Beyond Energy Efficiency in Architecture. New Challenges and Research Trajectories for Buildings and the Built Environment

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Science and Technology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2022) | Viewed by 37076

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Special Issue Editors

Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Via Ponzio 31, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: performance-based design; energy efficiency in buildings; climate-responsive design; daylight; building envelope engineering; building technology; architecture
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Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Via Ponzio 31, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: building envelop innovation; user and comfort centric design; technology transfer; building overheating and energy efficiency
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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2-134, Gløshaugen, Høgskoleringen 7a, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
Interests: solar energy; solar potential; daylight; urban climate; building technology; parametric modeling; building and neighborhood energy design
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Chair of Buildings and Constructional Complexes, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Jamova 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: daylighting, building energy performance; bioclimatic design; building envelope performance; high-performance buildings; climate change and building performance; building sustainability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Via Ponzio 31, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: building-human interaction; visual comfort; thermal comfort; smart buildings; building operation performance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last few decades, energy efficiency and lower environmental impact of buildings (during their life cycle) have been at the forefront of building design, geared towards the goal of low carbon energy transition. Both fundamental and applied research has seen the expansion of innovative architectural concepts, new uses, as well as new building operation models, resulting in the development of cutting-edge and high-performance building energy and management systems, building technologies, materials, and components. Significant progress has also been made in the design approach with the introduction of BIM, positively influencing the management of the operational phase of the building with continuous monitoring and commissioning, for real time and post-occupancy energy efficiency evaluation. Combined, these approaches have reduced the performance gap between designed and real operational energy performance through mitigation of modeling uncertainty (due to the building use model, tools used for analysis, and boundary conditions in the climatic and environmental context).

Research and development of innovative solutions have received a further boost related to the need for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and occupant comfort and health. This context has contributed to:

  • High-performance, energy-efficient, and dynamic/adaptive solutions for building envelope and plant integration;
  • Architectural integration of highly efficient renewable energy production plant solutions;
  • New multiscale design approaches for energy- and occupant-centered efficiency (smart living/smart building/smart district/smart communities);
  • Tailor-made solutions related to parametric design and multiobjective optimization, with a particular focus on performance-based approaches; and,
  • The construction of multiscale, and multivariable, analysis metrics and models.

The current digital and technological transformation is once again rapidly changing the reference/benchmark scenario (e.g., BIM digital twin) and the energy efficiency of buildings, districts, and cities; however, it is a necessary (though not sufficient) condition to respond to global challenges that go as far as the climate emergency spreads. We are experiencing the boom of a performance-based, BIM, and parametric-driven design era, where controlling certain processes such as design, production, construction, management, maintenance, transformation, and decommissioning is generating added value, particularly in respect of building energy efficiency and well-being.

This Special Issue aims to focus on frontier research in the construction sector and to trace the outlines of emerging trends. What are the new reference/benchmark scenarios? What are the new challenges and frontiers of research? What are their impacts on buildings, their occupants, and the built environment?

Some keywords can be used to characterize the ongoing low-energy, digital, and technological transformation of the built environment: clean construction and clean energy production; data-driven design and multiscale approach; cognitive and climate-responsive buildings, and occupant-centric building design and interaction. All these transformations boost innovation when combined with new approaches and advanced design/construction tools, new production technologies and tools for process and building management; and sensor integration, data availability, and new communication technologies.

In order to understand the ongoing changes and their impacts, we invite researchers to contribute in this Special Issue with distinguished original features concerning the application of data-driven sustainable and resilient architectural design and building engineering, performance-based multiobjective design to achieve energy efficiency, architectural integration, and occupant-centric comfortable, cognitive and climate-resilient buildings. We are interested in advanced building materials, lifecycle building design and environmental evaluation, as well as components that assist the formulation of digitalized, cognitive and clean construction processes.

