Special Issue "ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021"

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309). This special issue belongs to the section "Building Energy, Physics, Environment, and Systems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2022) | Viewed by 22480

Special Issue Editors

Architectural Engineering Department, College of Engineering, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
Interests: high-performance buildings; building integration technology; passive and active buildings energy systems; building integrated photovoltaic; energy efficiency under extreme hot climate; green building certification; building integrated agriculture; human factors in the built environment; environmental experience design; design for health and wellbeing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, The University of Melbourne, 757 Swanston Street, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
Interests: ZEMCH Network; zero energy mass customized housing design engineering; environmental experience design analysis; mass personalization; machine learning; value analysis; vertical subdivision plug-in housing system
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Architectural Engineering, College of Engineering, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain PO Box 15551, United Arab Emirates
Interests: building information modelling; sustainable construction management; digital twins; innovation in project management; value engineering; virtual reality application in construction
Department of Architectural Engineering, College of Engineering, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain PO Box 15551, United Arab Emirates
Interests: sustainable design; building Integrated photovoltaics; renewable energy transition; adoption and diffusion; human-centered design; qualitative research in architecture; innovation and stakeholder research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

ZEMCH stands for “Zero Energy Mass Custom Home”, a network established to encourage the active participation of academic researchers, policymakers and industry stakeholders to tackle issues arising in the delivery of socially, economically, environmentally and humanly sustainable built environments in developed and developing countries.

The 8th edition of the Zero Energy Mass Custom Home (ZEMCH 2021) International Conference was hosted by the United Arab Emirates University and held in Dubai, UAE, between 26 and 28 October 2021. The conference presented the latest research on a wide range of topics related to ZEMCH, including the design, construction, operations, and wellbeing of occupants with diverse socio-economic backgrounds and cultural differences.

Reflecting on the outcomes of the ZEMCH International Conference 2021, this Special Issue aims to address innovative developments, state-of-the-art technologies and ideas in areas related to the design, production, management, user experience and climate change issues surrounding the ZEMCH delivery and operation models around the globe.

Selected authors from the ZEMCH 2021 conference are invited to submit their extended papers to this Special Issue. Moreover, we also encourage researchers who were unable to participate in the 2021 conference to submit their research outcomes to this edition, which will be fully peer reviewed for further selection and publication.

Prof. Dr. Kheira Anissa Tabet Aoul
Dr. Masa Noguchi
Dr. Muhammad Tariq Shafiq
Dr. Daniel Efurosibina Attoye
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2000 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

  • zero energy mass custom homes
  • sustainable cities and urban development
  • urban resilience and climate change
  • sustainable transportation
  • smart cities, AI analysis tools, IoT and big data
  • building resilience and adaptability
  • mass customization, prefabrication and personalization
  • user behavior and engagement
  • value analysis in design decision making
  • building information management and modeling
  • housing affordability and inclusiveness
  • sustainable construction management
  • building energy, performance and technology
  • renewable energy technology
  • environmental experience design
  • social impact assessment and related topics

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Research

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Article
Crack45K: Integration of Vision Transformer with Tubularity Flow Field (TuFF) and Sliding-Window Approach for Crack-Segmentation in Pavement Structures
Buildings 2023, 13(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13010055 - 26 Dec 2022
Viewed by 974
Abstract
Recently, deep-learning (DL)-based crack-detection systems have proven to be the method of choice for image processing-based inspection systems. However, human-like generalization remains challenging, owing to a wide variety of factors such as crack type and size. Additionally, because of their localized receptive fields, [...] Read more.
