR-ENEA research center of Casaccia (Italy). The first numerical model was built by using the finite element (FE) technique, while the second one was built by a simplified macro-element (ME) approach. Both models were employed to perform non-linear dynamic analyses, integrating the equations of motion by step-by-step procedures. The shaking table tests were simulated to analyze the behavior of the prototype from the initial elastic state until the development of extensive damage. The main results of the analyses are discussed and critically compared in terms of engineering parameters, such as accelerations, displacements and base shears. The effectiveness of both models within the investigated typology of buildings is then evaluated in depth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seismic-Resistant Building Design)
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Open AccessArticle
Renewable Substitutability Index: Maximizing Renewable Resource Use in Buildings
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 581-596; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020581 - 22 May 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2253
Abstract
In order to achieve a material and energy balance in buildings that is sustainable in the long run, there is an urgent need to assess the renewable and non-renewable resources used in the manufacturing process and to progressively replace non-renewable resources with renewables. [...] Read more.
In order to achieve a material and energy balance in buildings that is sustainable in the long run, there is an urgent need to assess the renewable and non-renewable resources used in the manufacturing process and to progressively replace non-renewable resources with renewables. Such progressive disinvestment in the non-renewable resources that may be substituted with renewable resources is referred to as “Renewable Substitutability” and if implemented, this process will lead to a paradigm shift in the way building materials are manufactured. This paper discusses the development of a Renewable Substitutability Index (RSI) that is designed to maximize the use of renewable resources in a building and quantifies the substitution process using solar emergy (i.e., the solar equivalent joules required for any item). The RSI of a building or a building component, i.e., floor or wall systems, etc., is the ratio of the renewable resources used during construction, including replacement and maintenance, to the building’s maximum renewable emergy potential. RSI values range between 0 and 1.0. A higher RSI achieves a low-energy building strategy promoting a higher order of sustainability by optimizing the use of renewables over a building’s lifetime from formation-extraction-manufacturing to maintenance, operation, demolition, and recycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Daylight Design of Office Buildings: Optimisation of External Solar Shadings by Using Combined Simulation Methods
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 560-580; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020560 - 21 May 2015
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 3697
Abstract
Integrating daylight and energy performance with optimization into the design process has always been a challenge for designers. Most of the building environmental performance simulation tools require a considerable amount of time and iterations for achieving accurate results. Moreover the combination of daylight [...] Read more.
Integrating daylight and energy performance with optimization into the design process has always been a challenge for designers. Most of the building environmental performance simulation tools require a considerable amount of time and iterations for achieving accurate results. Moreover the combination of daylight and energy performances has always been an issue, as different software packages are needed to perform detailed calculations. A simplified method to overcome both issues using recent advances in software integration is explored here. As a case study; the optimization of external shadings in a typical office space in Australia is presented. Results are compared against common solutions adopted as industry standard practices. Visual comfort and energy efficiency are analysed in an integrated approach. The DIVA (Design, Iterate, Validate and Adapt) plug-in for Rhinoceros/Grasshopper software is used as the main tool, given its ability to effectively calculate daylight metrics (using the Radiance/Daysim engine) and energy consumption (using the EnergyPlus engine). The optimization process is carried out parametrically controlling the shadings’ geometries. Genetic Algorithms (GA) embedded in the evolutionary solver Galapagos are adopted in order to achieve close to optimum results by controlling iteration parameters. The optimized result, in comparison with conventional design techniques, reveals significant enhancement of comfort levels and energy efficiency. Benefits and drawbacks of the proposed strategy are then discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancements in Daylighting in Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Life Cycle Assessment to Inform Decision-Making for Sustainable Buildings
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 536-559; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020536 - 21 May 2015
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2558
Abstract
Because the student residences of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel built in 1973 are not adapted to current comfort standards, the university decided to construct new accommodation facilities at the border of the campus. However, besides demolition, there was no strategy on how to [...] Read more.
