Special Issue "Green Building Materials"

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Patrick Tang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Engineering, Science and Environment, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
Interests: building materials; energy-efficient concrete; nanomaterials in cement-based composites; structural lightweight concrete and environmental sustainability
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Green building materials are eco-friendly and are composed of renewable, rather than non-renewable resources. They offer specific benefits to the building owner and building occupants:

  • Reduced maintenance/repair/replacement costs over the life of the building
  • Energy efficiency and conservation
  • Improved occupant health and productivity
  • Greater design and construction flexibility
  • Affordable

Using green building materials promotes conservation of dwindling non-renewable resources internationally. The integration of green building materials into building projects can also help reduce the environmental impacts associated with the extraction, transport, processing, fabrication, installation, reuse, recycling, and disposal of these building industry source materials.

The followings are the topics proposed for this special issue (but not limited to):

  • Renewable building materials
  • Reusable or reycable building materials
  • Energy-efficient building materials
  • Low embodied energy building materials
  • Durable building materials
  • Low-VOC building materials

A/Prof. Patrick Tang
Guest Editor

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. Buildings is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1600 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

  • Green building materials
  • Energy efficient
  • Renewable materials
  • Recycled materials
  • Embodied energy
  • Sustainable materials

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Article
‘Materials as a Design Tool’ Design Philosophy Applied in Three Innovative Research Pavilions Out of Sustainable Building Materials with Controlled End-Of-Life Scenarios
Buildings 2019, 9(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings9030064 - 13 Mar 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3155
Abstract
Choosing building materials is usually the stage that follows design in the architectural design process, and is rarely used as a main input and driver for the design of the whole building’s geometries or structures. As an approach to have control over the [...] Read more.
Choosing building materials is usually the stage that follows design in the architectural design process, and is rarely used as a main input and driver for the design of the whole building’s geometries or structures. As an approach to have control over the environmental impact of the applied building materials and their after-use scenarios, an approach has been initiated by the author through a series of research studies, architectural built prototypes, and green material developments. This paper illustrates how sustainable building materials can be a main input in the design process, and how digital fabrication technologies can enable variable controlling strategies over the green materials’ properties, enabling adjustable innovative building spaces with new architectural typologies, aesthetic values, and controlled martial life cycles. Through this, a new type of design philosophy by means of applying sustainable building materials with closed life cycles is created. In this paper, three case studies of research pavilions are illustrated. The pavilions were prefabricated and constructed from newly developed sustainable building materials. The applied materials varied between structural and non-structural building materials, where each had a controlled end-of-life scenario. The application of the bio-based building materials was set as an initial design phase, and the architects here participated within two disciplines: once as designers, and additionally as green building material developers. In all three case studies, Design for Deconstruction (DfD) strategies were applied in different manners, encouraging architects to further follow such suggested approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Building Materials)
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Article
Rheological and Strength Behavior of Binary Blended SCC Replacing Partial Fine Aggregate with Plastic E-Waste as High Impact Polystyrene
Buildings 2019, 9(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings9020050 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2691
Abstract
Disposing electronic plastic waste into construction materials is an eco-friendly and energy efficient solution to protect the environment. This work is aimed at enhancing the strength of self-compacting concrete (SCC) replacing sand with electronic waste, namely, High Impact polystyrene (HIPS) plastic granules and [...] Read more.