Recently, deep-learning (DL)-based crack-detection systems have proven to be the method of choice for image processing-based inspection systems. However, human-like generalization remains challenging, owing to a wide variety of factors such as crack type and size. Additionally, because of their localized receptive fields, CNNs have a high false-detection rate and perform poorly when attempting to capture the relevant areas of an image. This study aims to propose a vision-transformer-based crack-detection framework that treats image data as a succession of small patches, to retrieve global contextual information (GCI) through self-attention (SA) methods, and which addresses the CNNs’ problem of inductive biases, including the locally constrained receptive-fields and translation-invariance. The vision-transformer (ViT) classifier was tested to enhance crack classification, localization, and segmentation performance by blending with a sliding-window and tubularity-flow-field (TuFF) algorithm. Firstly, the ViT framework was trained on a custom dataset consisting of 45K images with 224 × 224 pixels resolution, and achieved accuracy, precision, recall, and F1 scores of 0.960, 0.971, 0.950, and 0.960, respectively. Secondly, the trained ViT was integrated with the sliding-window (SW) approach, to obtain a crack-localization map from large images. The SW-based ViT classifier was then merged with the TuFF algorithm, to acquire efficient crack-mapping by suppressing the unwanted regions in the last step. The robustness and adaptability of the proposed integrated-architecture were tested on new data acquired under different conditions and which were not utilized during the training and validation of the model. The proposed ViT-architecture performance was evaluated and compared with that of various state-of-the-art (SOTA) deep-learning approaches. The experimental results show that ViT equipped with a sliding-window and the TuFF algorithm can enhance real-world crack classification, localization, and segmentation performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Synergies between Mass Customisation and Construction 4.0 Technologies
Buildings 2022, 12(11), 1896; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12111896 - 05 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 595
Abstract
A challenge faced by some companies in the residential building sector is to cope with the complexity introduced to respond to the increasing diversity of customer demands in a profitable and sustainable way. Mass customisation (MC) has been described as a strategy to [...] Read more.
A challenge faced by some companies in the residential building sector is to cope with the complexity introduced to respond to the increasing diversity of customer demands in a profitable and sustainable way. Mass customisation (MC) has been described as a strategy to deliver customised products at costs and delivery times similar to mass production. The implementation of this strategy can be supported by several information and communication technologies emerging in the Industry 4.0 paradigm, which has been named Construction 4.0 in the construction industry. The aim of this research work is to identify the synergistic potential between Construction 4.0 technologies and the implementation of MC practices in the construction sector. A decision matrix associating a set of MC practices and C4.0 technologies has been devised based on a literature review. Specialists assessed the relationships between items, and the Jaccard similarity index was calculated to understand which Construction 4.0 technologies should be jointly implemented to support MC strategies. As a secondary contribution, this study has also proposed a method to guide companies in the identification of technologies that can support the implementation of MC in specific contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Developing a Smart Grid System in the UAE: Challenges and Opportunities
Buildings 2022, 12(11), 1863; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12111863 - 03 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 991
Abstract
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considered a strategic hub with a business-friendly free zone and a fast-growing economy. Globally, governments realize the importance of updating electric energy grids and establishing smart grid systems. The smart grid system (SGS) combines connected networks and [...] Read more.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considered a strategic hub with a business-friendly free zone and a fast-growing economy. Globally, governments realize the importance of updating electric energy grids and establishing smart grid systems. The smart grid system (SGS) combines connected networks and the technological era, providing several methods to produce power from multiple sources. This research aims to analyze the UAE’s smart grid system’s development challenges through a survey intended to extract the most significant guidelines and issues affecting the progressive implementation of SGS in Abu Dhabi city, as these issues have not been thoroughly investigated. An in-depth empirical study was conducted to investigate the significant factors affecting the SGS through four aspects: nature, sponsor support, government responsibility, and market expansion. The “Policy Delphi” and a sophisticated survey tool called Qualtrics were adopted by a biased group of opinion specialists. The survey is intended to extract and analyze the most important guidelines and issues affecting the progressive SGS implementation in Abu Dhabi city. The findings of this study illustrated the drivers and barriers that affect the smart grid and the variables that should be addressed to enhance its functionality. Energy efficiency and loss reduction were ranked as the top driver with 32%. Operational and connectivity challenges were cited as the major obstacles to SGS implementation. Finally, the results indicate that smart grid technology can promote economic growth in the country by enabling a sustainable electricity supply. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Reducing Life Cycle Embodied Energy of Residential Buildings: Importance of Building and Material Service Life
Buildings 2022, 12(11), 1821; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12111821 - 31 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 695
Abstract
Energy use in the building sector is considered among major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions and related environmental impacts. While striving to reduce the energy consumption from this sector, it is important to avoid burden shifting from one building life cycle stage to [...] Read more.