Contributions can include but are not limited to the following topics:

  • Experimental and modeling studies (energy efficiency, comfort, human health, etc.);
  • Implementation and development of high-performance building technologies and components;
  • Conservation/refurbishment/improvement/mitigation and adaptation strategies for various contexts (climate, environment, and use); and,
  • Forecasting scenarios of energy/environmental consumption and/or impacts utilizing multiscale (component, building, neighborhood, and city), multicriteria and multiobjective analysis.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Tiziana Poli
Prof. Dr. Andrea Giovanni Mainini
Prof. Dr. Gabriele Lobaccaro
Prof. Dr. Mitja Košir
Dr. Juan Diego Blanco Cadena
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 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

  • building resilience and sustainability
  • climate change adaptation
  • energy efficiency
  • smart buildings
  • user-centered design
  • performance-based design
  • digital twin
  • architectural integration
  • building technology
  • innovation

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

35 pages, 8818 KiB  
Article
Use of Low-Cost Devices for the Control and Monitoring of CO2 Concentration in Existing Buildings after the COVID Era
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(8), 3927; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12083927 - 13 Apr 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1854
Abstract
In the COVID-19 era, a direct relationship has been consolidated between the concentration of the pollutant carbon dioxide (CO2) and indoor disease transmission. For reducing its spread, recommendations have been established among which air renewal is a key element to improve [...] Read more.
In the COVID-19 era, a direct relationship has been consolidated between the concentration of the pollutant carbon dioxide (CO2) and indoor disease transmission. For reducing its spread, recommendations have been established among which air renewal is a key element to improve indoor air quality (IAQ). In this study, a low-cost CO2 measurement device was designed, developed, assembled, prototyped, and openly programmed so that the IAQ can be monitored remotely. In addition, this clonic device was calibrated for correct data acquisition. In parallel, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling analysis was used to study the indoor air flows to eliminate non-representative singular measurement points, providing possible locations. The results in four scenarios (cross ventilation, outdoor ventilation, indoor ventilation, and no ventilation) showed that the measurements provided by the clonic device are comparable to those obtained by laboratory instruments, with an average error of less than 3%. These data collected wirelessly for interpretation were evaluated on an Internet of Things (IoT) platform in real time or deferred. As a result, remaining lifespan of buildings can be exploited interconnecting IAQ devices with other systems (as HVAC systems) in an IoT environment. This can transform them into smart buildings, adding value to their refurbishment and modernization. Full article
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27 pages, 888 KiB  
Article
Current Trajectories and New Challenges for Visual Comfort Assessment in Building Design and Operation: A Critical Review
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(6), 3018; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12063018 - 16 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2551
Abstract
Visual comfort can affect building occupants’ behaviour, productivity and health. It is highly dependent on the occupant and how they perform a task indoors. In that regard, an occupant centred approach is more suitable for evaluating the lighting perception of the indoor environment. [...] Read more.
Visual comfort can affect building occupants’ behaviour, productivity and health. It is highly dependent on the occupant and how they perform a task indoors. In that regard, an occupant centred approach is more suitable for evaluating the lighting perception of the indoor environment. Nevertheless, the process of rating and estimating the visual comfort makes a limited distinction between physiological differences (e.g., ageing eye, light sensitivity), field of view, and personal preferences, which have been proven to influence the occupants’ lighting needs to complete their tasks. Such features were not considered while establishing the visually comfortable conditions; perhaps due to the challenge of coupling the assumptions made during building design to the performance indicators monitored during building operation. This work focuses on reviewing literature findings on how the common design approach deviates from real building performance, particularly failing to prevent visual disturbances that can trigger the inefficient operation of building systems. Additionally, it is highlighted that redesigned visual comfort assessment methods and metrics are required to bridge the gap between the lighting environment ratings computed and surveyed. One possibility is to consider such physiological features that induce lighting experiences. Finally, it was deducted that it is important to target the occupants’ eye response to calibrate limit thresholds, propose occupant profiling, and that it is convenient to continuously monitor the occupants’ perception of indoor lighting conditions. Full article
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31 pages, 10001 KiB  
Article
Solar Energy in Urban Planning: Lesson Learned and Recommendations from Six Italian Case Studies
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(6), 2950; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12062950 - 14 Mar 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4755
Abstract
