Special Issue "Building Refurbishment and Energy Performance"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Cinzia Buratti

Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, Via G. Duranti, 67, 06125 Perugia, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: energy and buildings; innovative and recycled insulation materials; transparent insulation materials; biomass and bioenergy; acoustics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Building refurbishment is more and more focused on energy saving, due to the 20-20-20 targets of the European Union and of the world energy saving needs for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A wide part of building heritage needs refurbishment, aiming at an improvement in energy performance thanks to innovative and low environmental impact solutions, both for the opaque and transparent envelope.

The thermal properties of new materials for opaque envelopes and the thermal and optical properties of innovative glazing systems are basic data for the energy balance of a building.  The evaluation of energy saving and lighting performance, due to their application, could be carried out by means of simulation models or case study monitoring, and could allow to optimize energy consumption in summer and winter seasons.

In this Special Issue, I would like to collect the results of the scientific research in the field of new materials, recycled materials, building integrated photovoltaic solutions, and of their applications in the refurbishment of existing buildings, by highlighting the reduction of global energy consumptions, environmental impact, and of GHG emissions. Data related to several climatic conditions, representing various areas in the world, are welcome, in order to investigate the behavior of the same material at different latitudes.

Thank you for your contribution.

Prof. Dr. Cinzia Buratti
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 650 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • building refurbishment
  • energy saving
  • innovative opaque and transparent materials
  • low environmental impact materials