Energy use in the building sector is considered among major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions and related environmental impacts. While striving to reduce the energy consumption from this sector, it is important to avoid burden shifting from one building life cycle stage to another; thus, this requires a good understanding of the energy consumption across the building life cycle. The literature shows greater emphasis on operational energy reduction but less on embodied energy, although both have a clear impact on the building’s footprint and associated environmental impact. In previous studies the importance these energy aspects have been presented; however, the critical role of embodied energy linked to the replacement of materials over a building’s life is not well documented. Therefore, there is a knowledge gap in the available the literature about the ways to reduce the embodied energy requirements of buildings over their useful life. Service life of buildings and their constituent materials may play an important role in this regard. However, their potential role in this respect have not been explored in the previous research. This study critically addresses the above-mentioned gaps in the literature by investigating the combined effect of building and material service life on life cycle embodied energy requirements of residential buildings. Life cycle embodied energy of a case study house for an assessment period of 150 years was calculated based on minimum, average and maximum material service life values for the building service life of 50, 100 and 150 years. A comprehensive input–output hybrid analysis based on the bill of quantities was used for the embodied energy assessment of the initial and recurrent embodied energy calculation for each scenario. The combined effect of building and material service life variations was shown to result in a reduction in the life cycle embodied energy demand in the order of up to 61%. This provides quantifiable and verifiable data that shows the importance of building and material service life considerations in designing, constructing, and managing the buildings in efforts to reduce energy consumption by buildings. A secondary contribution of this paper is a detailed sensitivity analysis which was carried out by varying the material service life values of each building material and the embodied energies for each new scenario was recalculated for two assessment periods. The findings show that, for each material service life variation, the LCEE increases as BSL increases for a 50-year assessment period, but the LCEE decreases for a 150-year assessment period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Assessing the Emotional Affordance of Brand Image and Foreign Image Based on a Physiological Method Using Examples from Dubai: Exploratory Study
Buildings 2022, 12(10), 1650; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12101650 - 11 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 803
Abstract
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a country with few restrictions on architectural styles. The main aim of this paper was to investigate a group of participants’ unconscious emotional responses to images of traditional and modern architectural styles in the UAE. All images [...] Read more.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a country with few restrictions on architectural styles. The main aim of this paper was to investigate a group of participants’ unconscious emotional responses to images of traditional and modern architectural styles in the UAE. All images were from the city of Dubai, but participants were from elsewhere to avoid the influence of familiarity. A physiological method was used to measure the unconscious emotional responses to the images’ visual contexts, specifically the emotions of stress, engagement, interest, focus, excitement, and relaxation. Six architects working in the UAE were then interviewed for their interpretations of both the images themselves and the participants’ emotional responses. A sample of 29 male laypeople (aged 18–45) participated in this study, divided into locals from Al Ain city, locals from the northern emirates, and nonlocals. The results showed that the brand image provided observers with better emotional quality than the foreign image for local participants from Al Ain, and that nonlocal participants showed strong emotional responses to the traditional architecture, but the northern Emiratis remained neutral. The findings of this study contribute to emotion studies in the field of meaning in architecture. It also validates the effectiveness of a physiological method of investigating the emotional responses to architectural styles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Energy Optimization for Fenestration Design: Evidence-Based Retrofitting Solution for Office Buildings in the UAE
Buildings 2022, 12(10), 1541; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12101541 - 27 Sep 2022
Viewed by 846
Abstract
With the prevalent use of large glazings, particularly in office buildings, offices receive an abundance of light and are among the largest consumers of electricity. Moreover, in an extreme hot arid climate such as in the UAE, achieving comfortable daylighting levels without increasing [...] Read more.
