Special Issue "New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. José Marcos Ortega
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Alicante, P.O. Box 99, E-03080 Alicante, Spain
Interests: sustainable construction and building materials; new supplementary cementitious materials; performance of eco-friendly materials and structures exposed to real hardening environments and non-optimum exposure conditions; microstructure; durability; mechanical properties; degradation of materials for marine structures; nondestructive characterization; sustainability assessment
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Prof. Dr. Antonio José Tenza-Abril
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Alicante, P.O. Box 99, E-03080 Alicante, Spain
Interests: building materials; concrete; mortars; aggregates; lightweight concrete; waste management; ultrasonic measurement; durability; sustainable cementitious materials; bituminous mixes; construction engineering; sustainable construction
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Teresa Real-Herraiz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Instituto de Matemática Multidisciplinar, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Camino de Vera s/n, E-46022 Valencia, Spain
Interests: sustainable bituminous mixes; ultrasound as nondestructive characterization; maintenance and instrumentation of sustainable structures; infrastructures for sustainable transport
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The global concern about climate change, global warming, and increasing pollution has made it imperative for policy makers throughout the world to devise green strategies for a sustainable future. Within this context, the civil engineering and architecture fields play an important role in reaching that aim.

The construction industry remains a major target for environmental sustainability due to its consumption of the largest portion of materials resources, water, and energy, and its contribution to landfill sites. The sustainability of the industry depends on how well it manages waste minimization, the durability of the materials used (which contribute to sustainability due to the high environmental impact of maintenance, repairs, and replacement), and the reduction of waste during construction, but also its use of green materials, lessening energy consumption, saving water, and preserving indoor quality, among others. Therefore, several possible strategies to become sustainable in the construction industry include reducing, reusing, and recycling residues, which, once processed, can become profitable alternatives for being used as building materials, with the added value of increasing the lifetime of landfills and requiring a lower extraction of natural raw materials.

Furthermore, within civil engineering and architecture, urban development, mobility, and transportation are important areas of study, in which there is a wide scope for developing strategies related to sustainability, especially focused on the reduction of CO2 emissions. In addition to this, it is important to emphasize the increasing use of the relatively recent building information modeling (BIM) methodologies, which will be also very useful for managing sustainability aspects related to construction projects in the near future.

That is why promoting sustainable policies regarding civil engineering and architecture is extremely important nowadays. The present Special Issue of the Applied Sciences welcomes research papers reporting studies, strategies, or practical cases related to sustainability in the civil engineering and architecture fields.

Prof. Dr. José Marcos Ortega
Prof. Dr. Antonio José Tenza-Abril
Prof. Dr. Teresa Real-Herraiz
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 1800 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

  • Sustainable cement-based materials
  • Eco-friendly construction and building materials
  • Sustainability assessment related to civil engineering applications
  • Infrastructures for sustainable transport
  • Integration of BIM for sustainable construction
  • Sustainable mobility and transportation
  • Structures for renewable and green energies
  • Sustainable construction management
  • Building and structures life-cycle analysis
  • Environmental impacts of sustainable construction
  • Real experiences of construction projects and works with a contribution to sustainability
  • Sustainable urban development
  • Sustainability in marine and hydraulic structures
  • Green building project management.

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Pore Structure Degradation of Different Cement Mortars Exposed to Sulphuric Acid
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(24), 5297; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9245297 - 05 Dec 2019
Abstract
Acid attack causes the deterioration of construction material surfaces. The objective of this study was to investigate the degradation of different types of cement mortar in terms of variations in pore size distribution obtained by mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP), mass loss, and compressive [...] Read more.
