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Buildings, Volume 5, Issue 4 (December 2015) , Pages 1105-1413

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Open AccessArticle
Managing Measurement Uncertainty in Building Acoustics
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1389-1413; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041389 - 18 Dec 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2138
Abstract
In general, uncertainties should preferably be determined following the principles laid down in ISO/IEC Guide 98-3, the Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement (GUM:1995). According to current knowledge, it seems impossible to formulate these models for the different quantities in building [...] Read more.
In general, uncertainties should preferably be determined following the principles laid down in ISO/IEC Guide 98-3, the Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement (GUM:1995). According to current knowledge, it seems impossible to formulate these models for the different quantities in building acoustics. Therefore, the concepts of repeatability and reproducibility are necessary to determine the uncertainty of building acoustics measurements. This study shows the uncertainty of field measurements of a lightweight wall, a heavyweight floor, a façade with a single glazing window and a façade with double glazing window that were analyzed by a Round Robin Test (RRT), conducted in a full-scale experimental building at ITC-CNR (Construction Technologies Institute of the National Research Council of Italy). The single number quantities and their uncertainties were evaluated in both narrow and enlarged range and it was shown that including or excluding the low frequencies leads to very significant differences, except in the case of the sound insulation of façades with single glazing window. The results obtained in these RRTs were compared with other results from literature, which confirm the increase of the uncertainty of single number quantities due to the low frequencies extension. Having stated the measurement uncertainty for a single measurement, in building acoustics, it is also very important to deal with sampling for the purposes of classification of buildings or building units. Therefore, this study also shows an application of the sampling included in the Italian Standard on the acoustic classification of building units on a serial type building consisting of 47 building units. It was found that the greatest variability is observed in the façade and it depends on both the great variability of window’s typologies and on workmanship. Finally, it is suggested how to manage the uncertainty in building acoustics, both for one single measurement and a campaign of measurements to determine the acoustic classification of buildings or building units. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers on Building and Architectural Acoustics from ICSV22)
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Open AccessArticle
Guidelines for Using Building Information Modeling for Energy Analysis of Buildings
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1361-1388; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041361 - 09 Dec 2015
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3571
Abstract
Building energy modeling (BEM), a subset of building information modeling (BIM), integrates energy analysis into the design, construction, and operation and maintenance of buildings. As there are various existing BEM tools available, there is a need to evaluate the utility of these tools [...] Read more.
Building energy modeling (BEM), a subset of building information modeling (BIM), integrates energy analysis into the design, construction, and operation and maintenance of buildings. As there are various existing BEM tools available, there is a need to evaluate the utility of these tools in various phases of the building lifecycle. The goal of this research was to develop guidelines for evaluation and selection of BEM tools to be used in particular building lifecycle phases. The objectives of this research were to: (1) Evaluate existing BEM tools; (2) Illustrate the application of the three BEM tools; (3) Re-evaluate the three BEM tools; and (4) Develop guidelines for evaluation, selection and application of BEM tools in the design, construction and operation/maintenance phases of buildings. Twelve BEM tools were initially evaluated using four criteria: interoperability, usability, available inputs, and available outputs. Each of the top three BEM tools selected based on this initial evaluation was used in a case study to simulate and evaluate energy usage, daylighting performance, and natural ventilation for two academic buildings (LEED-certified and non-LEED-certified). The results of the case study were used to re-evaluate the three BEM tools using the initial criteria with addition of the two new criteria (speed and accuracy), and to develop guidelines for evaluating and selecting BEM tools to analyze building energy performance. The major contribution of this research is the development of these guidelines that can help potential BEM users to identify the most appropriate BEM tool for application in particular building lifecycle phases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue BIM in Building Lifecycle)
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Open AccessArticle
The Use of Sound Absorbing Shading Systems for the Attenuation of Noise on Building Façades. An Experimental Investigation
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1346-1360; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041346 - 07 Dec 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2841
Abstract
The problem of solar irradiation in building façades with large windows is often solved with the use of external shading devices, such as brise-soleil systems, but their potential acoustic effects on building façades are usually neglected. The purpose of this work is a [...] Read more.
