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Buildings, Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 2016) – 13 articles

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Open AccessArticle
Norwegian Pitched Roof Defects
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020024 - 21 Jun 2016
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4107
Abstract
The building constructions investigated in this work are pitched wooden roofs with exterior vertical drainpipes and wooden load-bearing system. The aim of this research is to further investigate the building defects of pitched wooden roofs and obtain an overview of typical roof defects. [...] Read more.
The building constructions investigated in this work are pitched wooden roofs with exterior vertical drainpipes and wooden load-bearing system. The aim of this research is to further investigate the building defects of pitched wooden roofs and obtain an overview of typical roof defects. The work involves an analysis of the building defect archive from the research institute SINTEF Building and Infrastructure. The findings from the SINTEF archive show that moisture is a dominant exposure factor, especially in roof constructions. In pitched wooden roofs, more than half of the defects are caused by deficiencies in design, materials, or workmanship, where these deficiencies allow moisture from precipitation or indoor moisture into the structure. Hence, it is important to increase the focus on robust and durable solutions to avoid defects both from exterior and interior moisture sources in pitched wooden roofs. Proper design of interior ventilation and vapour retarders seem to be the main ways to control entry from interior moisture sources into attic and roof spaces. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of a New Dynamic Heating System Model Using a Range of Common Control Strategies
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020023 - 03 Jun 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2771
Abstract
This research investigates the overall heating energy consumptions using various control strategies, secondary heat emitters, and primary plant for a building. Previous research has successfully demonstrated that a dynamic distributed heat emitter model embedded within a simplified third-order lumped parameter building model is [...] Read more.
This research investigates the overall heating energy consumptions using various control strategies, secondary heat emitters, and primary plant for a building. Previous research has successfully demonstrated that a dynamic distributed heat emitter model embedded within a simplified third-order lumped parameter building model is capable of achieving improved results when compared to other commercially available modelling tools. With the enhanced ability to capture transient effects of emitter thermal capacity, this research studies the influence of control strategies and primary plant configurations on the rate of energy consumption of a heating system. Four alternative control strategies are investigated: zone feedback; weather-compensated; a combination of both of these methods; and thermostatic control. The plant alternative configurations consist of conventional boilers, biomass boilers, and heat pumps supporting radiator heating and underfloor heating. The performance of the model is tested on a primary school building and can be applied to any residential or commercial building with a heating system. Results show that the new methods reported offer greater detail and rigor in the conduct of building energy modelling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modelling of Heating and Cooling in Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Variation of Thermochromic Glazing Systems Transition Temperature, Hysteresis Gradient and Width Effect on Energy Efficiency
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020022 - 01 Jun 2016
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3731
Abstract
Due to increasing pressure to reduce the energy demand in buildings, thermochromic thin film based glazing has become a recognized potential solution due to the intrinsic ability to modulate the solar heat gain of a window as a function of the materials temperature. [...] Read more.
Due to increasing pressure to reduce the energy demand in buildings, thermochromic thin film based glazing has become a recognized potential solution due to the intrinsic ability to modulate the solar heat gain of a window as a function of the materials temperature. These “intelligent” glazings have been investigated for several years, and it has been found that, through variation of synthetic route, the thermochromic properties (transition temperature, hysteresis gradient and width) can be altered; however, less attention has been applied to how such alterations affect the overall energy savings attributed to the materials. In this study the building simulation software EnergyPlus TM has been used to model a series of idealized thermochromic spectra in a series of different environments to evaluate their energy saving potential against both clear glass systems and industry standards. The idealized spectra are used to see what effect each of the materials thermochromic properties and therefore elucidate which are the most important with respect to the energy saving properties. It was found that the best thermochromic materials were those with a narrow sharp hysteresis and a low transition temperature and result in an increase in energy saving between 30%–45% across the different environments compared to clear glass systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
An Investigation into Energy Performance with the Integrated Usage of a Courtyard and Atrium
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020021 - 17 May 2016
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3780
Abstract
Offices and retail spaces are among the most energy-intensive building typologies. Designing office buildings without proper consideration of their form, orientation, envelope, and other variables can lead to a considerable increase in energy usage. This research investigates how integrated usage of an atrium [...] Read more.