Acid attack causes the deterioration of construction material surfaces. The objective of this study was to investigate the degradation of different types of cement mortar in terms of variations in pore size distribution obtained by mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP), mass loss, and compressive strength. The mortars were manufactured with nanosilica, zinc stearate, and an ethyl silicate coating. After curing (28 days), the samples were subjected to acid exposure for 90 days, immersed ina solution (3% w/w) of sulphuric acid (H2SO4). The results indicate that the mortars showed a more refined microstructure, with a higher proportion of smaller pores (<100 nm) compared to the control mortar. The 28-day and 90-day compressive strength variations of mortars were also determined by observing pronounced reduction due to the appearance of expansive compounds responsible for microcracking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle
Feasibility Study of the Installation of Wave Energy Converters in Existing Breakwaters in the North of Spain
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(23), 5225; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9235225 - 01 Dec 2019
Abstract
In a context of growing global awareness of environmental sustainability, given the risks associated with global warming and climate change, the transition from environmental models to highly intensive fossil fuel production towards new clean energy systems marks the future of global public agendas. [...] Read more.
In a context of growing global awareness of environmental sustainability, given the risks associated with global warming and climate change, the transition from environmental models to highly intensive fossil fuel production towards new clean energy systems marks the future of global public agendas. In this scenario, a feasibility study of the installation of wave energy converters, such as the Sea Slot-Cone Generator (SSG) and the Oscillating Water Column (OWC), was carried out in existing breakwaters in the North of Spain, choosing Punta Langosteira (Outer Port of A Coruña), Dique Torres and Dique Norte (Port el Musel, Gijón) and Punta Lucero (Port of Bilbao). It was aimed at capturing the great energy potential of the Atlantic Ocean, as an innovative solution linked to the development of renewable energy sources of marine origin. The selection of the most optimal and efficient alternative will depend on different aspects: the quantitative availability of the wave energy resource at the study points, the production of energy obtained by the device and the capacity factor, the capacity of the wave energy facility to supply the energy consumption in every port to boost the image of “Green Port”, the constructive viability so that the condition of having the construction works only during one year and an economic estimation of each alternative. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle
High-Rise Social Housing in Hot-Humid Climates: Towards an ‘Airhouse’ Standard for Comfort
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(23), 4985; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9234985 - 20 Nov 2019
Abstract
The pressure to provide social housing in a fast and economic way, as well as outdated regulations, constrain the design of these buildings, having serious implications for the comfort of occupants and the environment. This becomes more critical in hot-humid climates, such as [...] Read more.
The pressure to provide social housing in a fast and economic way, as well as outdated regulations, constrain the design of these buildings, having serious implications for the comfort of occupants and the environment. This becomes more critical in hot-humid climates, such as Malaysia, with uniformly high temperature and humidity and low wind speeds. In its capital, Kuala Lumpur, an extensive program of construction for high-rise social housing is being carried out, however, shortly after the flats are occupied, or as soon as they can afford it, the residents fit wall mounted air conditioning units. This research started by looking at Malay vernacular architecture and the traditional strategies for ventilation and cooling. After a review of current building regulations and green tools employed in the country, two campaigns of fieldwork were carried out to assess the actual indoor and outdoor thermal and air quality conditions in the buildings, which were found to be inadequate for both the local regulations and international recommendations. The fieldwork also allowed the identification of the critical design issues to address. A ventilation and filtering ceiling system has been identified as one of the possible solutions for the current situation and has been tested through physical and computer models. The system improves comfort by reducing the air temperature, humidity, and amount of airborne particles and gases, as well as constantly providing an adequate airflow rate. It is the first attempt to develop what we have named the ‘airhouse’ standard for tropical countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle
A New Method to Determine How Compaction Affects Water and Heat Transport in Green Roof Substrates
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(21), 4697; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9214697 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
Although compaction affects water and heat transport processes in porous media, few studies have dealt with this problem. This is particularly true for substrates, which are artificial porous media used for engineering and technological solutions, such as in vegetated or green roofs. We [...] Read more.