The problem of solar irradiation in building façades with large windows is often solved with the use of external shading devices, such as brise-soleil systems, but their potential acoustic effects on building façades are usually neglected. The purpose of this work is a preliminary consideration of the acoustic behaviour of brise-soleil systems and, furthermore, the evaluation of the possibility to improve their performances, in terms of Sound Pressure Level (SPL) abatement over glass surfaces. The paper reports the results of a study on two portions of the same office building, with shading devices installed in front of large windows. Both airborne sound insulation measurements and SPL measurements over the glass surfaces of the windows were carried out to compare different situations, with or without louvers, and with sound absorbing experimental louvers as well. Results show that the louvers' presence can produce an increase in the SPL over the glass surface as a consequence of the reflection of the sound. Results further show that sound absorbing louvers improve the noise protection of the system, in terms of the SPL reduction, over glass surfaces, cancelling out the negative effect of the standard shading devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers on Building and Architectural Acoustics from ICSV22)
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Open AccessArticle
BIM-Based Decision Support System for Material Selection Based on Supplier Rating
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1321-1345; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041321 - 05 Dec 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2578
Abstract
Material selection is a delicate process, typically hinged on a number of factors which can be either cost or environmental related. This process becomes more complicated when designers are faced with several material options of building elements and each option can be supplied [...] Read more.
Material selection is a delicate process, typically hinged on a number of factors which can be either cost or environmental related. This process becomes more complicated when designers are faced with several material options of building elements and each option can be supplied by different suppliers whose selection criteria may affect the budgetary and environmental requirements of the project. This paper presents the development of a decision support system based on the integration of building information models, a modified harmony search algorithm and supplier performance rating. The system is capable of producing the cost and environmental implications of different material combinations or building designs. A case study is presented to illustrate the functionality of the developed system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue BIM in Building Lifecycle)
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Open AccessArticle
Requirements of Integrated Design Teams While Evaluating Advanced Energy Retrofit Design Options in Immersive Virtual Environments
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1302-1320; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041302 - 05 Dec 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2128
Abstract
One of the significant ways to save energy use in buildings is to implement advanced energy retrofits in existing buildings. Improving energy performance of buildings through advanced energy retrofitting requires a clear understanding of the cost and energy implications of design alternatives from [...] Read more.
One of the significant ways to save energy use in buildings is to implement advanced energy retrofits in existing buildings. Improving energy performance of buildings through advanced energy retrofitting requires a clear understanding of the cost and energy implications of design alternatives from various engineering disciplines when different retrofit options are considered. The communication of retrofit design alternatives and their energy implications is essential in the decision-making process, as it affects the final retrofit selections and hence the energy efficiency of the retrofitted buildings. The objective of the research presented here was to identify a generic list of information requirements that are needed to be shared and collectively analyzed by integrated design teams during advanced energy retrofit design review meetings held in immersive settings. While identifying such requirements, the authors used an immersive environment based iterative requirements elicitation approach. The technology was used as a means to better identify the information requirements of integrated design teams to be analyzed as a group. This paper provides findings on information requirements of integrated design teams when evaluating retrofit options in immersive virtual environments. The information requirements were identified through interactions with sixteen experts in design and energy modeling domain, and validated with another group of participants consisting of six design experts who were experienced in integrated design processes. Industry practitioners can use the findings in deciding on what information to share with integrated design team members during design review meetings that utilize immersive virtual environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue BIM in Building Lifecycle)
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Open AccessEditorial
Double-Blind Peer-Review in Buildings
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1301; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041301 - 05 Dec 2015
Viewed by 1511
Abstract
We have taken the decision that all manuscripts submitted to Buildings after 5 December 2015 will be reviewed using a double-blind peer-review process.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Alignment of Organizational and Project Contexts for BIM Adoption: A Case Study of a Large Owner Organization
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1265-1300; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041265 - 27 Nov 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3592
Abstract
Building information modeling (BIM) has been presented as a potential solution to current facilities management problems related to information exchange during handover, and facilities information management during operations. However, implementing BIM in an owner organization is a complex challenge that necessitates reconfiguration of [...] Read more.
