Special Issue "Heroes of Zero—Implementing the Lessons Learned from Pilot Programs towards Achieving Low-Energy or No Waste in Buildings, Communities, and Cities"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Francesco Guarino

Dipartimento di Energia, Ingegneria dell’Informazione e Modelli Matematici, Università di Palermo Viale delle Scienze 90128 Palermo, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: energy and buildings; building simulation; net zero energy buildings; life cycle assessment of buildings and building materials
Guest Editor
Dr. Therese E. Peffer

California Institute for Energy and Environment, 444 Sutardja Dai Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: building design; energy efficiency in buildings; building environmental control systems; user interface design, thermostats; demand response; behavior
Guest Editor
Dr. Luciano De Tommasi

United Technologies Research Center, Cork, Ireland
Interests: reduced order modeling; system identification; model predictive control; energy optimization; building energy performance analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The transition towards a low-carbon energy system has become an important scientific target of future decades. Now that ‘business as usual scenarios’ describe an increase in the average temperature of the globe of around 6 °C, it is time to act towards decarbonization in all sectors. Obviously, doing so in the building sector is paramount, either in terms of building efficiency or resources savings and recovery, since such a sector already accounts for around 40% of primary energy used in the world and 35% of greenhouse gases emissions.

The action in the building sector is usually based on the concept of nearly/net zero energy in buildings, although with several specific definitions worldwide. In the EU, nearly-zero-energy buildings are defined as having very high energy performance, in which the low amount of energy required comes mostly from renewable sources. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires all new buildings to be nearly zero-energy by the end of 2020. All new public buildings must be nearly zero-energy by 2018 [EC, 2014].

According to the definition from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Net Zero should also focus on water and wastes besides energy, thus consuming only as much energy as produced, achieving a sustainable balance between water availability and demand, and eliminating solid waste sent to landfills [EPA, 2017].

However, progress is slower than expected: Such high performance buildings are not yet ready for mass deployment in the market. Although most technologies that are employed are mature, financial barriers are considered by stakeholders as the main barrier, together with the limited development of innovative retrofitting technologies, lack of ambitious policies and energy plans or scaling up of single pilot projects. Moreover, the substantial gap in reliable data on current market activities and on monitored data related to savings and maintenance costs makes it difficult for policy-makers to evaluate the success of their policies [ZEBRA2020 project, CERtus project].

Specific topical keywords of particular interest for this Special Issue include but are not limited to:

  • Nearly/net zero-energy buildings (interventions, etc.);
  • Net-zero waste and net-zero water use in buildings;
  • Passive and autonomous buildings (strategies, technology);
  • Positive energy (blocks of) buildings and communities;
  • Self-consumption and off/zero-grid locations and cases;
  • Workforce upskilling and legislation towards net-zero;
  • Initiatives towards 100% renewable energy sources;
  • Cost-benefit analyses and net-zero funding schemes;
  • Impact of net-zero in building stock and climate,etc.

This Special Issue of Buildings is open to both public submissions and submissions from the Sustainable Places (SP) 2018 delegates.

Dr. Francesco Guarino
Dr. Therese E. Peffer
Dr. Luciano De Tommasi
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. 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 550 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.


  • Net zero-energy buildings
  • Renewable sources

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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