Although compaction affects water and heat transport processes in porous media, few studies have dealt with this problem. This is particularly true for substrates, which are artificial porous media used for engineering and technological solutions, such as in vegetated or green roofs. We propose a methodology to study the effect of substrate compaction on the characterization of physical, hydrodynamic and thermal properties of five green roof substrates. The methodology consists in a parametric analysis that uses the properties of a substrate with known bulk density, and then modifies the substrate properties to consider how compaction affects water and heat fluxes. Coupled heat and water transport numerical simulations were performed to assess the impact of the changes in the previous properties on the hydraulic and thermal performance of a hypothetical roof system. Our results showed that compaction reduced the amplitude of the fluctuations in the volumetric water content daily cycles, increasing the average water content and reducing the breakthrough time of the green roof substrates. Compaction changes the thermal behavior of the green roof substrates in different ways for each substrate due to the dependence of the air, water and soil fraction of each substrate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Carbon Dioxide Emissions amongst Alternative Slab Systems during the Construction Phase in a Building Project
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(20), 4333; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9204333 - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Global warming is now considered to be one of the greatest challenges worldwide. International environmental agreements have been developed in response to climate change since the 1970s. The construction industry is considered one of the main contributors to global warming. In order to [...] Read more.
Global warming is now considered to be one of the greatest challenges worldwide. International environmental agreements have been developed in response to climate change since the 1970s. The construction industry is considered one of the main contributors to global warming. In order to mitigate global warming effects, the construction industry has been exploring various approaches to mitigate the impacts of carbon dioxide emissions over the entire life cycle of buildings. The application of different structural systems is considered a means of reducing the carbon dioxide emissions from building construction. The purpose of this research is to assess the environmental performance of three different slab systems during the construction phase. In this study, a process-based life cycle assessment (LCA) method was applied in order to evaluate the level of performance of the three slab systems. The results showed total CO2 emissions of 3,275,712, 3,157,260, and 2,943,695 kg CO2 eq. for the ordinary reinforced concrete slab, flat plate slab, and voided slab systems, respectively. The manufacturing of building materials is by far the main contributor to CO2 emissions, which indicate 3,230,945, 3,117,203, and 2,905,564 kg CO2 eq., respectively. Comparing the building materials in the three slab systems, reinforcing bars and forms were significant building materials to reduce the CO2 emissions in the flat plate slab and voided slab systems. In this study, reinforcing bars were the main contributor to lowering the carbon dioxide emissions in the flat plate slab and voided slab systems. The results of this study show that amongst all the three different slab systems, the voided slab system shows the greatest reduction potential. Moreover, replacing the ordinary reinforced concrete slab system by alternative methods would make it possible to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions in building projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Brick Masonry Bond Design and Analysis: An Application of a Decision-Making Technique
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(20), 4313; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9204313 - 14 Oct 2019
Abstract
This research intends to explore the sustainable masonry bond formation and interface behaviour of brick masonry bonds with different cement mortar ratios. To test the sustainable behaviour of different brick bonds, different tests were applied to evaluate the performance of the developed five [...] Read more.
This research intends to explore the sustainable masonry bond formation and interface behaviour of brick masonry bonds with different cement mortar ratios. To test the sustainable behaviour of different brick bonds, different tests were applied to evaluate the performance of the developed five brick masonry structures with the help of four mortar ratios. Following that pattern, the methodologies of a prism triplet test, a bond wrench test, a shear bond test and strength tests for brick masonry were applied. The prism triplet test explained the bonding behaviour of mortar by producing a maximum strength (0.21 MPa) with a 1:3 mix ratio, and the minimum strength (0.095 MPa) with a 1:8 mix ratio. The bond wrench test showed a bond strength of maximum 0.0685 MPa with a mortar ratio of 1:3 and a minimum of 0.035 MPa with a mortar ratio of 1:8. The strength tests for masonry structures expressed that compressive strength (0.786 MPa) and flexural strength (0.352 MPa) were found to be at maximum level with a mortar ratio (1:3) with an English bond formation. For predictions of compressive and flexural strength, artificial neural networks (ANNs) were deployed, and successful predictions of these values along with the relationships between different properties of the material, mortar combinations and bond combinations are presented to complete the exploration of the relationship. This pattern can be helpful for the selection of sustainable brick masonry formations for housing development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle
Geographically Modeling and Understanding Factors Influencing Transit Ridership: An Empirical Study of Shenzhen Metro
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(20), 4217; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9204217 - 10 Oct 2019
Abstract
Ridership analysis at the local level has a pivotal role in sustainable urban construction and transportation planning. In practice, urban rail transit (URT) ridership is affected by complex factors that vary across the urban area. The aim of this study is to model [...] Read more.