Offices and retail spaces are among the most energy-intensive building typologies. Designing office buildings without proper consideration of their form, orientation, envelope, and other variables can lead to a considerable increase in energy usage. This research investigates how integrated usage of an atrium and courtyard can improve a building’s energy performance. Thermal performance of both atrium and courtyard spaces as well as their energy-efficient integrated usage in office buildings have been investigated within the scope of this research. DesignBuilder as an interface and EnergyPlus (based on ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) as analytical software have been used to investigate the thermal behavior of an atrium and courtyard in two stages. From the results it appeared that a courtyard with 40% window-to-wall ratio and triple glazing has the best energy performance, while those with single glazing and an 80% window-to-wall ratio represent maximum energy consumption in all climates. The findings also revealed that the integrated usage of a courtyard and atrium can save energy if it is used as a courtyard type of building during summer in all climates and if it is used as an atrium in the cold months. This research is original and will contribute to the literature, as it investigates the integrated usage of an atrium and courtyard with respect to energy efficiency. This research is expected to be beneficial to professionals and academics, especially with respect to the energy-efficient use of courtyards, atria, and their integrated modes. Furthermore, the findings can contribute to the sustainability performance of the built environment through an integrated atrium-courtyard building, resulting in minimal energy consumption. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Analysis of BIM Web Service Requirements and Design to Support Energy Efficient Building Lifecycle
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020020 - 29 Apr 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4483
Abstract
Energy Efficient Building (EEB) design, construction, and operations require the development and sharing of building information among different individuals, organizations, and computer applications. The Representational State Transfer (RESTful) Building Information Modeling (BIM) web service is a solution to enable an effective exchange of [...] Read more.
Energy Efficient Building (EEB) design, construction, and operations require the development and sharing of building information among different individuals, organizations, and computer applications. The Representational State Transfer (RESTful) Building Information Modeling (BIM) web service is a solution to enable an effective exchange of data. This paper presents an investigation into the core RESTful web service requirements needed to effectively support the EEB project lifecycle. The requirements include information exchange requirements, distributed collaboration requirements, internal data storage requirements, and partial model query requirements. We also propose a RESTful web service design model on different abstraction layers to enhance the BIM lifecycle in energy efficient building design. We have implemented a RESTful Application Program Interface (API) prototype on a mock BIMserver to demonstrate our idea. We evaluate our design by conducting a user study based on the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). The results show that our design can enhance the efficiency of data exchange in EEB design scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue BIM in Building Lifecycle)
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Open AccessArticle
A Systematic Study for Smart Residential Thermostats: User Needs for the Input, Output, and Intelligence Level
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020019 - 29 Apr 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2608
Abstract
The development of “smart” residential thermostats—both in terms of wider connectivity and higher intelligence—has revealed great opportunity for energy conservation, as well as providing comfort and convenience. This paper focuses on the interaction design of such a novel system, and analyzed user requirements [...] Read more.
The development of “smart” residential thermostats—both in terms of wider connectivity and higher intelligence—has revealed great opportunity for energy conservation, as well as providing comfort and convenience. This paper focuses on the interaction design of such a novel system, and analyzed user requirements for input, output, and level of intelligence systematically through both in-depth interviews and a survey. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Perceived Thermal Discomfort and Stress Behaviours Affecting Students’ Learning in Lecture Theatres in the Humid Tropics
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020018 - 28 Apr 2016
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2945
Abstract
The study investigated the relationship between students’ perceived thermal discomfort and stress behaviours affecting their learning in lecture theatres in the humid tropics. Two lecture theatres, LTH-2 and 3, at the Niger Delta University, Nigeria, were used for the study. Two groups of [...] Read more.
The study investigated the relationship between students’ perceived thermal discomfort and stress behaviours affecting their learning in lecture theatres in the humid tropics. Two lecture theatres, LTH-2 and 3, at the Niger Delta University, Nigeria, were used for the study. Two groups of students from the Faculties of Agriculture and Engineering and the Department of Technology Education constituted the population. The sample size selected through random sampling for Groups A and B was 210 and 370 students, respectively. Objective and self-report instruments were used for data collection. The objective instrument involved physical measurement of the two lecture theatres and of the indoor temperature, relative humidity and air movement. The self-report instrument was a questionnaire that asked for the students perceived indoor thermal discomfort levels and the effect of indoor thermal comfort level on perceived stress behaviours affecting their learning. The objective indoor environmental data indicated thermal discomfort with an average temperature of 29–32 °C and relative humidity of 78% exceeding the ASHARE [1] and Olgyay [2].The students’ experienced a considerable level of thermal discomfort and also perceived that stress behaviours due to thermal discomfort affected their learning. Further, there were no significant differences in the perceived thermal discomfort levels of the two groups of students in LTH-2 and 3. Furthermore, stress behaviours affecting learning as perceived by the two groups of students did not differ significantly. In addition, no correlation existed between the perceived indoor thermal discomfort levels and stress behaviour levels affecting learning for students in LTH-2, because the arousal level of the students in the thermal environment was likely higher than the arousal level for optimal performance [3,4]. However, a correlation existed in the case of students in LTH-3, which was expected because it only confirmed the widely-accepted view that stress behaviours exhibited by students in any learning can have a profound effect on learning. It was recommended that teaching-learning indoor environment should be thermally comfortable by providing adequate window openings with proper orientation and also by ensuring that the learning space only accommodated the required student capacity to reduce the stress behaviours that affect learning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design of Sustainable Agricultural Buildings. A Case Study of a Wine Cellar in Tuscany, Italy
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020017 - 13 Apr 2016
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3336
Abstract
This research concerns the design of an agricultural building with a high degree of sustainability, located in a farm in the south of the Tuscany region, Italy. The building, intended mainly as a wine cellar, offers innovative construction solutions of high deconstructability and [...] Read more.