Disposing electronic plastic waste into construction materials is an eco-friendly and energy efficient solution to protect the environment. This work is aimed at enhancing the strength of self-compacting concrete (SCC) replacing sand with electronic waste, namely, High Impact polystyrene (HIPS) plastic granules and cementitious material with fly ash. SCC is designed with the optimized binder content of 497 kg/m3 using Fly Ash (30% by weight of cement) and 0.36 as water-to-binder ratio for all the mixtures. High Impact Polystyrene granules are replaced with sand up to 40% (by volume) at a regular interval of 10%. Rheological behavior is observed with the slump flow test for slump diameter, V-funnel test for flow time, and the L-box test for heights ratio, respectively. Strength behavior is studied by performing split tensile strength, and compressive strength tests after a period of 7, 28, and 90 days, respectively. Both fly ash and HIPS aggregate in addition to SCC up to 30% exhibits a minimal strength reduction with a promising performance in workability. Hence incorporation of both fly ash and HIPS granules up to 30% in SCC is a viable eco-friendly technique, with the beneficial economic impact on the construction industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Building Materials)
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Article
A Proposal for Recycling the World’s Unused Stockpiles of Treated Wastewater Sludge (Biosolids) in Fired-Clay Bricks
Buildings 2019, 9(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings9010014 - 05 Jan 2019
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 11602
Abstract
Millions of tonnes of leftover biosolids are increasingly stockpiled every year around the globe. Biosolids are a product of the wastewater sludge treatment process. Stockpiles necessitate the use of large areas of increasingly valuable land. Biosolids have many beneficial uses and are currently [...] Read more.
Millions of tonnes of leftover biosolids are increasingly stockpiled every year around the globe. Biosolids are a product of the wastewater sludge treatment process. Stockpiles necessitate the use of large areas of increasingly valuable land. Biosolids have many beneficial uses and are currently utilised in agricultural and land rehabilitation applications. However, it is estimated that 30% of biosolids are unused and stockpiled. A second and seemingly unrelated environmental issue is the massive excavation of virgin soil for brick production. The annual production of 1500 billion bricks globally requires over 3.13 billion cubic metres of clay soil—equivalent to over 1000 soccer fields dug 440 m deep or to a depth greater than three times the height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This paper investigates and proposes a practical solution for the utilisation of the world’s excess biosolids in fired–clay bricks. The physical, chemical and mechanical properties of fired–clay bricks incorporating 25%, 20%, 15% and 10% biosolids have been tested. Bricks were produced from three different biosolids samples collected at Melbourne’s Eastern Treatment Plant (ETP 22) and the Western Treatment Plant (WTP 10 & WTP 17–29). Compressive strength testing indicated results ranging between 35.5 MPa and 12.04 MPa for the biosolids-amended bricks. Leachate analysis was conducted on the bricks before and after firing, and the results demonstrate that between 43 and 99% of the heavy metals tested were immobilised inside the fired bricks compared to the heavy metals tested in the raw mixture. All leachate concentrations were found to be insignificant for the biosolids-incorporated bricks tested in this study. Biosolids can have significantly different chemical characteristics depending on the origin of the wastewater and the treatment procedure. Suitable leachate analysis should be undertaken on biosolids and test bricks before large-scale production is approved. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) images illustrate that biosolids-amended bricks have a higher porosity than the control bricks, which corresponds to the lower thermal conductivity values recorded for biosolids-amended bricks. In addition, brick firing energy demands are estimated to decrease by up to 48.6% for bricks incorporating 25% WTP 17–29 biosolids due to the higher organic content of the mixture containing biosolids. The emissions study and comparative Life Cycle Assessment results show that the incorporation of biosolids into bricks is a positive and sustainable alternative approach with respect to all environmental impacts arising from the stockpiling of biosolids and brick manufacturing. Based on the results found in this comprehensive study, this paper proposes the inclusion of a minimum of 15% biosolids content into 15% of brick production in order to completely recycle all the approximately 5 million tonnes of annual leftover biosolids production in Australia, New Zealand, the EU, the USA and Canada. This is a practical and sustainable proposal for recycling all the leftover biosolids worldwide. Utilisation of only 15% of biosolids in brick production would reduce the carbon footprint of brick manufacturing whilst satisfying all the environmental and engineering requirements for bricks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Building Materials)
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Article
Laboratory Mix Design of Cold Bitumen Emulsion Mixtures Incorporating Reclaimed Asphalt and Virgin Aggregates