Because the student residences of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel built in 1973 are not adapted to current comfort standards, the university decided to construct new accommodation facilities at the border of the campus. However, besides demolition, there was no strategy on how to deal with the existing ones. In the search for a more sustainable strategy, the university’s administration assigned the TRANSFORM research team to define various design strategies and to assess the long-term environmental consequences in order to select the best strategy by the use of Life Cycle Environmental Assessment. Current Life Cycle Environmental Assessments generally include maintenance, repair, replacement and operational energy consumption during use, but do not include future refurbishments. However, it is likely that their impact cannot be neglected either. Therefore, this article offers a framework which takes future refurbishments into account, in addition to the standard use impacts: initial and end-of-life impact. We report on the construction assemblies, the results of the assessments conducted and the advice provided. The results confirm that the impact of future refurbishments cannot be neglected. In addition, we observed that there were significant environmental savings when transforming the residences compared to new construction, and long-term benefits of a design enabling the reuse of building elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling a Decision Support Tool for Buildable and Sustainable Building Envelope Designs
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 521-535; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020521 - 19 May 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2142
Abstract
Sustainability and buildability requirements in building envelope design have significantly gained more importance nowadays, yet there is a lack of an appropriate decision support system (DSS) that can help a building design team to incorporate these requirements and manage their tradeoffs at once. [...] Read more.
Sustainability and buildability requirements in building envelope design have significantly gained more importance nowadays, yet there is a lack of an appropriate decision support system (DSS) that can help a building design team to incorporate these requirements and manage their tradeoffs at once. The main objective of this study is to build such a tool to facilitate a building design team to take into account sustainability and buildability criteria for assessment of building envelopes of high-rise residential buildings in Singapore. Literature reviews were conducted to investigate a comprehensive set of the sustainability and buildability criteria. This also included development of the tool using a Quality Functional Deployment (QFD) approach combined with fuzzy set theory. A building design team was engaged to test the tool with the aim to evaluate usefulness of the tool in managing the tradeoffs among the sustainability and buildability criteria. The results from a qualitative data analysis suggested that the tool allowed the design team to effectively find a balance between the tradeoffs among the criteria when assessing multiple building envelope design alternatives. Main contributions of using this tool are achievement of a more efficient assessment of the building envelopes and more sustainable and buildable building envelope design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Envelope Design and Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Dynamic Simulation of the Green Roofs Impact on Building Energy Performance, Case Study of Antananarivo, Madagascar
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 497-520; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020497 - 19 May 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2655
Abstract
Green roofs improve building energy performance and constitute an alternative to sustainable buildings. A green roof model is dynamically coupled with a building thermal model to assess its energy performance that takes into account the indoor air temperature dynamic changes. Under the climate [...] Read more.
Green roofs improve building energy performance and constitute an alternative to sustainable buildings. A green roof model is dynamically coupled with a building thermal model to assess its energy performance that takes into account the indoor air temperature dynamic changes. Under the climate conditions in Antananarivo, we compared green and conventional roofs. The present study shows that green roofs protect the roof structure under extreme temperature and large temperature fluctuations. For the case of Antananarivo, the amplitude of the temperature fluctuations at the top face of the support is reduced by 28 °C when using green roof. The impact of the green roof on indoor air temperature and energy demand is investigated. The vegetation decreases the maximum indoor air temperature and improves the building thermal comfort during summer days. It has no effect on the minimum indoor air temperature, but additional soil thickness can increase it. In addition, a global sensitivity analysis, which is carried out on the proposed model without considering any specific weather data, allows us to identify the most influential parameters on the energy demand. It has been found that green roofs have almost insignificant thermal impact in insulated buildings; however, their potential prevails over the building envelope and weather characteristics in the case of non-insulated building. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Towers: Technology, Sustainability, and Resilience)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Comparing Whole Building Energy Implications of Sidelighting Systems with Alternate Manual Blind Control Algorithms
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 467-496; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020467 - 14 May 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2431
Abstract
Currently, there is no manual blind control guideline used consistently throughout the energy modeling community. This paper identifies and compares five manual blind control algorithms with unique control patterns and reports blind occlusion, rate of change data, and annual building energy consumption. The [...] Read more.