Ridership analysis at the local level has a pivotal role in sustainable urban construction and transportation planning. In practice, urban rail transit (URT) ridership is affected by complex factors that vary across the urban area. The aim of this study is to model and explore the factors that impact metro station ridership in Shenzhen, China from a local perspective. The direct demand model, which uses ordinary least squares (OLS) estimation, is the most widely used method of ridership modeling. However, OLS estimation assumes parametric stability. This study investigates the use of a direct demand model on the basis of geographically weighted regression (GWR) to model the local relationships between metro station ridership and potential influencing factors. Real-world Shenzhen Metro smart card data are used to test and verify the applicability and performance of the model. The results show that GWR performs better than OLS estimation in terms of both model fitting and spatial interpretation. The GWR model demonstrates a high level of interpretability regarding the spatial distribution and variation of each coefficient, and thus can provide insights for decision-makers into URT ridership and its complex factors from a local perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle
European Strategies for Adaptation to Climate Change with the Mayors Adapt Initiative by Self-Organizing Maps
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(18), 3859; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9183859 - 13 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The European Union (EU) has assigned municipal governments a key role in the transformations needed to achieve its climate and energy objectives. One of the main initiatives of the EU has been the “The Covenant of Mayors”, launched in 2008, with impacts beyond [...] Read more.
The European Union (EU) has assigned municipal governments a key role in the transformations needed to achieve its climate and energy objectives. One of the main initiatives of the EU has been the “The Covenant of Mayors”, launched in 2008, with impacts beyond Europe due to integration with the “Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy”. This research focuses on local measures to adapt to climate change, verifying their differences between themselves, and aims to identify and characterize patterns in the different adaptation strategies examined. Further aims are (i) the collection of good practices, framed in the Mayors Adapt initiative, managing multidimensional data from the context and from its adaptation proposals; (ii) the classification of strategies in profiles and patterns using artificial neural networks based on the previous variables; (iii) the characterization and comparison of such profiles. The results substantiate the existence of several well-differentiated approaches, connected with their geographical context, vulnerability and politics. These results provide valuable information for its interpretation and for the planning of climate change adaptation actions, highlighting the value of the creation of networks of institutional collaboration targeted at each strategic framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Characterization of the Aqua-Dispersing Nano-Binder Effects on the Slip Resistance of Borrowed Soil of a Rock Slope
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(17), 3618; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9173618 - 03 Sep 2019
Abstract
Soil loss can be reduced by enhancing the slip resistance of soil. Therefore, the slip resistance of borrowed soil of rock slopes is key to ecological restoration. An effective way to enhance the soil slip resistance is to improve the permeability and shear [...] Read more.
