Special Issue "Energy Efficiency in Buildings and Innovative Materials for Building Construction"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Cristina Cornaro

Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Impresa, University of Rome Tor Vergata, via del Politecnico 1-00133, Rome, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: energy efficiency in buildings; building dynamic simulation; thermal comfort; microclimate monitoring; historical buildings; innovative materials for buildings; sustainable materials for buildings; photovoltaic technologies outdoor characterization; photovoltaic production forecast; BIPV
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Cinzia Buratti

Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, Via G. Duranti, 67, 06125 Perugia, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: energy and buildings; innovative and recycled insulation materials; transparent insulation materials; biomass and bioenergy; acoustics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is our pleasure to announce the opening of a new Special Issue in the Applied Science Journal.

The main topics of the Issue will be regarding energy efficiency in buildings and the use of innovative materials for design and retrofit to pursue the goal. In developed countries, energy consumption in buildings comprises 20%–40% of the total energy use, and is above industry and transport in EU and USA. For this reason, energy efficiency strategies have become a priority in energy policies, with new regulations and certification schemes, including minimum requirements. This could be allowed by means of different approaches, among which energy saving in buildings will be essential in order to make a sustainable energy future possible.  In Europe, the new Clean Energy for All Europeans package also outlines specific measures for the building sector, with considerable potential for gains in energy performance. Among the measures, it is worth mentioning the boost of renovations for more energy-efficient buildings, as well as an improved monitoring of buildings energy performance so as to reduce costs.

Under this perspective, the Special Issue wants to contribute to the field, presenting the most relevant advances in this research area.

The following are some of the topics proposed for this Special Issue (but not limited to):

  • Retrofit of buildings for energy efficiency
  • Control and management of buildings for energy efficiency and thermal comfort (model predictive control)
  • Innovative materials for building construction
  • Green and sustainable materials for buildings
  • New efficient and sustainable buildings
  • Historical buildings conservation, energy management, and comfort

We hope you will contribute your high-quality research and we look forward to reading your valuable results.

Prof. Cristina Cornaro
Prof. Cinzia Buratti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • energy efficiency
  • management and control of buildings
  • innovative materials for building construction
  • sustainable and green materials for buildings
  • buildings retrofit