Currently, there is no manual blind control guideline used consistently throughout the energy modeling community. This paper identifies and compares five manual blind control algorithms with unique control patterns and reports blind occlusion, rate of change data, and annual building energy consumption. The blind control schemes detailed here represent five reasonable candidates for use in lighting and energy simulation based on difference driving factors. This study was performed on a medium-sized office building using EnergyPlus with the internal daylight harvesting engine. Results show that applying manual blind control algorithms affects the total annual consumption of the building by as much as 12.5% and 11.5% for interior and exterior blinds respectively, compared to the Always Retracted blinds algorithm. Peak demand was also compared showing blind algorithms affected zone load sizing by as much as 9.8%. The alternate algorithms were tested for their impact on American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Guideline 14 calibration metrics and all models were found to differ from the original calibrated baseline by more than the recommended ±15% for coefficient of variance of the mean square error (CVRMSE) and ±5% for normalized mean bias error (NMBE). The paper recommends that energy modelers use one or more manual blind control algorithms during design stages when making decisions about energy efficiency and other design alternatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancements in Daylighting in Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Computer Modeling of Daylight-Integrated Photocontrol of Electric Lighting Systems
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 449-466; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020449 - 13 May 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2141
Abstract
This article presents a variety of different approaches to both model and assess the performance of daylight-integrated electric lighting control systems. In these systems, the output of a controlled lighting zone is based on a light sensor reading and a calibrated control algorithm. [...] Read more.
This article presents a variety of different approaches to both model and assess the performance of daylight-integrated electric lighting control systems. In these systems, the output of a controlled lighting zone is based on a light sensor reading and a calibrated control algorithm. Computer simulations can consider the simulated illuminance data generated from both the electric lighting system and a daylight delivery system whose performance is addressed using typical meteorological year (TMY) weather data. Photosensor signals and the operation of a control system’s dimming algorithms are also included. Methods and metrics for evaluating simulated performance for the purpose of making informed design decisions that lead to the best possible installed system performance are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancements in Daylighting in Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Towards a More Sustainable Building Stock: Optimizing a Flemish Dwelling Using a Life Cycle Approach
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 424-448; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020424 - 11 May 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1993
Abstract
Over the past decades, the construction sector has focused strongly on reducing operational energy consumption. Other types of environmental impact that occur during the life span of construction works, however, have to be taken into account as well. This case study focuses on [...] Read more.
Over the past decades, the construction sector has focused strongly on reducing operational energy consumption. Other types of environmental impact that occur during the life span of construction works, however, have to be taken into account as well. This case study focuses on developing scenarios to improve the environmental profile of new buildings in the Flemish/Belgian context. The study takes into account current energy regulation and investigates the influence of energy scenarios and building type on the environmental profile. A life cycle energy assessment (LCEA) and a life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) were carried out for all scenarios, supplemented by a screening life cycle costing (LCC). The results indicate the importance of the compactness of a building, with the best results identified for the terraced scenario. The results are due to the reduced use of materials and, to a smaller extent, a reduction in energy consumption (smaller exposed surface). The results of the energy scenarios show a discrepancy between the LCEA and LCIA. According to the LCEA, passive scenarios are always preferable, but the LCIA results suggest two ways to reach a similar environmental profile. Firstly, by providing a level of insulation based on current regulations complemented with advanced technical services, and, alternatively, by increasing the level of insulation along with standard services. The results of the LCC show a similar trend to those of the LCIA. The results therefore suggest that there are multiple ways to improve the environmental profile of new buildings. Nevertheless, the choice of impact assessment method can have a strong influence on the results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Natural Ventilation with Heat Recovery: A Biomimetic Concept
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 405-423; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020405 - 08 May 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3737
Abstract
In temperate countries, heat recovery is often desirable through mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR). Drawbacks of MVHR include use of electric power and complex ducting, while alternative passive heat recovery systems in the form of roof or chimney-based solutions are limited to [...] Read more.