Building information modeling (BIM) has been presented as a potential solution to current facilities management problems related to information exchange during handover, and facilities information management during operations. However, implementing BIM in an owner organization is a complex challenge that necessitates reconfiguration of work practices and internal structures to fully realize the benefits. Owners are often unsure about how or whether they should go through the challenges related to implementation. Although previous studies have documented the potential benefits of BIM adoption for owners, such as improvements in work order processing, very little research has specifically looked at the transition to BIM and the scale of the effort required for large and diverse owner organizations. This paper presents the results of a long-term embedded case study analysis of a large owner-operator institutional organization that investigated the alignment of facility management (FM) practices across organizational and project contexts. The research objective was to examine current organizational practices in order to understand the potential, as well as the challenges, of transitioning from a paper-based to a model-based approach in handover and operations. We describe the current state of handover, information management and facility management practices and developed a framework to characterize the alignment between organizational constructs, available technology, project artifacts and owner requirements. This investigation of the current state of practice enables us to understand the gap between available and required information, processes and technology, and to better understand the enormous challenges owners face when considering the transition to BIM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue BIM in Building Lifecycle)
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Open AccessArticle
Contribution of Portuguese Vernacular Building Strategies to Indoor Thermal Comfort and Occupants’ Perception
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1242-1264; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041242 - 17 Nov 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2573
Abstract
Solar passive strategies that have been developed in vernacular architecture from different regions are a response to specific climate effects. These strategies are usually simple, low-tech and have low potential environmental impact. For this reason, several studies highlight them as having potential to [...] Read more.
Solar passive strategies that have been developed in vernacular architecture from different regions are a response to specific climate effects. These strategies are usually simple, low-tech and have low potential environmental impact. For this reason, several studies highlight them as having potential to reduce the demands of non-renewable energy for buildings operation. In this paper, the climatic contrast between northern and southern parts of mainland Portugal is presented, namely the regions of Beira Alta and Alentejo. Additionally, it discusses the contribution of different climate-responsive strategies developed in vernacular architecture from both regions to assure thermal comfort conditions. In Beira Alta, the use of glazed balconies as a strategy to capture solar gains is usual, while in Alentejo the focus is on passive cooling strategies. To understand the effectiveness of these strategies, thermal performances and comfort conditions of two case studies were evaluated based on the adaptive comfort model. Field tests included measurement of hygrothermal parameters and surveys on occupants’ thermal sensation. From the results, it has been found that the case studies have shown a good thermal performance by passive means alone and that the occupants feel comfortable, except during winter where there is the need to use simple heating systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Buildings: Design for Comfort and Users)
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Open AccessArticle
A Methodology to Support Decision-Making Towards an Energy-Efficiency Conscious Design of Residential Building Envelope Retrofitting
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1221-1241; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041221 - 17 Nov 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2326
Abstract
Over the next decade investment in building energy savings needs to increase, together with the rate and depth of renovations, to achieve the required reduction in building-related CO2 emissions. Although the need to improve residential buildings has been identified, guidelines come as [...] Read more.
Over the next decade investment in building energy savings needs to increase, together with the rate and depth of renovations, to achieve the required reduction in building-related CO2 emissions. Although the need to improve residential buildings has been identified, guidelines come as general suggestions that fail to address the diversity of each project and give specific answers on how these requirements can be implemented in the design. During early design phases, architects are in search of a design direction to make informed decisions, particularly with regard to the building envelope, which mostly regulates energy demand. To result in an energy-efficient residential stock, this paper proposes a methodology to support refurbishment strategies design. The methodology, called “façade refurbishment toolbox (FRT) approach”, is based on compiling and quantifying retrofitting measures that can be also seen as “tools” used to upgrade the building’s energy performance. The result of the proposed methodology enables designers to make informed decisions that lead to energy and sustainability conscious designs, without dictating an optimal solution, from the energy point of view alone. Its applicability is validated through interviews with refurbishment stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buildings, Design and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Energy Performance of Two Multi-Story Wood-Frame Passive Houses in Sweden
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1207-1220; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041207 - 10 Nov 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2354
Abstract
Two eight-story wood-framed residential buildings with the Swedish 2012 passive house standard were built in 2009 in the Portvakten Söder quarter in the city of Växjö in Sweden. In this paper, we present the monitored specific energy use of the buildings and compare [...] Read more.