This research concerns the design of an agricultural building with a high degree of sustainability, located in a farm in the south of the Tuscany region, Italy. The building, intended mainly as a wine cellar, offers innovative construction solutions of high deconstructability and has features of low environmental impact, economic competitiveness and constructive simplicity. In particular, the design of the basement cellar involves the use of gabions and stones for the realization of the foundations, the ground retaining walls and all other bearing walls. A different solution is adopted for the external wall which remains entirely above ground. It is also made by gabions, but it is externally covered with a coat of straw bales and is plastered with clay or lime. The roof-bearing structure is made of steel beams and galvanized steel sheets. A layer of fertile soil is arranged on the roof to form a green roof system. This research aims to spread the design criteria of deconstructable buildings, based on the use of natural materials with low environmental and economic impact. Where it is not possible to employ natural materials, reusable or recyclable materials are used. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Envelope Thermal Design Optimization for Urban Residential Buildings in Malawi
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020013 - 13 Apr 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3414
Abstract
This study sought to optimize the envelope thermal design of free-running urban residential buildings in Malawi. It specifically set out to improve the urban residential buildings’ thermal comfort and suggest optimal envelope thermal design features for these buildings. The research study was primarily [...] Read more.
This study sought to optimize the envelope thermal design of free-running urban residential buildings in Malawi. It specifically set out to improve the urban residential buildings’ thermal comfort and suggest optimal envelope thermal design features for these buildings. The research study was primarily dependent on computer simulations in EnergyPlus to replicate the typical Malawian urban residential building’s thermal behaviour and then study the impacts of various envelope configurations on the thermal comfort conditions registered in the building. The simulation model was experimentally validated to check its appropriateness to the climatic design conditions prevalent in Malawi and out of the three major cities that were considered, the model was found to be appropriate for use in the two cities of Mzuzu and Lilongwe leaving out the city of Blantyre. The optimization methodology that was employed involved the use of orthogonal arrays, statistical analyses and the listing method. It was found that the optimal envelope thermal design, which registered up to 18% lower discomfort hours than that of the typical urban residential building, consists of a 50 mm concrete floor slab, 230 mm burnt brick walls with an external layer of 19 mm EPS, tiled roof with an internal layer of sarking and 50 mm EPS, double Low-E Glazing with a transparency ratio of 45% and 0.2408 m2 of adaptable operational surface area for the air bricks. Out of all the envelope features that were studied, air infiltration registered the most significant contribution towards the ultimate residential building thermal performance. It was demonstrated that controlled air infiltration through the use of operable air bricks whose operational surface area is adaptable can be very effective in enhancing the building’s comfort levels. It was further observed that excessive insulation of the building envelope generally has a detrimental effect on the indoor space thermal comfort levels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hourly Calculation Method of Air Source Heat Pump Behavior
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020016 - 05 Apr 2016
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2911
Abstract
The paper describes an hourly simplified model for the evaluation of the energy performance of heat pumps in cooling mode maintaining a high accuracy and low computational cost. This approach differs from the methods used for the assessment of the overall energy consumption [...] Read more.