This paper presents the results of the analysis conducted on six case studies related to solar energy integration in urban and rural environments located on the Italian territory. The analysis has been carried out within the Subtask C—Case Studies and Action Research of [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of the analysis conducted on six case studies related to solar energy integration in urban and rural environments located on the Italian territory. The analysis has been carried out within the Subtask C—Case Studies and Action Research of the International Energy Agency Solar Heating and Cooling Program Task 51 “Solar Energy in Urban Planning”. Three different environments hosting active and passive solar energy systems (existing urban areas, new urban areas, and agricultural/rural areas) have been investigated to attain lessons learned and recommendations. Findings suggest that (a) it is important to consider solar energy from the early stages of the design process onwards to achieve satisfactory levels of integration; (b) a higher level of awareness regarding solar potential at the beginning of a project permits acting on its morphology, achieving the best solution in terms of active and passive solar gains; (c) when properly designed, photovoltaic systems can act as characterizing elements and as a distinctive architectural material that is able to valorize the aesthetic of the entire urban intervention; (d) further significant outcomes include the importance of supporting the decision strategies with quantitative and qualitative analyses, the institution of coordinating bodies to facilitate the discussion between stakeholders, and the need for deep renovation projects to fully impact existing buildings’ stock; (e) when large solar installations are planned at the ground level, a landscape design approach should be chosen, while the ecological impact should be reduced by carefully planning the adoption of alternative solutions (e.g., agrivoltaics) compatible with the existing land use. Full article
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17 pages, 2950 KiB  
Article
Decision-Making Processes of Residents in Preservation, Thermal Comfort, and Energy Efficiency in Heritage Buildings: A Pilot Study in Mexico City
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(3), 1486; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12031486 - 29 Jan 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2483
Abstract
With building construction representing one of the largest sectors responsible for the use of natural resources, retrofitting existing heritage buildings becomes a necessity, albeit a challenging one. The emergence of specific guidance on retrofitting heritage buildings has unveiled more than never the need [...] Read more.
With building construction representing one of the largest sectors responsible for the use of natural resources, retrofitting existing heritage buildings becomes a necessity, albeit a challenging one. The emergence of specific guidance on retrofitting heritage buildings has unveiled more than never the need to understand how residents negotiate, thermal comfort, energy efficiency, and heritage conservation decisions. The paper reports the complexity of the decision-making process of residents of heritage buildings in the Historic Centre of Mexico City regarding energy efficiency, intending to improve thermal comfort and reduce energy consumption while preserving heritage values. The study involved in-depth semi-structured interviews with users of heritage buildings that were thematically analysed, complemented by the monitoring of internal environmental conditions and system dynamics analysis. The results show that although the residents perceived the buildings’ temperature as poor, passive thermal comfort actions (e.g., wearing more clothes and closing windows) were preferred against invasive retrofitting solutions for thermal comfort due to residents’ resistance to a potential loss in the buildings’ values and the high cost of changes. The degree of change necessary for maintenance, renovation, and actions for improving the thermal comfort of a heritage building is related to values and to their preservation for future generations. The users’ changes were limited to small-scale interventions in floors and ceilings while avoiding touching what they consider essential to preserve and protect (i.e., social and cultural values). Integrating the user into the decision-making process would enhance the long-term continuity and sustainability of retrofitting policies and guidelines, thus avoiding losing heritage-built stock. Full article
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19 pages, 716 KiB  
Article
Numerical Validation of the Radiative Model for the Solar Cadaster Developed for Greater Geneva
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(17), 8086; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11178086 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1468
Abstract
The achievement of the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions set by the Paris Agreements and the Swiss federal law on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 law) requires massive use of renewable energies, which cannot be achieved without their adoption [...] Read more.
The achievement of the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions set by the Paris Agreements and the Swiss federal law on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 law) requires massive use of renewable energies, which cannot be achieved without their adoption by the general public. The solar cadaster developed as part of the INTERREG G2 Solar project is intended to assess the solar potential of buildings at the scale of Greater Geneva—for both industrial buildings and for individual residential buildings—at a resolution of 1 m. The new version of the solar cadaster is intended to assess the solar potential of roofs, as well as that of vertical facades. The study presented here aims to validate this new version through a comparison with results obtained with two other simulation tools that are widely used and validated by the scientific community. The good accordance with the results obtained with ENVI-met and DIVA-for-Rhino demonstrates the capability of the radiative model developed for the solar cadaster of Greater Geneva to accurately predict the radiation levels of building facades in configurations with randomly distributed buildings (horizontally or vertically). Full article