Two eight-story wood-framed residential buildings with the Swedish 2012 passive house standard were built in 2009 in the Portvakten Söder quarter in the city of Växjö in Sweden. In this paper, we present the monitored specific energy use of the buildings and compare to the requirements of the Swedish building code and recommendation for passive houses. We also estimated the primary energy use and CO2 emissions and investigated the tenants’ views and experiences of the two buildings. Results show that the actual specific energy use of 40.2 kWh/m2Atemp/year in the Portvakten Söder building fulfills, by a good margin, the requirements of the Swedish building code and the recommended passive house standard, but is higher than projected. Applying a marginal perspective, the calculated primary energy use and carbon dioxide emission from operating the buildings (excluding household electricity) was 40 kWh/m2Atemp/year and zero, respectively. Responses of 20 tenants to a mail-in questionnaire survey showed that over 90% were satisfied with their apartments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Importance of the “Local” in Walkability
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1187-1206; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041187 - 22 Oct 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1827
Abstract
Transportation infrastructure and transportation behaviors consume significant natural resources and are costly to municipalities, states, and the federal government. Small cities, in particular, may find themselves with high costs. Although transportation has been extensively investigated, methods that may enable small cities to act [...] Read more.
Transportation infrastructure and transportation behaviors consume significant natural resources and are costly to municipalities, states, and the federal government. Small cities, in particular, may find themselves with high costs. Although transportation has been extensively investigated, methods that may enable small cities to act are still lacking. To investigate the influence that neighborhood-level built environment characteristics have on adult personal transportation decisions within small cities, this study combined community-based research, a multi-level analysis of residents, and a case study approach in two (North-Eastern United States) New Hampshire cities, Portsmouth and Manchester. Neighborhood-level physical characteristics were determined using Geographic Information Systems and visual surveys. Resident-level characteristics and behaviors were determined by survey of adult residents. Data were supplemented with input from and collaboration with city representatives. The results showed significant relationships between self-reported destination walking and built environment characteristics in the neighborhoods studied. Furthermore, the results showed variability between neighborhoods, underscoring the importance of local factors and behaviors. The results suggested that small cities and their regional planning organizations can make changes to specific existing neighborhoods to remove barriers to walking and allow more residents to choose walking as a transportation mode, but the changes that are most effective vary by neighborhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Building Environment on Health and Well-Being)
Open AccessArticle
Improving Occupant Wellness in Commercial Office Buildings through Energy Conservation Retrofits
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1171-1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041171 - 21 Oct 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1836
Abstract
There is increasing literature demonstrating the link between building indoor environmental quality, and occupant health and productivity, driving the corporate real estate industry to investigate how to integrate wellness features in both new and existing building stock. Meanwhile, new voluntary standards to promote [...] Read more.