With the prevalent use of large glazings, particularly in office buildings, offices receive an abundance of light and are among the largest consumers of electricity. Moreover, in an extreme hot arid climate such as in the UAE, achieving comfortable daylighting levels without increasing solar heat gain is a challenge, in which the window or fenestration design plays an essential role. This research adopts a case study of a higher education (HE) office building on the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) campus, selected to investigate an evidence-based retrofitting solution for the west façade that can be applied in existing office buildings in the UAE in order to reduce cooling energy load as well as enhance indoor environmental quality. To achieve an evidence-based retrofitting solution, the research design built upon a comprehensive exploratory investigation that included indoor environmental quality physical monitoring and occupant satisfaction surveying. Model simulation was performed by means of DesignBuilder software to perform a single- and multiparameter sensitivity analysis for three key passive window design parameters, i.e., window-to-wall ratio, glazing type, and external shading, aimed towards minimizing annual cooling load and solar heat gain, while maintaining appropriate indoor daylight illuminance levels. The results highlight the importance of the window-to-wall ratio (WWR), as it is the single most significant parameter effecting total energy consumption and daylighting levels. The results recommend 20–30% WWR as the optimum range in the west façade. However, by utilizing high performance glazing types and external shading, equal energy savings can be achieved with a larger WWR. Double Low E tinted glazing and 0.4 projection shading overhang and side fin revealed a noteworthy reduction of energy use intensity of 14%. The study concludes with final retrofitting solutions and design recommendations that aim to contribute validated knowledge towards enhancing window performance in a hot arid climate to guide architects and stakeholders to apply a range of passive parameters towards reducing energy consumption and improving occupant comfort in office buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Embodied and Operational Energy of a Case Study Villa in UAE with Sensitivity Analysis
Buildings 2022, 12(9), 1469; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12091469 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 908
Abstract
Extensive focus on operational energy research has positively impacted both academia and policymakers, facilitating new strategies that reduce the energy consumed by building occupants. Much less emphasis has, however, been given to embodied energy. Consequently, although studies now show that embodied energy can [...] Read more.
Extensive focus on operational energy research has positively impacted both academia and policymakers, facilitating new strategies that reduce the energy consumed by building occupants. Much less emphasis has, however, been given to embodied energy. Consequently, although studies now show that embodied energy can be responsible for up to 50% of a building’s life cycle energy, little is known about the embodied energy associated with the construction of buildings, materials, and components in the study context. The aim of this study is to investigate the current scenario in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by calculating the embodied energy of a residential villa, and estimating the initial, recurrent, and demolition and disposal embodied energies over a 50-year building life span. A detailed assessment of the embodied energy associated with the construction of the case study villa was carried out using an input–output hybrid approach, followed by a sensitivity analysis focused on variations related to the energy associated and consumed, as well as the adoption of renewable energy sources. The findings show that the initial embodied energy was 57% of the life cycle embodied energy and 19% of the life cycle energy of the villa while the recurrent embodied energy was 43% of the life cycle embodied energy and 14% of the life cycle energy of the villa. The life cycle embodied energy of the villa, over a 50-year life span was 36% of the life cycle energy. This paper also highlights the impact of adding a solar PV system and lists multiple areas for future studies related to embodied energy and its benefit to stakeholders in the building industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
A Methodology of Creating a Synthetic, Urban-Specific Weather Dataset Using a Microclimate Model for Building Energy Modelling
Buildings 2022, 12(9), 1407; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12091407 - 08 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 820
Abstract
The relationship between outdoor microclimate and indoor building conditions requires the input of hourly weather data on the typical meteorological characteristics of the specific location. These data, known as typical meteorological year (TMY), are mainly deduced from the multi-year records of meteorological stations [...] Read more.