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16 pages, 1937 KiB  
Article
Identification of Cost-Optimal Measures for Energy Renovation of Thermal Envelopes in Different Types of Public School Buildings in the City of Valencia
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 5108; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11115108 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1416
Abstract
In order to achieve the EU emission reduction goals, it is essential to renovate the building stock, by improving energy efficiency and promoting total decarbonisation. According to the 2018/844/EU Directive, 3% of Public Administration buildings should be renovated every year. So as to [...] Read more.
In order to achieve the EU emission reduction goals, it is essential to renovate the building stock, by improving energy efficiency and promoting total decarbonisation. According to the 2018/844/EU Directive, 3% of Public Administration buildings should be renovated every year. So as to identify the measures to be applied in those buildings and obtain the greatest reduction in energy consumption at the lowest cost, the Directive 2010/31/EU proposed a cost-optimisation-based methodology. The implementation of this allowed to carry out studies in detail in actual scenarios for the energy renovation of thermal envelopes of public schools in the city of Valencia. First, primary school buildings were analysed and classified into three representative types. For each type, 21 sets of measures for improving building thermal envelopes were proposed, considering the global cost, in order to learn about the savings obtained, the repayment term for the investment made, the percentage reduction in energy consumption and the level of compliance with regulatory requirements. The result and conclusions will help Public Administration in Valencia to draw up an energy renovation plan for public building schools in the city. Full article
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16 pages, 4377 KiB  
Article
Simulating and Comparing Different Vertical Greenery Systems Grouped into Categories Using EnergyPlus
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 4802; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11114802 - 24 May 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2680
Abstract
The use of vegetation for the energy efficiency of buildings is an increasingly widespread practice; therefore, the possibility of representing these systems correctly with the use of simulation software is essential. VGS performances have been widely studied, but currently, the lack of a [...] Read more.
The use of vegetation for the energy efficiency of buildings is an increasingly widespread practice; therefore, the possibility of representing these systems correctly with the use of simulation software is essential. VGS performances have been widely studied, but currently, the lack of a unique simulation method to assess the efficiency of different types of VGS and the absence of studies evaluating the performances of all the systems available, proposing simulation models for each of them, leads to an incomplete energy representation. The aim of this study is to achieve a consistent and complete simulation method, comparing the different systems’ performances. The research is made up of five main steps. Firstly, a classification to group these systems into specific categories was proposed; secondly an in-depth analysis of existing literature was worked out to establish the methods used for different types of VGS. The study of plant physiology allowed the definition of an energy balance, which is valid for all vegetated surfaces; then, each category was associated to a mathematical formula and finally integrated into the EnergyPlus software. The results achieved for each model were compared evaluating two important parameters for the termohygrometric conditions control: outside walls face temperatures and operative temperatures. Full article
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18 pages, 4477 KiB  
Article
Phase Change Material Integration in Building Envelopes in Different Building Types and Climates: Modeling the Benefits of Active and Passive Strategies
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(10), 4680; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11104680 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2449
Abstract
Among the adaptive solutions, phase change material (PCM) technology is one of the most developed, thanks to its capability to mitigate the effects of air temperature fluctuations using thermal energy storage (TES). PCMs belong to the category of passive systems that operate on [...] Read more.
Among the adaptive solutions, phase change material (PCM) technology is one of the most developed, thanks to its capability to mitigate the effects of air temperature fluctuations using thermal energy storage (TES). PCMs belong to the category of passive systems that operate on heat modulation, thanks to latent heat storage (LHS) that can lead to a reduction of heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) consumption in traditional buildings and to an improvement of indoor thermal comfort in buildings devoid of HVAC systems. The aim of this work is to numerically analyze and compare the benefits of the implementation of PCMs on the building envelope in both active and passive strategies. To generalize the results, two different EnergyPlus calibrated reference models—the small office and the midrise apartment—were considered, and 25 different European cities in different climatic zones were selected. For these analyses, a PCM plasterboard with a 23 °C melting point was considered in four different thicknesses—12.5, 25, 37.5, and 50 mm. The results obtained highlighted a strong logarithmic correlation between PCM thickness and energy reduction in all the climatic zones, with higher benefits in office buildings and in warmer climates for both strategies. Full article