There is increasing literature demonstrating the link between building indoor environmental quality, and occupant health and productivity, driving the corporate real estate industry to investigate how to integrate wellness features in both new and existing building stock. Meanwhile, new voluntary standards to promote occupant health are becoming adopted alongside sustainability standards. As commercial building owners and tenants seek to improve occupant conditions and incorporate wellness, apparently conflicting priorities must be balanced, particularly improving indoor environmental conditions has the potential to increase energy. This paper presents a framework to consider retrofits holistically and considering the benefit of improved conditions both qualitatively and quantitatively. Where poor conditions exist, published literature demonstrates a lost productivity cost that exceeds typical building energy costs, and this is quantified in the financial analysis presented. Energy retrofits provide a unique opportunity to integrate wellness-enabling features because the energy savings can offset marginal energy or operating cost increases for particular wellness interventions. This paper presents a flexible, customizable framework to develop potential retrofit bundles and evaluate them considering economic, sustainability, wellness, risk and occupant experience factors to identify the optimal zone of retrofit. An illustrative case study using real building data demonstrates how the framework might be applied to a real project and customized to achieve unique stakeholder priorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Building Environment on Health and Well-Being)
Open AccessArticle
Assessing Embodied Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Infrastructure Projects
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1156-1170; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041156 - 16 Oct 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2370
Abstract
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from construction processes are a serious concern globally. Of the several approaches taken to assess emissions, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) based methods do not just take into account the construction phase, but consider all phases of the life cycle [...] Read more.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from construction processes are a serious concern globally. Of the several approaches taken to assess emissions, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) based methods do not just take into account the construction phase, but consider all phases of the life cycle of the construction. However, many current LCA approaches make general assumptions regarding location and effects, which do not do justice to the inherent dynamics of normal construction projects. This study presents a model to assess the embodied energy and associated GHG emissions, which is specifically adapted to address the dynamics of infrastructure construction projects. The use of the model is demonstrated on the superstructure of a prefabricated bridge. The findings indicate that Building Information Models/Modeling (BIM) and Discrete Event Simulation (DES) can be used to efficiently generate project-specific data, which is needed for estimating the embodied energy and associated GHG emissions in construction settings. This study has implications for the advancement of LCA-based methods (as well as project management) as a way of assessing embodied energy and associated GHG emissions related to construction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue BIM in Building Lifecycle)
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Open AccessArticle
Life Cycle Assessment of Energy and CO2 Emissions for Residential Buildings in Jakarta and Bandung, Indonesia
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1131-1155; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041131 - 15 Oct 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3087
Abstract
The objective of this study is to analyze life cycle energy and CO2 emission profiles by employing an input–output analysis method for urban houses in major cities of Indonesia. Two surveys investigating building material inventory and household energy consumption within individual houses [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to analyze life cycle energy and CO2 emission profiles by employing an input–output analysis method for urban houses in major cities of Indonesia. Two surveys investigating building material inventory and household energy consumption within individual houses were conducted in Bandung in 2011 and 2012. The results show that, if reused and recycled materials were assumed to be zero, the averaged embodied energy for simple, medium and luxurious houses in Bandung was larger than that for their respective houses in Jakarta. Overall, the average annual energy consumption of all samples in Jakarta was approximately 20.6 GJ, which is 5.0 GJ larger than that in Bandung. In terms of life cycle energy, the operational energy accounted for 79%–86% and 69%–81% of the total for respective houses in Jakarta and Bandung. The profiles of life cycle CO2 emissions are similar to those of energy. The results of the scenario analysis prove that the promotion of reusing/recycling is important to reduce building material inputs/waste and their corresponding embodied energy. It is also important to reduce the use of air-conditioning for operational energy in the future by adopting passive cooling techniques wherever possible. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Environmental Design of Working Spaces in Equatorial Highlands Zones: The Case of Bogotá
Buildings 2015, 5(4), 1105-1130; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings5041105 - 09 Oct 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2181
Abstract
Recent empirical investigations have indicated that the majority of occupants in office buildings would appreciate contact with the external environment, especially in cities where the climate is mild for part of the year. Supported by the possibilities of adaptive thermal models, the design [...] Read more.
Recent empirical investigations have indicated that the majority of occupants in office buildings would appreciate contact with the external environment, especially in cities where the climate is mild for part of the year. Supported by the possibilities of adaptive thermal models, the design of naturally ventilated buildings has been elaborated since the decade of 1990s. More communal areas rather than private ones are demanded due to the importance of social interaction and knowledge transfer among employees. In this context, this paper investigates the possibility of daylight and thermal comfort in naturally ventilated working environments, located in cities of mild climatic conditions, by redefining the parameters of a façade’s design and exploring coupling strategies with the outdoors. For this purpose, the city of Bogotá (Latitude 4°7′ N), in Colombia, a place with great potential for passive strategies, is taken as the geographic context of this research, which is supported by fieldwork with occupants of 37 office buildings and analytical work. The survey revealed that being close to a window is valued by the majority. Furthermore, 50% would like to have informal areas and outdoor spaces attached to their working environments. In additithe analytical studies showed how the combination of a set of environmental design strategies, including a schedule for coupling and decoupling of indoor spaces with the outdoors and a variation of occupancy density, made thermal comfort possible in free running working spaces in Bogotá. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buildings, Design and Climate Change)
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