The relationship between outdoor microclimate and indoor building conditions requires the input of hourly weather data on the typical meteorological characteristics of the specific location. These data, known as typical meteorological year (TMY), are mainly deduced from the multi-year records of meteorological stations outside urban centres, preventing the actual complex interactions between solar radiation, wind speed, and high urban density. These factors create the urban heat island effect and higher ambient air temperatures, skewing the assumptions for energy demand in buildings. This paper presents a computational method for assessing the effect of the urban climate in the generation of typical weather data for dynamic energy calculations. As such, the paper discusses an evaluation method of pairing ENVI-met 4 microclimate and IES-VE building energy modelling software to produce a typical urban specific weather dataset (USWDs) that reflects the actual microclimatic conditions. The ENVI-met results for the outdoor microclimate conditions were employed to determine the thermal boundaries for the IES-VE, and then used to compute the building’s energy consumption. The energy modelling that employed the USWDs achieved better performance compared to the TMY, as the former had just a 6% variation from the actual electricity consumption of the building compared to 15% for the latter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Evaluation of a Community Center Based on Retrofit Strategies and Re-Design through Python Tools and Local Standards, Case Study in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Buildings 2022, 12(8), 1204; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12081204 - 10 Aug 2022
Viewed by 813
Abstract
Over the last 50 years the cities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) developed rapidly. Building stock is very diverse in the country and varies from one city to another. While Dubai has a large stock of skyscrapers, Abu Dhabi has more of [...] Read more.
Over the last 50 years the cities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) developed rapidly. Building stock is very diverse in the country and varies from one city to another. While Dubai has a large stock of skyscrapers, Abu Dhabi has more of a mix of high-rise and mid-rise buildings, and AL Ain—mainly mid-rise and low-rise buildings. The aim of this study is to evaluate the energy consumption of a retrofitted building versus a new building designed based on advanced tools of calculation. The new design is based on sustainability principles of design as well as the advanced parametric design where the analysis considers several parameters. This evaluation is a comparison between the current building, a retrofitted building, and a new design of the same build-up area. This analysis will be conducted considering local sustainability standards such as Estidama and Abu Dhabi Realm Manual. The methodology starts with the building selection process which consists of the selected building as part of a villa compound done in the city of AL Ain. The site measurements are the following step. This file is used for the boundary conditions of the models. The following step involves energy simulations. The models were prepared with several scenarios as per the predefined analysis and run for simulation. Grasshopper throughthrough rhino were the softwares used for energy simulations and applied design. Therefore, energy saving was calculated based on the selected matrix. The results show that the selection of the shape of the building and application of sustainable measures in the early stages of design can save 32% of energy, and a retrofit of the current building would save 9% of the electricity used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Design of Innovative Parametric/Dynamic Façade Integrated in the Library Extension Building on UAEU Campus
Buildings 2022, 12(8), 1101; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12081101 - 26 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1785
Abstract
The building industry is in constant change and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a leader in innovative solutions for green buildings. The standards used in achieving sustainable buildings, such as LEED, Estidama, have contributed to building structures that reduce energy consumption. More [...] Read more.
The building industry is in constant change and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a leader in innovative solutions for green buildings. The standards used in achieving sustainable buildings, such as LEED, Estidama, have contributed to building structures that reduce energy consumption. More than 40% of the total energy is consumed by residential and commercial buildings as electricity. The strategies applied in a building in order to have low energy consumption vary depending on the region and climate. In the UAE, a country with a hot arid climate, these strategies have relevant importance. The aim of this study is to design an innovative parametric/dynamic façade in a new building, to be built on the United Arab Emirates University Campus, AL Ain, Abu Dhabi, UAE. The new structure is an additional library building (with additional functions to the current building). The design shall be based on the region’s architectural heritage. The modelling and simulation tools used are Rhino and plug-ins like Grasshopper. Furthermore, an optimization process of the parametric/dynamic façade is conducted. Based on the energy simulation results, the application of the innovative parametric/dynamic façade brings a reduction of 25% in the energy consumption of the building. In addition, the daylight improvement by the application of this façade is 44%. This research brings innovation in terms of the advanced tools used in calculating several parameters for the advanced façade and the process from concept to modeling and simulation. These findings are promising for regional industry due to the advanced tools and methods used. Moreover, it shall help the local authorities such as Abu Dhabi Municipality achieve the sustainability goals 2030. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Indoor Environmental Quality Assessment and Occupant Satisfaction: A Post-Occupancy Evaluation of a UAE University Office Building
Buildings 2022, 12(7), 986; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12070986 - 11 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1263
Abstract
As occupants spend almost 90% of their day indoors, especially in the workplaces, Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) plays a primary role in health and wellbeing, productivity, and building energy consumption. Adopting the IEQ and Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE), data has been gathered from nine [...] Read more.