Buildings 2018, 8(12), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings8120177 - 10 Dec 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2272
Abstract
Bitumen emulsion asphalts, especially those incorporating marginal and secondary aggregates, are energy efficient, environment friendly, and sustainable alternatives to hot-mix asphalts. This study set out to compare engineering properties of a bitumen emulsion asphalt composed entirely of virgin aggregates with another composed of [...] Read more.
Bitumen emulsion asphalts, especially those incorporating marginal and secondary aggregates, are energy efficient, environment friendly, and sustainable alternatives to hot-mix asphalts. This study set out to compare engineering properties of a bitumen emulsion asphalt composed entirely of virgin aggregates with another composed of 55% reclaimed asphalt and 45% virgin aggregates. The aggregates were bound with a slow setting cationic bitumen emulsion composed of 65% base bitumen and 35% water. Marshall specimens molded at varying pre-mix water and bitumen emulsion contents were cured in molds for 24 h before being de-molded and cured for a further 72 h at 40 °C. Dry densities, porosities, and indirect tensile strengths for the cured specimens were determined in dry and soaked states. Virgin aggregate mix, at an optimum binder content of 6.1%, had a tensile strength ratio of 1.3 with corresponding air voids and moisture absorption values of 10.1% and 0.92%, respectively. Similarly, reclaimed asphalt mix at an optimum binder content of 6.2% had a tensile strength ratio of 1.03, with corresponding air voids and moisture absorption values of 7.9% and 0.38%, respectively. Compared to virgin mix, reclaimed asphalt mix had lower air voids and lower moisture absorption values with the overall benefit of enhanced resistance to moisture damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Building Materials)
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Article
Why Not Wood? Benefits and Barriers of Wood as a Multistory Construction Material: Perceptions of Municipal Civil Servants from Finland
Buildings 2018, 8(11), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings8110159 - 13 Nov 2018
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3603
Abstract
As the construction sector continues to be associated with highly energy-intensive practices leading to excessive carbon emissions, governments in many countries are promoting a shift towards greener building practices, like the use of wood in multistory construction (WMC). Meanwhile, local-government actors (e.g., municipalities) [...] Read more.
As the construction sector continues to be associated with highly energy-intensive practices leading to excessive carbon emissions, governments in many countries are promoting a shift towards greener building practices, like the use of wood in multistory construction (WMC). Meanwhile, local-government actors (e.g., municipalities) often act as important gatekeepers of urban development given their authority to oversee or approve zoning and land-use plans. Despite this fact, they are not much focused on in existing WMC research. This qualitative interview study serves to fill a gap by studying municipal civil servant perceptions regarding WMC, using Finland as a case study. Civil servants were asked to elicit their personal opinions on WMC, and what they perceived as favorable or unfavorable about using wood as a multistory construction material. Results show increasing support for WMC, and that this is due to key benefits made possible by the technical qualities of engineered wood products in emerging WMC projects. These products permit both the adoption of rapid construction practices that enhance citizens’ quality of living, and also the sourcing of local renewable building materials that support local industries. On the other hand, barriers to the use of wood were identified, such as inadequate information distribution, a limited number of WMC industry actors, and inefficient policy measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Building Materials)
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Article
Durability and Compressive Strength of High Cement Replacement Ratio Self-Consolidating Concrete
Buildings 2018, 8(11), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings8110153 - 06 Nov 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3048
Abstract
This study examines durability and mechanical properties of sustainable self-consolidating concrete (SCC) in which 80% of the cement is replaced with combinations of recycled industrial by-products including fly ash, silica fume, and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS). The water to binder (w/b) [...] Read more.