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24 pages, 45610 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Residential Energy Use in Los Angeles
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(10), 4476; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11104476 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2051
Abstract
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to assess energy use during times of emergency that disrupt daily and seasonal patterns. The authors present findings from a regional evaluation in the city of Los Angeles (California, USA) with broad application to other areas [...] Read more.
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to assess energy use during times of emergency that disrupt daily and seasonal patterns. The authors present findings from a regional evaluation in the city of Los Angeles (California, USA) with broad application to other areas and demonstrate an approach for isolating and analyzing residential loads from community-level electric utility feeder data. The study addresses effects on residential energy use and the implications for future energy use models, energy planning, and device energy standards and utility program development. In this study we review changes in residential energy use during the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic from four residential communities across Los Angeles covering approximately 6603 households within two microclimate sub regional areas (Los Angeles Basin and San Fernando Valley). Analyses address both absolute and seasonal temperature-corrected energy use changes while assessing estimated changes on energy usage from both temperature-sensitive loads (e.g., air conditioning and electric heating) and non-temperature-sensitive loads (e.g., consumer electronics and major appliance use). An average 5.1% increase in total residential energy use was observed for non-temperature sensitive loads during the pandemic period compared to a 2018–2019 baseline. During mid-spring when shelter in place activity was highest a peak monthly energy use of 20.9% increase was seen compared to a 2018–2019 composite baseline. Considering an average of the top five warmest summer days, a 9.5% increase in energy use was observed for events during summer 2020 compared to summer 2018 (a year with similar magnitude summer high heat events). Based on these results, a potential trend is identified for increased residential load during pandemics and other shelter-in-place disruptions, net of any temperature-sensitive load shifts with greater impacts expected for lower-income communities. Full article
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17 pages, 3120 KiB  
Article
Influence of Traditional and Solar Reflective Coatings on the Heat Transfer of Building Roofs in Mexico
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(7), 3263; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11073263 - 06 Apr 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2568
Abstract
Building roofs are sources of unwanted heat for buildings situated in zones with a warm climate. Thus, reflective coatings have emerged as an alternative to reject a fraction of the solar energy received by roofs. In this research, the thermal behavior of concrete [...] Read more.
Building roofs are sources of unwanted heat for buildings situated in zones with a warm climate. Thus, reflective coatings have emerged as an alternative to reject a fraction of the solar energy received by roofs. In this research, the thermal behavior of concrete slab roofs with traditional and solar reflective coatings was simulated using a computational tool. The studied slab configurations belong to two groups, non-insulated and insulated roofs. In the second group, the thermal insulation thickness complies with the value recommended by a national building energy standard. Weather data from four cities in Mexico with a warm climate were used as boundary conditions for the exterior surface of the roofs. The computational tool consisted of a numerical model based on the finite volume method, which was validated with experimental data. A series of comparative simulations was developed, taking a gray roof as the control case. The results demonstrated that white roofs without insulation had an exterior surface temperature between 11 and 16 °C lower than the gray roof without insulation. Thus, the daily heat gain of these white roofs was reduced by a factor ranging between 41 and 54%. On the other hand, white roofs with insulation reduced the exterior surface temperature between 17 and 21 °C compared to the gray roof with insulation. This temperature reduction caused insulated white roofs to have a daily heat gain between 37 and 56% smaller than the control case. Another contribution of this research is the assessment of two retrofitting techniques when they are applied at once. In other words, a comparison between a non-insulated gray roof and an insulated white roof revealed that the latter roof had a daily heat gain up to 6.4-times smaller than the first. Full article
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14 pages, 1088 KiB  
Article
A New Approach to Assess the Built Environment Risk under the Conjunct Effect of Critical Slow Onset Disasters: A Case Study in Milan, Italy
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11031186 - 28 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2651
Abstract