The paper describes an hourly simplified model for the evaluation of the energy performance of heat pumps in cooling mode maintaining a high accuracy and low computational cost. This approach differs from the methods used for the assessment of the overall energy consumption of the building, normally placed in the so-called white or black box models, where the transient conduction equation is deterministically and stochastically solved, respectively. The present method wants to be the expression of the grey box model, taking place between the previous approaches. The building envelope is defined using a building thermal model realized with a 3 Resistance 1 Capacitance (3R1C) thermal network based on the solution of the lumped capacitance method. The simplified model evaluates the energy efficiency ratio (EER) of a heat pump through the determination of the hourly second law efficiency of a reversed Carnot cycle. The results of the simplified method were finally compared with those provided by EnergyPlus, a dynamic building energy simulation program, and those collected from an outdoor test cell in real working conditions. The results are presented in temperatures and energy consumptions profiles and are validated using the Bland-Altman test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modelling of Heating and Cooling in Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Maintenance as a Guarantee for Roofing Performance in Buildings with Heritage Value
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020015 - 02 Apr 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2473
Abstract
This paper is the result of the research conducted at the University of Porto and follows up on the Ph.D. thesis developed by the second author, which deals with the issue of the non-inclusion of maintenance at the time of architectural design, and [...] Read more.
This paper is the result of the research conducted at the University of Porto and follows up on the Ph.D. thesis developed by the second author, which deals with the issue of the non-inclusion of maintenance at the time of architectural design, and of support instruments for the project author to help him in this endeavor. This work is intended to apply a guiding methodology to the design process that includes building maintenance benchmarked by the service behavior with regard to pitched roofs. The development of a decision support model enabled to obtain a maintainability index (MI) to be identified and results from the combination of two indicators: the importance indicator (Iid) and the easiness indicator (Eid). The results achieved enable the project author to have a support tool for making decisions that affect the building behavior in service as well the act of the preservation of heritage value. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Family Structures, Relationships, and Housing Recovery Decisions after Hurricane Sandy
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020014 - 01 Apr 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2809
Abstract
Understanding of the recovery phase of a disaster cycle is still in its infancy. Recent major disasters such as Hurricane Sandy have revealed the inability of existing policies and planning to promptly restore infrastructure, residential properties, and commercial activities in affected communities. In [...] Read more.
Understanding of the recovery phase of a disaster cycle is still in its infancy. Recent major disasters such as Hurricane Sandy have revealed the inability of existing policies and planning to promptly restore infrastructure, residential properties, and commercial activities in affected communities. In this setting, a thorough grasp of housing recovery decisions can lead to effective post-disaster planning by policyholders and public officials. The objective of this research is to integrate vignette and survey design to study how family bonds affected rebuilding/relocating decisions after Hurricane Sandy. Multinomial logistic regression was used to investigate respondents’ family structures before Sandy and explore whether their relationships with family members changed after Sandy. The study also explores the effect of the aforementioned relationship and its changes on households’ plans to either rebuild/repair their homes or relocate. These results were compared to another multinomial logistic regression which was applied to examine the impact of familial bonds on respondents’ suggestions to a vignette family concerning rebuilding and relocating after a hurricane similar to Sandy. Results indicate that respondents who lived with family members before Sandy were less likely to plan for relocating than those who lived alone. A more detailed examination shows that this effect was driven by those who improved their relationships with family members; those who did not improve their family relationships were not significantly different from those who lived alone, when it came to rebuilding/relocation planning. Those who improved their relationships with family members were also less likely to suggest that the vignette family relocate. This study supports the general hypothesis that family bonds reduce the desire to relocate, and provides empirical evidence that family mechanisms are important for the rebuilding/relocating decision-making process. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The impact of Built Environment Characteristics on Metropolitans Energy Consumption: An Example of Greater Cairo Metropolitan Region
Buildings 2016, 6(2), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6020012 - 24 Mar 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2847
Abstract
This paper examined the influences of the built environment and socio-economic driving factors on domestic gasoline consumption in developing metropolitan regions through a case study of the greater Cairo metropolitan region (GCMR), Egypt. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used in analyzing the causality [...] Read more.
This paper examined the influences of the built environment and socio-economic driving factors on domestic gasoline consumption in developing metropolitan regions through a case study of the greater Cairo metropolitan region (GCMR), Egypt. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used in analyzing the causality of the domestic gasoline consumption. The influences of major factors hypothetically affecting the domestic energy consumption such as resident characteristics and built environment characteristics were examined. The results proved a high positive influence of the resident’s income and the number of adults as driving factors, directly and indirectly, affecting energy consumption levels. Population density and attitude towards eco-friendly driving factors proved to be a very low influence on energy consumption. The built environment driving factors such as access time to public transportation and related building characteristics factors proved to have a low impact on energy consumption. The study findings suggest that the design of a built environment should be well related to the socioeconomic factors to manage the domestic energy consumption in developing regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact of Buildings—Linking Impacts and Tools)
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