As occupants spend almost 90% of their day indoors, especially in the workplaces, Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) plays a primary role in health and wellbeing, productivity, and building energy consumption. Adopting the IEQ and Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE), data has been gathered from nine multilevel open offices within a university building located in Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for three winter months. Physical parameters were monitored using data loggers to record the main IEQ factors. In parallel, POE questionnaires have been distributed to obtain occupants’ satisfaction with the IEQ and health-related symptoms experienced in the workspaces. The IEQ and POE data have shown slightly above or below the recommended ranges with the occupants similarly and slightly dissatisfied with the building. The thermal comfort revealed concerns with 99% of temperatures below international standards where 55% of the survey respondents reported “too cold”. The IAQ measurements showed 45% and 30% of the respondents reporting “stuffy air” and “headache” which indicated symptoms that could be tracked to other parameters or a combination of several, and the findings have been discussed in detail in this paper. This research contributed to identifying correlations between measured data and occupant satisfaction and identifying common IEQ defects and their sources to better communicate with facility managers and architects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Mass Customization of Housing: A Framework for Harmonizing Individual Needs with Factory Produced Housing
Buildings 2022, 12(7), 955; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12070955 - 05 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1035
Abstract
Integrated processes for design and fabrication have guided mass customization of architectural systems and components. Providing affordable and accessible housing, a vital segment of the building industry, is a multifaceted process that witnessed various manifestations towards individualization over the past few decades. Design [...] Read more.
Integrated processes for design and fabrication have guided mass customization of architectural systems and components. Providing affordable and accessible housing, a vital segment of the building industry, is a multifaceted process that witnessed various manifestations towards individualization over the past few decades. Design flexibility in housing systems is becoming a crucial aspect, informed by consumers’ lifestyles, demographic patterns, and lifecycles change at a rapid pace. As the housing market demands more personalized, efficient, and agile strategies, prefabricated building systems have always presented a viable alternative for flexibility and customization, following a rise of interest in the last decade focused on new modes of digitized design and production. This paper presents an overview and appraisal of various practices to implement customization in the housing industry, with specific focus on empowering a systemic approach. We then propose an open framework that could accommodate emergent design technologies and production protocols, with the aim of taking advantage of advanced research efforts, and coupled with current industry application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Mandatory Policy, Innovations and the Renewable Energy Debate: A Case Study on Building Integrated Photovoltaics
Buildings 2022, 12(7), 931; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12070931 - 30 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 828
Abstract
Innovations in buildings help to reduce energy consumption and promote environmental protection and as well as the use of renewable energy technology. However, there is a conflict when the need for an innovation clashes with the financial burden and the complex adoption processes. [...] Read more.
Innovations in buildings help to reduce energy consumption and promote environmental protection and as well as the use of renewable energy technology. However, there is a conflict when the need for an innovation clashes with the financial burden and the complex adoption processes. As a result, the negative impacts of buildings remain, and the low adoption of strategic innovations remains unaddressed. This study aims to explore this challenge, the various sides of this debate and provide a practical guide which promotes energy and building-related innovations driven by policy. This paper is an extract from a recent doctoral study conducted using an exploratory qualitative model and interviews with eighty-six residents in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) was selected as a case study energy innovation and the thematic analysis of the data collected suggests that BIPV adoption is limited by multiple barriers. The debate arising from the findings highlights two opposing viewpoints. One view claims that mandatory policies are necessary to promote innovation adoption. The other view argues that the merits of mandatory policy are lost since multiple barriers significantly discourage adoption in the first place. The study takes a proactive step towards resolving the debate using a systematic approach that recommends specific drivers backed by supporting policies to guide human-centered, stakeholder-driven renewable energy transition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Energy Flexibility Comparison of Different Control Strategies for Zones with Radiant Floor Systems
Buildings 2022, 12(6), 837; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12060837 - 15 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1149
Abstract
Radiant floor systems offer significant potential for studying and developing energy flexibility strategies for buildings and their interaction with smart grids. Efficient design and operation of such systems require several critical decisions on design and control variables to maintain comfortable thermal conditions in [...] Read more.