This study examines durability and mechanical properties of sustainable self-consolidating concrete (SCC) in which 80% of the cement is replaced with combinations of recycled industrial by-products including fly ash, silica fume, and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS). The water to binder (w/b) ratio of SCC mixes studies was maintained at 0.36. The study proposes empirical relationships to predict 28-day compressive strengths based on the results of three-day and seven-day compressive strengths. In addition, the chloride penetration resistance of the various sustainable SCC mixes was determined after three days, seven days, and 28 days of moist curing of concrete standards. It was concluded that fly ash, silica fume, and GGBS contribute favorably to enhancing strength development, fresh properties, and durability of SCC in comparison to ordinary Portland cement (OPC). The compressive strength of the sustainable SCC mixes falls within ranges suitable for structural engineering applications. Replacing cement with 15% silica fume produced a 28-day average compressive strength of 95.3 MPa, which is 44.2% higher than the control mix. Replacing cement with 15% or 20% silica fume reduced the chloride ion permeability to very low amounts compared to high permeability in a control mix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Building Materials)
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Article
Preparation and Characterization of Plasters with Photodegradative Action
Buildings 2018, 8(9), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings8090122 - 03 Sep 2018
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 1648
Abstract
The aim of this project is to investigate the behaviour of several special types plasters specifically designed to degrade the most common pollutants which are present in the atmosphere. In particular, specific additives have been added to these plasters, in order to obtain [...] Read more.
The aim of this project is to investigate the behaviour of several special types plasters specifically designed to degrade the most common pollutants which are present in the atmosphere. In particular, specific additives have been added to these plasters, in order to obtain a broad spectrum of active and synergic response, each of which have peculiar functions: - microporous materials, such as clinoptilolite, a natural zeolite, that promotes the adsorption of air pollutants thanks to its porous nature; - nano-fillers, such as carbon nanotubes, that behave both as reinforcing agents as well as adsorbent materials; - photochemical agents, such as titanium oxide, that degrade air pollutants, previously adsorbed on carbon nanotubes and zeolites, thanks to the action of light that activates photodegradation reactions. All the samples were also characterized in terms of mechanical properties, adhesion to supports and water absorption. Furthermore, photodegradation tests were carried out by exposing plaster surfaces, wetted with a Rodamine solution, to Ultraviolet rays (UV) for different times. Plasters photodegradative capacity was evaluated and the results highlighted the fact that the designed admixtures showed an important photodegradative action, strictly dependent on the types and specific ratios of the selected additives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Building Materials)
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Article
Daylight Performance of a Translucent Textile Membrane Roof with Thermal Insulation
Buildings 2018, 8(9), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings8090118 - 24 Aug 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2532
Abstract
Daylight usage in buildings improves visual comfort and lowers the final energy demand for artificial lighting. The question that always occurs is how much conservation can be achieved? New or rare materials and constructions have a lack of information about their application. Therefore, [...] Read more.
Daylight usage in buildings improves visual comfort and lowers the final energy demand for artificial lighting. The question that always occurs is how much conservation can be achieved? New or rare materials and constructions have a lack of information about their application. Therefore, the current investigation quantifies the daylight and energy performance of a rare multi-layer textile membrane roof. A translucent, thermal insulation with a glass fibre fleece between the two roof membranes combines daylight usage and heating demand reduction. A sports hall built in 2017 is used as a case study building with 2300 m2 membrane roof surface. The optical properties of the roof construction were measured with a total visual light transmittance τv of 0.72% for a clean surface. A climate-based annual daylight modelling delivers daylight indicators for different construction scenarios. The results show that, in comparison to only one glass façade, the additional translucent and thermally insulated membrane roof construction increases the annual daylight autonomy (DA700) from 0% to 1.5% and the continuous DA700 from 15% to 38%. In the roof-covered areas of the sport field, this results in a 30% reduction of the electricity demand for artificial lighting from 19.7 kWhel/m2/a to 13.8 kWhel/m2/a, when a dimming control is used. The study also found that the influence of the soiling of one layer decreases its light transmittance by a factor 0.81. Two soiled layers lower τv by a factor of 0.66 to 0.47%. This increases the electricity demand for lighting by only 12%. The results should be very valuable as a comparison and benchmark for planners and future buildings of a similar type. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Building Materials)
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