In temperate countries, heat recovery is often desirable through mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR). Drawbacks of MVHR include use of electric power and complex ducting, while alternative passive heat recovery systems in the form of roof or chimney-based solutions are limited to low rise buildings. This paper describes a biomimetic concept for natural ventilation with heat recovery (NVHR). The NVHR system mimics the process of water/mineral extraction from urine in the Loop of Henle (part of human kidney). Simulations on a facade-integrated Chamber successfully imitated the geometry and behaviour of the Loop of Henle (LoH). Using a space measuring 12 m2 in area and assuming two heat densities of 18.75 W/m2 (single occupancy) or 30 W/m2 (double occupancy), the maximum indoor temperatures achievable are up to 19.3 °C and 22.3 °C respectively. These come with mean relative ventilation rates of 0.92 air changes per hour (ACH) or 10.7 L·s−1 and 0.92 ACH (11.55 L·s−1), respectively, for the month of January. With active heating and single occupant, the LoH Chamber consumes between 65.7% and 72.1% of the annual heating energy required by a similar naturally ventilated space without heat recovery. The LoH Chamber could operate as stand-alone indoor cabinet, benefitting refurbishment of buildings and evading constraints of complicated ducting, external aesthetic or building age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Envelope Design and Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
The Design and Simulation of Natural Personalised Ventilation (NPV) System for Multi-Bed Hospital Wards
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 381-404; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020381 - 08 May 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3147
Abstract
Adequate ventilation is necessary for thermal comfort and reducing risks from infectious bio-aerosols in hospital wards, but achieving this with mechanical ventilation has carbon and energy implications. Natural ventilation is often limited to window-based designs whose dilution/mixing effectiveness are subject to constraints of [...] Read more.
Adequate ventilation is necessary for thermal comfort and reducing risks from infectious bio-aerosols in hospital wards, but achieving this with mechanical ventilation has carbon and energy implications. Natural ventilation is often limited to window-based designs whose dilution/mixing effectiveness are subject to constraints of wind speed, cross ventilation, and in the case of hospital wards, proximity of patients to external walls. A buoyancy-driven natural ventilation system capable of achieving dilution/mixing was shown to be feasible in a preceding study of novel system called natural personalised ventilation (NPV). This system combined both architecture and airflow engineering principles of space design and buoyancy and was tested and validated (salt-bath experiment) for a single bed ward. This research extends the previous work and is proof-of-concept on the feasibility of NPV system for multi-bed wards. Two different four-bed ward types were investigated of using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations under wind-neutral conditions. Results predict that NPV system could deliver fresh air to multiple patients, including those located 10 m away from external wall, with absolute flow rates of between 32 L·s−1 and 54 L·s−1 for each patient/bed. Compared to same wards simulated using window design, ingress of airborne contaminants into patients’ breathing zone and summer overheating potential were minimised, while overall ward dilution was maximised. Findings suggest the NPV has potentials for enabling architects and building service engineers to decouple airflow delivery from the visualisation and illumination responsibilities placed upon windows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Buildings: Design for Comfort and Users)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrating Simplified and Full Life Cycle Approaches in Decision Making for Building Energy Refurbishment: Benefits and Barriers
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 354-380; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020354 - 05 May 2015
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 2939
Abstract
The life cycle assessment (LCA) method is a powerful tool that can serve to aid decision making regarding the environmental benefits of refurbishment projects. However, due to the relative complexity of LCA studies, simplified LCA methodologies are frequently used, focusing on just some [...] Read more.
The life cycle assessment (LCA) method is a powerful tool that can serve to aid decision making regarding the environmental benefits of refurbishment projects. However, due to the relative complexity of LCA studies, simplified LCA methodologies are frequently used, focusing on just some of the building life cycle phases or a reduced number of indicators. The most common and widespread simplification is to only evaluate the differences a refurbishment project makes on the operational energy use of the building. This paper compares the results of applying full LCA, simplified LCA and operational energy use assessment in a refurbishment case study. Results show that simplified LCA methodologies including building use phase and product manufacturing phase can generally be sufficiently accurate to aid decision making for building energy refurbishment, as other building life cycle phases related to transport of products, on site construction, deconstruction or end of life represent a generally negligible part of the total life cycle impacts, both in terms of resource use or environmental impacts. Barriers and benefits of applying simplified LCA approaches to building energy refurbishment projects are subsequently discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life-Cycle Energy Analysis of Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimizing Whole House Deep Energy Retrofit Packages: A Case Study of Existing Chicago-Area Homes
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 323-353; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020323 - 04 May 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2755
Abstract
Improving the energy efficiency of the residential building stock plays a key role in mitigating global climate change. New guidelines are targeting widespread application of deep energy retrofits to existing homes that reduce their annual energy use by 50%, but questions remain as [...] Read more.