Citizens in dense built environments are susceptible to the simultaneous occurrence of Slow Onset Disaster (SLOD) events, being particularly prone to increasing temperatures and air pollution. Previous research works have assessed these events’ arousal separately and have identified when their intensity is critical. [...] Read more.
Citizens in dense built environments are susceptible to the simultaneous occurrence of Slow Onset Disaster (SLOD) events, being particularly prone to increasing temperatures and air pollution. Previous research works have assessed these events’ arousal separately and have identified when their intensity is critical. However, few have integrated their analysis, possibly limited by the quality and granularity of available data, the accessibility and distribution of sensors, and measurements not emulating the surroundings of a pedestrian. Thus, this work performed an outdoor meso-scale multi-hazard-based risk analysis to study the aggregated effects of the SLODs mentioned above. The study was carried out to narrow down the time-frames within 2019 in which these two events could have affected citizens’ health the most. A weighted fuzzy logic was applied to superimpose climatic (temperature, humidity, wind speed, and solar irradiance) and air quality (particulate matter, ozone, and ammonium) distress (true risk) on an hourly basis, allocated using set healthy and comfortable ranges for a specific dense urban climate context within Milan (Italy), processing data from Milano via Juvara station. The findings show that sensitive groups were at risk of high temperature and pollution separately during 26% and 29% of summer and mid-season hours, respectively; while multi-hazard risk would arise during 10.93% of summer and mid-season hours, concentrated mainly between 14:00 and 20:00. Full article
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19 pages, 4900 KiB  
Article
Passive Solar Solutions for Buildings: Criteria and Guidelines for a Synergistic Design
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11010376 - 02 Jan 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4087
Abstract
Passive solar system design is an essential asset in a zero-energy building perspective to reduce heating, cooling, lighting, and ventilation loads. The integration of passive systems in building leads to a reduction of plant operation with considerable environmental benefits. The design can be [...] Read more.
Passive solar system design is an essential asset in a zero-energy building perspective to reduce heating, cooling, lighting, and ventilation loads. The integration of passive systems in building leads to a reduction of plant operation with considerable environmental benefits. The design can be related to intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence the final performance in a synergistic way. The aim of this paper is to provide a comprehensive view of the elements that influence passive solar systems by means of an analysis of the theoretical background and the synergistic design of various solutions available. The paper quantifies the potential impact of influencing factors on the final performance and then investigates a case study of an existing public building, analyzing the effects of the integration of different passive systems through energy simulations. General investigation has highlighted that latitude and orientation impact energy saving on average by 3–13 and 6–11 percentage points, respectively. The case study showed that almost 20% of the building energy demand can be saved by means of passive solar systems. A higher contribution is given by mixing direct and indirect solutions, as half of the heating and around 25% of the cooling energy demand can be cut off. Full article
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12 pages, 3751 KiB  
Article
Electrical Energy Prediction in Residential Buildings for Short-Term Horizons Using Hybrid Deep Learning Strategy
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(23), 8634; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10238634 - 02 Dec 2020
Cited by 53 | Viewed by 3370
Abstract
Smart grid technology based on renewable energy and energy storage systems are attracting considerable attention towards energy crises. Accurate and reliable model for electricity prediction is considered a key factor for a suitable energy management policy. Currently, electricity consumption is rapidly increasing due [...] Read more.
Smart grid technology based on renewable energy and energy storage systems are attracting considerable attention towards energy crises. Accurate and reliable model for electricity prediction is considered a key factor for a suitable energy management policy. Currently, electricity consumption is rapidly increasing due to the rise in human population and technology development. Therefore, in this study, we established a two-step methodology for residential building load prediction, which comprises two stages: in the first stage, the raw data of electricity consumption are refined for effective training; and the second step includes a hybrid model with the integration of convolutional neural network (CNN) and multilayer bidirectional gated recurrent unit (MB-GRU). The CNN layers are incorporated into the model as a feature extractor, while MB-GRU learns the sequences between electricity consumption data. The proposed model is evaluated using the root mean square error (RMSE), mean square error (MSE), and mean absolute error (MAE) metrics. Finally, our model is assessed over benchmark datasets that exhibited an extensive drop in the error rate in comparison to other techniques. The results indicated that the proposed model reduced errors over the individual household electricity consumption prediction (IHEPC) dataset (i.e., RMSE (5%), MSE (4%), and MAE (4%)), and for the appliances load prediction (AEP) dataset (i.e., RMSE (2%), and MAE (1%)). Full article
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