Radiant floor systems offer significant potential for studying and developing energy flexibility strategies for buildings and their interaction with smart grids. Efficient design and operation of such systems require several critical decisions on design and control variables to maintain comfortable thermal conditions in the space and floor surface temperatures within the recommended range. This study presents a comparison of different control strategies to activate energy flexibility for zones with radiant floor heating systems. The focus of this study is on the zones with radiant floor systems for which the hydronic pipes are located deep in the concrete and therefore, there is a significant thermal lag. A perimeter zone test room equipped with a hydronic radiant floor system in an environmental chamber is used as to validate the modelling methodology. Considering a typical cloudy and cold winter day, three different control strategies for radiant heating were studied based on controlling the zone air temperature, floor surface temperature, and the operative temperature. Then considering morning and evening peak demand periods, the downward and upward energy flexibility are quantified and compared with each other for the different control strategies. It is observed that for the same 2 °C increase or decrease in the setpoint, the control strategy based on the zone air temperature results in the higher flexibility for both downward and upward scenarios compared with the floor surface and operative temperature controls. The effect of increasing window to wall ratio (WWR) is also investigated. Then, also the effect of solar gains on a sunny day on energy flexibility is studied. No significant difference in the upward and downward flexibility is observed. However, the hours of zero heating load are significantly increased due to the contribution from the solar gains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Article
Zero-Carbon Communities: Research Hotspots, Evolution, and Prospects
by , and
Buildings 2022, 12(5), 674; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12050674 - 18 May 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1400
Abstract
Global warming is a worldwide concern, with buildings generating more than 40% of the annual global CO2 emissions. A commonly accepted system of global standards for zero-carbon buildings and communities has not yet been established. In this research, the development history, hotspots, [...] Read more.
Global warming is a worldwide concern, with buildings generating more than 40% of the annual global CO2 emissions. A commonly accepted system of global standards for zero-carbon buildings and communities has not yet been established. In this research, the development history, hotspots, and trends at the urban scale with theoretical and data support are summarized based on the Web of Science (WoS) Core Collection. The review contains works from 1997 to 2022. A total of 19,014 papers were collected, with an overall increasing trend in the number of articles with specific keywords. The scope of the research is broad, covering the environment, sciences, ecology, chemistry, material science, physics, meteorology, atmospheric sciences, and so on. The hotspots in the low-carbon community (LCC) and zero-carbon community (ZCC) involve a wide range of disciplines, and collaborative research between related disciplines should be strengthened to propose practical solutions for the development of zero-carbon cities. The establishment of the ZCC mainly focuses on a zero-carbon-emission construction and zero-carbon operations. This research found approaches such as the choices of building construction and material, a waste recycling system, a regenerating energy system, transportation, and an examination of the community composition to realize the ZCC. In the literature it is presented that the difficulties in the construction of the ZCC are due to the lack of research in practice, operation, and subsequent maintenance. Moreover, other scholars can deepen the research on the hotspots of ZCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Review

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Review
Automated Computer Vision-Based Construction Progress Monitoring: A Systematic Review
Buildings 2022, 12(7), 1037; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12071037 - 18 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1522
Abstract
The progress monitoring (PM) of construction projects is an essential aspect of project control that enables the stakeholders to make timely decisions to ensure successful project delivery, but ongoing practices are largely manual and document-centric. However, the integration of technologically advanced tools into [...] Read more.