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Life-Cycle Optimization of a Chiller Plant with Quantified Analysis of Uncertainty and Reliability in Commercial Buildings
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(8), 1548; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9081548
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 11 April 2019 / Accepted: 11 April 2019 / Published: 14 April 2019
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Abstract
Conventional and most optimal design methods for chiller plants often address the annual cooling load distribution of buildings and their peak cooling loads based on typical meteorological year (TMY) data, while the peak cooling load only appears a few times during the life-cycle [...] Read more.
Conventional and most optimal design methods for chiller plants often address the annual cooling load distribution of buildings and their peak cooling loads based on typical meteorological year (TMY) data, while the peak cooling load only appears a few times during the life-cycle and the sized chiller plant usually operates within its low efficient region. In this paper, a robust optimal design method based on life-cycle total cost was employed to optimize the design of a chiller plant with quantified analysis of uncertainty and reliability. By using the proposed design method, the optimized chiller plant can operate at its highly efficient region under various cooling load conditions, and provide sufficient cooling capacity even alongside some equipment/systems with failures. The minimum life-cycle total cost, which consists of the capital cost, operation, and availability-risk cost, can be achieved through optimizing the total cooling capacity and the numbers/sizes of chillers. A case study was conducted to illustrate the detailed implementation process of the proposed method. The performance of this design method was evaluated by comparing with that of other design methods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Potential on Energy Performance Upgrade of National Stadiums: A Case Study for the Pancretan Stadium, Crete, Greece
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(8), 1544; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9081544
Received: 6 March 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 10 April 2019 / Published: 13 April 2019
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Abstract
Energy performance upgrade of stadiums constitutes a complex and demanding task because of both the size and the variety of the involved energy loads. The present article aims to summarize the basic results of the implemented study on the energy performance upgrade of [...] Read more.
Energy performance upgrade of stadiums constitutes a complex and demanding task because of both the size and the variety of the involved energy loads. The present article aims to summarize the basic results of the implemented study on the energy performance upgrade of the Pancretan Stadium, Crete, Greece. This target was approached with a cluster of passive and active measures: replacement of old openings, a photovoltaic station, an open loop geothermal system, installation of energy-efficient lighting devices, a solar-biomass combi system and a Building Energy Management System (BEMS) for the control of the main energy consumptions. The dimensioning of all the proposed active systems is optimized through the computational simulation of their annual operation. With the applied technologies, the achieved annual energy saving percentage exceeds 83%. The Renewable Energy Sources annual penetration percentage is calculated at 82% versus the annual energy consumption. The Stadium’s energy performance is upgraded from rank D to rank A+, according to the European Union’s directives. The set-up cost of the under consideration energy performance upgrade systems is approximately calculated at 2,700,000 €, with a payback period of 12 years, calculated versus the achieved monetary savings due to the reduction of the consumed energy resources. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Retrofitting a Building’s Envelope: Sustainability Performance of ETICS with ICB or EPS
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(7), 1285; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9071285
Received: 28 January 2019 / Revised: 14 March 2019 / Accepted: 19 March 2019 / Published: 27 March 2019
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Abstract
This paper analyses the environmental, energy, and economic performances of the External Thermal Insulation Composite System (ETICS) using agglomerated insulation cork board (ICB) or expanded polystyrene (EPS) as insulation material applied in the energetic renovation of the building envelope during a 50-year study [...] Read more.
This paper analyses the environmental, energy, and economic performances of the External Thermal Insulation Composite System (ETICS) using agglomerated insulation cork board (ICB) or expanded polystyrene (EPS) as insulation material applied in the energetic renovation of the building envelope during a 50-year study period. A comparison between ETICS using ICB and EPS, for the same time horizon, is also presented. The environmental balance is based on “Cradle to Cradle” (C2C) Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), focusing on the carbon footprint and consumption of nonrenewable primary energy (PE-NRe). The characteristics of these products in terms of thermal insulation, the increased energy performance provided by their installation for retrofit of the buildings’ envelope, and the resulting energy savings are considered in the energy balance. The estimation of the C2C carbon and PE-NRe saved is considered in the final balance between the energy and environmental performances. ETICS with ICB is environmentally advantageous both in terms of carbon footprint and of PE-NRe. In fact, the production stage of ICB is less polluting, while EPS requires lower energy consumption to fulfil the heating and cooling needs of a flat, due to its lower U-Value, and its lower acquisition cost results in a lower C2C cost. Comparing both ETICS’ alternatives with reference solutions, it was found that the latter only perform better in the economic dimension, and only for an energy consumption to fulfil less than 25% of the heating and cooling needs. This paper represents an advance to the current state-of-the-art by including all the life-cycle stages and dimensions of the LCA in the analysis of solutions for energy renovation of building envelopes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Thermal Properties of New Insulating Juncus Maritimus Fibrous Mortar Composites/Experimental Results and Analytical Laws
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(5), 981; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9050981
Received: 25 January 2019 / Revised: 15 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 8 March 2019
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Abstract
This study aims to study the thermal properties and the microstructure of composite materials based on mortar combined with Juncus maritimus fibers. Effective thermophysical properties of the composite materials containing Juncus maritimus fibers are experimentally and theoretically investigated. To better understand the morphology [...] Read more.
This study aims to study the thermal properties and the microstructure of composite materials based on mortar combined with Juncus maritimus fibers. Effective thermophysical properties of the composite materials containing Juncus maritimus fibers are experimentally and theoretically investigated. To better understand the morphology of these new composites, the corresponding microstructures were characterized in 2D by scanning electron microscope and in 3D using micro computed tomography. The local thermal conductivity of the Juncus maritimus fibers was identified using theoretical models and experimental measurement of the effective thermal conductivity of packed bed of crushed fibers. The thermal conductivity of the mortar matrix at given porosity was also determined using experimental measurement data and a theoretical model. The most appropriate analytical laws to predict effective thermal conductivity of mortar composites containing fibers are deduced from experimental thermal conductivity results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Optimization of Glass Edge Sealing Process Using Microwaves for Fabrication of Vacuum Glazing
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(5), 874; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9050874
Received: 24 January 2019 / Revised: 22 February 2019 / Accepted: 22 February 2019 / Published: 28 February 2019
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Abstract
Among the various methods used for glass edge sealing, this study uses microwaves to seal glass edges. Through basic experiments, the main process conditions for edge sealing of glass were derived, and the experimental plan and analysis were carried out using the Box-Behnken [...] Read more.
Among the various methods used for glass edge sealing, this study uses microwaves to seal glass edges. Through basic experiments, the main process conditions for edge sealing of glass were derived, and the experimental plan and analysis were carried out using the Box-Behnken method of response-surface analysis based on 3 factors and 3 levels. The step height which influences sealing was set as a response variable. If the step height becomes too large, the glass can be damaged, and if the step height is too small, the edge sealing will not be performed. Accordingly, process optimization that edge sealing is possible while minimizing the step height was carried out. A predictable regression equation was derived for the step height of edge sealing and the main-effect analysis was performed for the step height. Using the response-optimization tool, we derived the optimum process condition that minimized the step height of the edge sealing and verified that it matched the error value of 4.1% compared with the target value of the step height measurement result confirmed through the verification experiment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A State-Space Analysis of a Single Zone Building Considering Solar Radiation, Internal Radiation, and PCM Effects
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(5), 832; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9050832
Received: 4 February 2019 / Revised: 20 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
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Abstract
This paper deals with the dynamic modeling of a typical single-zone building. It describes the development of a dynamic model for thermal transient analysis and its application to a simplified test case considering solar irradiation and internal radiation. The dynamic behavior of the [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the dynamic modeling of a typical single-zone building. It describes the development of a dynamic model for thermal transient analysis and its application to a simplified test case considering solar irradiation and internal radiation. The dynamic behavior of the indoor air temperature has been investigated by means of a lumped approach using a state-space representation developed in MATLAB/Simulink. A set of daily temperature profiles, which are representative of the Mediterranean climatic condition, on a few different winter days, has been used as boundary conditions for the dynamic simulations. In addition, the model has been validated using two different sets of experimental data available in the literature, both statically and dynamically. Finally, a layer of insulation with a phase change material (PCM) is applied to the single zone building to quantify its effect on the building’s behavior. The results showed that the rate and amount of energy consumption in the building with PCM are moderately lower than the building without PCM. In addition, the variation of inlet air temperature, solar effects, and energy consumption have been evaluated for a case study example, as well as comfort in transient simulation to achieve a complete evaluation of the test building investigated. A satisfactory agreement was obtained between the experimental and the simulation results and shows that the model can be used for a wide range of materials, dimensions, thermal resistances, and boundary conditions. Full article
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