Improving the energy efficiency of the residential building stock plays a key role in mitigating global climate change. New guidelines are targeting widespread application of deep energy retrofits to existing homes that reduce their annual energy use by 50%, but questions remain as to how to identify and prioritize the most cost-effective retrofit measures. This work demonstrates the utility of whole building energy simulation and optimization software to construct a “tool-box” of prescriptive deep energy retrofits that can be applied to large portions of the existing housing stock. We consider 10 generally representative typology groups of existing single-family detached homes built prior to 1978 in the Chicago area for identifying cost-optimal deep energy retrofit packages. Simulations were conducted in BEopt and EnergyPlus operating on a cloud-computing platform to first identify cost-optimal enclosure retrofits and then identify cost-optimal upgrades to heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Results reveal that prescriptive retrofit packages achieving at least 50% site energy savings can be defined for most homes through a combination of envelope retrofits, lighting upgrades, and upgrades to existing HVAC system efficiency or conversion to mini-split heat pumps. The average upfront cost of retrofits is estimated to be ~$14,400, resulting in average annual site energy savings of ~54% and an average simple payback period of ~25 years. Widespread application of these prescriptive retrofit packages across the existing Chicago-area residential building stock is predicted to reduce annual site energy use by 3.7 × 1016 J and yield approximately $280 million USD in annual energy savings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buildings, Design and Climate Change)
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Open AccessEditorial
Introduction and Editorial to the Special Issue “Selected Papers from the Building a Better New Zealand (BBNZ 2014) Conference”
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 318-322; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020318 - 24 Apr 2015
Viewed by 1962
Abstract
The current “Building a Better New Zealand” initiative began in 2009 with the New Zealand Government and the Building Industry working together to develop “Building the Future”—a document that looked at the challenges and opportunities facing the country’s building and construction industry in [...] Read more.
The current “Building a Better New Zealand” initiative began in 2009 with the New Zealand Government and the Building Industry working together to develop “Building the Future”—a document that looked at the challenges and opportunities facing the country’s building and construction industry in coming decades. [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Field Observation of Cooling Energy Savings Due to High-Reflectance Paints
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 310-317; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020310 - 20 Apr 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1775
Abstract
Cooling energy savings in a building with the roof coated with high-reflectance paint are examined. It is difficult to recognize such savings using the data observed hourly. Among the factors assumed to affect cooling energy load are: (1) internal heat generation, (2) set [...] Read more.
Cooling energy savings in a building with the roof coated with high-reflectance paint are examined. It is difficult to recognize such savings using the data observed hourly. Among the factors assumed to affect cooling energy load are: (1) internal heat generation, (2) set temperature, and (3) weather conditions. By analyzing the relationship between indoor-outdoor air temperature difference (averaged) and electric power consumption (integrated) of the air conditioner in the building over a day, the reduction in electric power consumption due to the use of a high-reflectance paint coating is estimated at approximately 72 Wh·m−2·day−1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Envelope Design and Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Driving Innovative Thinking in the New Zealand Construction Industry
Buildings 2015, 5(2), 297-309; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5020297 - 01 Apr 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2466
Abstract
This paper examines the relationship between innovation and productivity improvement in the construction industry. It is argued that this relationship is not well understood due to lack of in-depth understanding of innovation in construction. To overcome this obstacle, the authors present a multi-dimensional [...] Read more.
This paper examines the relationship between innovation and productivity improvement in the construction industry. It is argued that this relationship is not well understood due to lack of in-depth understanding of innovation in construction. To overcome this obstacle, the authors present a multi-dimensional innovation classification system which aims at better defining and classifying what is meant by innovation in construction. The use of this classification system is demonstrated by applying it to a database of 500 innovations reported by the construction alliance, the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team. The results clearly demonstrate the diversity of types, degree of novelty and performance improvement benefits among construction innovations. Such diversity means that the impact of the reported innovations on productivity and performance are of different levels of significance. The classification system developed in this study can be used by construction organisations and alliances in the future to develop more detailed methods of calculating innovation performance indicators, based on the innovation type, novelty and benefits factors. By using this system, they can also put in place mechanisms to influence the types of innovation developed in their projects with the aim of maximising their productivity performance. Full article
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