The progress monitoring (PM) of construction projects is an essential aspect of project control that enables the stakeholders to make timely decisions to ensure successful project delivery, but ongoing practices are largely manual and document-centric. However, the integration of technologically advanced tools into construction practices has shown the potential to automate construction PM (CPM) using real-time data collection, analysis, and visualization for effective and timely decision making. In this study, we assess the level of automation achieved through various methods that enable automated computer vision (CV)-based CPM. A detailed literature review is presented, discussing the complete process of CV-based CPM based on the research conducted between 2011 and 2021. The CV-based CPM process comprises four sub-processes: data acquisition, information retrieval, progress estimation, and output visualization. Most techniques encompassing these sub-processes require human intervention to perform the desired tasks, and the inter-connectivity among them is absent. We conclude that CV-based CPM research is centric on resolving technical feasibility studies using image-based processing of site data, which are still experimental and lack connectivity to its applications for construction management. This review highlighted the most efficient techniques involved in the CV-based CPM and accentuated the need for the inter-connectivity between sub-processes for an effective alternative to traditional practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Review
Meta-Analysis of the Performance of Pervious Concrete with Cement and Aggregate Replacements
Buildings 2022, 12(4), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12040461 - 08 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1273
Abstract
In recent years, pervious concrete (PC) has gained much attention as one of the strategies for low-impact development (LID) in pavements due to its structural, economic, and road-user benefits. This study sought to review and evaluate changes in the mechanical, hydraulic, and durability [...] Read more.
In recent years, pervious concrete (PC) has gained much attention as one of the strategies for low-impact development (LID) in pavements due to its structural, economic, and road-user benefits. This study sought to review and evaluate changes in the mechanical, hydraulic, and durability performance of PC produced with cement and aggregate replacements. A meta-analysis was conducted to elucidate the feasible range of the replacement percentage and the number of materials that could be used to replace cement and aggregates; single or binary replacements were considered. Results indicated that cement-replacing materials, industrial wastes (IWA), and recycled aggregates (RA) met the minimum requirement for the mechanical, hydraulic, and durability properties of PC. The use of a single cement replacement material provided PC with better performance than when cement was replaced with two or more materials or when cement alone was used. Industrial waste was found to be a better replacement to aggregates than RA. The combined replacement of cement and aggregates with IWA and other cement-replacing materials was the most effective method for improving the mechanical, hydraulic, and durability performance of PC. Replacements of up to 40% was considered viable for cement replacement, while up to 50% replacement was considered practical for aggregate and combined replacement. PC incorporating different cement-replacing materials exhibited equivalent or improved mechanical properties and maintained hydraulic performance compared to cement-based PC. Nonetheless, limited studies are available on the durability performance of PC made with cement and/or replacements. Thus, the durability of PC coupled with the applicability of replacement materials acquired from different locations need to be evaluated to address the viability of producing more durable PC with the use of replacements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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Review
Bibliometric Analysis and Review of Deep Learning-Based Crack Detection Literature Published between 2010 and 2022
Buildings 2022, 12(4), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12040432 - 01 Apr 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2938
Abstract
The use of deep learning (DL) in civil inspection, especially in crack detection, has increased over the past years to ensure long-term structural safety and integrity. To achieve a better understanding of the research work on crack detection using DL approaches, this paper [...] Read more.
The use of deep learning (DL) in civil inspection, especially in crack detection, has increased over the past years to ensure long-term structural safety and integrity. To achieve a better understanding of the research work on crack detection using DL approaches, this paper aims to provide a bibliometric analysis and review of the current literature on DL-based crack detection published between 2010 and 2022. The search from Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus, two widely accepted bibliographic databases, resulted in 165 articles published in top journals and conferences, showing the rapid increase in publications in this area since 2018. The evolution and state-of-the-art approaches to crack detection using deep learning are reviewed and analyzed based on datasets, network architecture, domain, and performance of each study. Overall, this review article stands as a reference for researchers working in the field of crack detection using deep learning techniques to achieve optimal precision and computational efficiency performance in light of electing the most effective combination of dataset characteristics and network architecture for each domain. Finally, the challenges, gaps, and future directions are provided to researchers to explore various solutions pertaining to (a) automatic recognition of crack type and severity, (b) dataset availability and suitability, (c) efficient data preprocessing techniques, (d) automatic labeling approaches for crack detection, (e) parameter tuning and optimization, (f) using 3D images and data fusion, (g) real-time crack detection, and (h) increasing segmentation accuracy at the pixel level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ZEMCH—Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Research 2021)
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