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Implications of Climate Zones on the Cost-Optimal Level and Cost-Effectiveness of Building Envelope Energy Renovation and Space Heat Demand Reduction
Received: 14 February 2017 / Revised: 26 April 2017 / Accepted: 3 May 2017 / Published: 10 May 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (8156 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The cost-optimal level of energy performance for buildings shall be identified according to the European directive of 2010. The Swedish building stock needs comprehensive knowledge and an overall strategy for the cost-optimal level of renovation. This paper studies the contribution of Swedish climate [...] Read more.
The cost-optimal level of energy performance for buildings shall be identified according to the European directive of 2010. The Swedish building stock needs comprehensive knowledge and an overall strategy for the cost-optimal level of renovation. This paper studies the contribution of Swedish climate zones to the cost-optimal level of renovation on a multi-story residential building in Sweden from the building owner perspective. The building space heat demand is simulated for four Swedish climate zones. The net present profit (NPP) method is defined and used in this study in order to analyze the cost-optimal level and the cost-effective renovation of building envelope components (e.g., attic floor, basement walls, exterior walls and windows). The implication of different discount rates is studied, as well. The results show that the optimum renovation of the building envelope offers 51% more energy savings for space heating when the building is in a northern climate zone compared to a southern zone. The study suggests that different renovation strategies for the building stock renovation need to be identified, separately, for each climate zone. The NPP analysis identifies the minimum required investment and maximum achievable energy savings that are needed to have a cost-effective renovation. The broad range of studied climate zones provides the opportunity to apply the obtained results to other climate zones by either interpolation or extrapolation of NPPs for the buildings with similar characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Refurbishment and Energy Performance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Energy Saving Assessment of Semi-Transparent Photovoltaic Modules Integrated into NZEB
Received: 7 December 2016 / Revised: 12 January 2017 / Accepted: 18 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (5055 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Photovoltaic semi-transparent materials (STPV) integrated into glazing systems can offer good potential for energy saving to buildings, influencing heating loads, cooling loads, and lighting, as well as electricity production. Moreover, with the new stringent regulations issued by various European countries, following the Energy [...] Read more.
Photovoltaic semi-transparent materials (STPV) integrated into glazing systems can offer good potential for energy saving to buildings, influencing heating loads, cooling loads, and lighting, as well as electricity production. Moreover, with the new stringent regulations issued by various European countries, following the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD, 2010/31/EC), the building envelope, including the glazing elements, needs to have high thermal performance to guarantee Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) behavior. This work presents an assessment of energy saving potential of 4 different types of STPV with respect to conventional double pane glass. Dye sensitized solar modules (DSM) and thin film modules were considered in the study. Simulations based on an IEA reference office building (STD) and on reference buildings prescribed by the new Italian building energy performance regulation (NZEB) were carried out. All the glazing peculiarities could be simulated using only one simulation tool, namely IDA ICE 4.7.1. Dye sensitized solar modules resulted as the best performing devices for all orientations and climate zones. The work also evidenced how the requirements of NZEB seem to be too stringent for insulation properties, especially for the climate zone of Rome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Refurbishment and Energy Performance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle High Energy-Efficient Windows with Silica Aerogel for Building Refurbishment: Experimental Characterization and Preliminary Simulations in Different Climate Conditions
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 16 January 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (7696 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper deals with the potential of high energy-efficient windows with granular silica aerogel for energy saving in building refurbishment. Different glazing systems were investigated considering two kinds of granular silica aerogel and different glass layers. Thermal transmittance and optical properties of the [...] Read more.
The paper deals with the potential of high energy-efficient windows with granular silica aerogel for energy saving in building refurbishment. Different glazing systems were investigated considering two kinds of granular silica aerogel and different glass layers. Thermal transmittance and optical properties of the samples were measured and used in building simulations. The aerogel impact on heat transfer is remarkable, allowing a thermal transmittance of 1.0–1.1 W/(m2·K) with granular aerogel in interspace only 15 mm in thickness. A 63% reduction in U-value was achieved when compared to the corresponding conventional windows, together with a significant reduction (30%) in light transmittance. When assembled with a low-e glass, the U-value reduction was lower (31%), but a moderate reduction in light transmittance (about 10%) was observed for larger granules. Energy simulations for a case study in different climate conditions (hot, moderate, and cold) showed a reduction in energy demand both for heating and cooling for silica aerogel glazing systems, when compared to the conventional ones. The new glazings are a suitable solution for building refurbishment, thanks to low U-values and total solar transmittance, also in warm climate conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Refurbishment and Energy Performance)
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Open AccessArticle Monitoring a Pre-Normative Multi-Family Housing Case-Study in a Mediterranean Climate
Received: 19 September 2016 / Revised: 11 December 2016 / Accepted: 15 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
In Spain, a significant percentage of the residential building stock presents deficient indoor conditions regarding current energy standards, due to having been constructed before the Norma Básica de la Edificación in 1979 (NBE CT 79) regarding thermal conditions in buildings. Current environmental policies [...] Read more.
In Spain, a significant percentage of the residential building stock presents deficient indoor conditions regarding current energy standards, due to having been constructed before the Norma Básica de la Edificación in 1979 (NBE CT 79) regarding thermal conditions in buildings. Current environmental policies pursue a cut in energy consumption and seek improvements in indoor conditions by refurbishing current stock, mainly that constructed between 1950 and 1980. Before any retrofitting action, housing monitoring has become essential for a better understanding of real and passive environmental behavior. This paper aims to present the monitoring in hourly intervals, real-time and post-occupancy conditions of a residential building in Seville, built in the 1950s and belonging to national heritage. The results obtained show major discrepancies between thermal indoor data collected and comfort conditions, both in summer and winter, which are solved by the sporadic use of cooling and heating devices present in the dwellings, thus leading to less energy consumption than expected. This is a common occurrence in multi-family housing units from the Mediterranean arc: there are many periods of the year in which a vast number of the population lives in poor energy conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Refurbishment and Energy Performance)