Soil loss can be reduced by enhancing the slip resistance of soil. Therefore, the slip resistance of borrowed soil of rock slopes is key to ecological restoration. An effective way to enhance the soil slip resistance is to improve the permeability and shear strength of the soil by using polymeric materials. Most current projects have confirmed the amount and effect of additions via repeated tests because of the lack of a quantitative characterization model. This leads to high implementation costs and inhibition of the method’s popularization and application. Therefore, based on different dosages and application processes of aqua-dispersing nano-binder (ADNB), the present study aims to examine the change rules of the particles, permeability, and shear strength after soil improvement through particle analysis, permeability, and direct shear experiments. It was found that ADNB could increase the average particle diameter, permeability coefficient, and shear strength of soil, and significantly enhanced the slip resistance of rock slope soil. On this basis, this paper establishes quantitative characterization models of the slip resistance of rock slopes, reveals the clay improvement mechanism, and proposes the optimal addition range. The study also verified the reliability of the models through an engineering application. It is proved that the appropriate amount of ADNB based on the model can enhance the slip resistance of borrowed soil as well as the ecological restoration effect of rock slopes. The model in question solves the problem of repeated tests during implementation due to the lack of a quantitative characterization model and provides theoretical guidance for the ecological restoration of rock slopes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle
Road Infrastructure Analysis with Reference to Traffic Stream Characteristics and Accidents: An Application of Benchmarking Based Safety Analysis and Sustainable Decision-Making
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(11), 2320; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9112320 - 05 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Road infrastructure sustainability is directly associated with the safety of human beings. As a transportation engineer and policymaker, it is necessary to optimize the funding mechanism for road safety improvement by identifying problematic road segments. Infrastructure improvement is one of the key targets [...] Read more.
Road infrastructure sustainability is directly associated with the safety of human beings. As a transportation engineer and policymaker, it is necessary to optimize the funding mechanism for road safety improvement by identifying problematic road segments. Infrastructure improvement is one of the key targets for efficient road safety management. In this study, data envelopment analysis (DEA) technique has been applied in combination with a geographical information system (GIS) to evaluate the risk level of problematic segments of a 100 km-long motorway (M-2) section. Secondly, the cross efficient method has been used to rank the risky segments for prioritization and distribution of funding to improve the road safety situation. This study will help in efficiently identifying the risky segments for safety improvement and budget allocation prioritization. GIS map will further improve the visualization and visibility of problematic segments to easily locate the riskiest segments of the motorway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Climate Conditions on Deficiencies of Building Roofs
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(7), 1389; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9071389 - 02 Apr 2019
Abstract
Climate conditions affect buildings’ performance and durability. The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of climate conditions on roof deficiencies. 763 cases of such deficiencies were analyzed in this regard. Once the construction deficiencies were quantified, they were characterized from [...] Read more.
Climate conditions affect buildings’ performance and durability. The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of climate conditions on roof deficiencies. 763 cases of such deficiencies were analyzed in this regard. Once the construction deficiencies were quantified, they were characterized from a climatological point of view and their ‘climate location segments’ were studied to obtain ‘ranges of concentration of anomalies’ according to the obtained percentage. A direct relation is shown to exist between the location of the building (latitude, situation, type of climate, precipitation, thermal demands, and average wind speed) and a greater or smaller concentration of deficiencies found in both flat and pitched buildings. It was also found that an annual average wind speed greater than 3 m/s increases the appearance of deficiencies in roofs. A higher prevalence of deficiencies was also found in those geographical zones with a thermal demand of 1800–2800 heating degree days or 450–700 cooling degree days. It was found that a higher percentage of construction deficiencies are concentrated in buildings located in the northern coastal climate segments of Spain. With these results, technicians will be able to take more appropriate precautions during both the building process and the use and maintenance phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle
Alkali Ion Concentration Estimations in Cement Paste Pore Solutions
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(5), 992; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9050992 - 10 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The alkalinity of the pore solution is of great interest for evaluating the rising of the alkali–silica reaction (ASR) when reactive amorphous silica is found in some aggregates in some cement-based composites. This reaction is not desirable because it generates swelling gel materials [...] Read more.
The alkalinity of the pore solution is of great interest for evaluating the rising of the alkali–silica reaction (ASR) when reactive amorphous silica is found in some aggregates in some cement-based composites. This reaction is not desirable because it generates swelling gel materials around the aggregates, which produce an expansive pressure inside concrete over time, and can cause the cracking of concrete, leading to serious structural problems. The purpose of this study is to develop a quick, easy and reliable method to estimate the available alkali concentrations in the pore solution of cement-based composites. The bound alkalis were initially calculated based on Taylor’s alkali distribution method. The proposed procedure to estimate the available alkalis content is a reliable method for use in construction and building composite materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends of Sustainability in Civil Engineering and Architecture)
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