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Open AccessArticle Three-Dimensional Heat Transfer Analysis of Metal Fasteners in Roofing Assemblies
Received: 6 October 2016 / Revised: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 23 November 2016 / Published: 29 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (9866 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Heat transfer analysis was performed on typical roofing assemblies using HEAT3, a three-dimensional heat transfer analysis software. The difference in heat transferred through the roofing assemblies considered is compared between two cases—without any steel fasteners and with steel fasteners. In the latter case, [...] Read more.
Heat transfer analysis was performed on typical roofing assemblies using HEAT3, a three-dimensional heat transfer analysis software. The difference in heat transferred through the roofing assemblies considered is compared between two cases—without any steel fasteners and with steel fasteners. In the latter case, the metal roofing fasteners were arranged as per Factor Mutual Global (FMG) approvals, in the field, perimeter, and corner zones of the roof. The temperature conditions used for the analysis represented summer and winter conditions for three separate Climate Zones (CZ) namely Climate Zone 2 or CZ2 represented by Orlando, FL; CZ3 represented by Atlanta, GA; and CZ6 zone represented by St. Paul, MN. In all the climatic conditions, higher energy transfer was observed with increase in the number of metal fasteners attributed to high thermal conductivity of metals as compared to the insulation and other materials used in the roofing assembly. This difference in heat loss was also quantified in the form of percentage change in the overall or effective insulation of the roofing assembly for better understanding of the practical aspects. Besides, a comparison of 2D heat transfer analysis (using THERM software) and 3D analysis using HEAT3 is also discussed proving the relevance of 3D over 2D heat transfer analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Refurbishment and Energy Performance)
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Open AccessArticle The Energy Impact in Buildings of Vegetative Solutions for Extensive Green Roofs in Temperate Climates
Received: 23 June 2016 / Revised: 11 August 2016 / Accepted: 13 August 2016 / Published: 26 August 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (8441 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many bibliographical studies have highlighted the positive effects of green roofs as technological solutions both for new and renovated buildings. The one-year experimental monitoring campaign conducted has investigated, in detail, some aspects related to the surface temperature variation induced by the presence of [...] Read more.
Many bibliographical studies have highlighted the positive effects of green roofs as technological solutions both for new and renovated buildings. The one-year experimental monitoring campaign conducted has investigated, in detail, some aspects related to the surface temperature variation induced by the presence of different types of vegetation compared to traditional finishing systems for flat roofs and their impact from an energy and environmental point of view. The results obtained underlined how an appropriate vegetative solution selection can contribute to a significant reduction of the external surface temperatures (10 °C–20 °C for I > 500 W/m2 and 0 °C–5 °C for I < 500 W/m2, regardless of the season) compared to traditional flat roofs. During the winter season, the thermal gradients of the planted surface temperatures are close to zero compared to the floor, except under special improving conditions. This entails a significant reduction of the energy loads from summer air conditioning, and an almost conservative behavior with respect to that from winter heating consumption. The analysis of the inside growing medium temperatures returned a further interesting datum, too: the temperature gradient with respect to surface temperature (annual average 4 °C–9 °C) is a function of solar radiation and involves the insulating contribution of the soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Refurbishment and Energy Performance)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Thermochromic Oxide-Based Thin Films and Nanoparticle Composites for Energy-Efficient Glazings
Received: 24 November 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 29 December 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (9887 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Today’s advances in materials science and technology can lead to better buildings with improved energy efficiency and indoor conditions. Particular attention should be directed towards windows and glass facades—jointly known as “glazings”—since current practices often lead to huge energy expenditures related to excessive [...] Read more.
Today’s advances in materials science and technology can lead to better buildings with improved energy efficiency and indoor conditions. Particular attention should be directed towards windows and glass facades—jointly known as “glazings”—since current practices often lead to huge energy expenditures related to excessive inflow or outflow of energy which need to be balanced by energy-intensive cooling or heating. This review article outlines recent progress in thermochromics, i.e., it deals with materials whose optical properties are strongly dependent on temperature. In particular, we discuss oxide-based thin surface coatings (thin films) and nanoparticle composites which can be deposited onto glass and are able to regulate the throughput of solar energy while the luminous (visible) properties remain more or less unaltered. Another implementation embodies lamination materials incorporating thermochromic (TC) nanoparticles. The thin films and nanocomposites are based on vanadium dioxide (VO2), which is able to change its properties within a narrow temperature range in the vicinity of room temperature and either reflects or absorbs infrared light at elevated temperatures, whereas the reflectance or absorptance is much smaller at lower temperatures. The review outlines the state of the art for these thin films and nanocomposites with particular attention to recent developments that have taken place in laboratories worldwide. Specifically, we first set the scene by discussing environmental challenges and their relationship with TC glazings. Then enters VO2 and we present its key properties in thin-film form and as nanoparticles. The next part of the article gives perspectives on the manufacturing of these films and particles. We point out that the properties of pure VO2 may not be fully adequate for buildings and we elaborate how additives, antireflection layers, nanostructuring and protective over-coatings can be employed to yield improved performance and durability that make TC glazings of considerable interest for building-related applications. Finally, we briefly describe recent developments towards TC light scattering and draw some final conclusions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Refurbishment and Energy Performance)
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