Special Issue "Addressing Sustainable Building Refurbishment: A Journey through Energy Optimization and Structural Retrofit"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Gerardo Maria Mauro

Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Department of Industrial Engineering, Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125 Napoli, Italy
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Guest Editor
Dr. Costantino Menna

Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Department of Structures for Engineering and Architecture, Via Claudio 21, 80125 Napoli, Italy
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is well known that most existing buildings were constructed without any structural provisions, and in an era in which energy efficiency and environmental sustainability requirements were not a critical part of design. Consequently, over the last few decades, energy and structural retrofit of existing buildings has progressively attracted the interest of scientific community and government institutions. Indeed, an optimized building refurbishment is fundamental to promote a sustainable and safe built environment for future generations.

In this frame, this Special Issue aims to propose a journey through different approaches to address sustainable building refurbishment, and, thus, we invite contributions dealing with:

  • methodologies and/or case studies concerning the optimization of building energy retrofit;
  • methodologies and/or case studies concerning the optimization of building structural retrofit;
  • combined approaches that integrate energy and structural aspects for a comprehensive optimization process of building refurbishment;
  • numerical/experimental studies addressing physical and analytical interactions between energy retrofit measures and building components’ structural behavior.

Original papers related to the above topics and also dealing generally with methodologies, numerical and experimental investigations, case-studies addressing building refurbishment, are welcome.

Thank you for your contributions.

Dr. Gerardo Maria Mauro
Dr. Costantino Menna
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 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 retrofit
  • structural retrofit
  • energy efficiency
  • sustainability
  • building performance optimization
  • strengthening strategies
  • integrated methodologies
  • lifecycle analysis
  • expected economic losses

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Balanced Evaluation of Structural and Environmental Performances in Building Design
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 30 March 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1949 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The design of new buildings, and even more the rehabilitation of existing ones, needs to satisfy modern criteria in terms of energy efficiency and environmental performance, within the context of adequate safety requirements. Tackling all these needs at the same time is cumbersome,
[...] Read more.
The design of new buildings, and even more the rehabilitation of existing ones, needs to satisfy modern criteria in terms of energy efficiency and environmental performance, within the context of adequate safety requirements. Tackling all these needs at the same time is cumbersome, as demonstrated by several experiences during recent earthquakes, where the improvement of energy performance vanished by seismic-induced damages. The costs of energy retrofitting must be added to the normal losses caused by the earthquake. Even though the minimum safety requirements are met (no collapse), the damage due to earthquake might be enough to waste the investment made to improve energy efficiency. Since these measures are often facilitated by corresponding incentives, the use of public funding is not cost effective. The application of the existing impact assessment methods is typically performed at the end of the architectural and structural design process. Thus, no real optimisation can be achieved, because a good structural solution could correspond to a poor environmental performance and vice versa. The proposed Sustainable Structural Design method (SSD) considers both environmental and structural parameters in the life cycle perspective. The integration of environmental data in the structural performance is the focus of the method. Structural performances are considered in a probabilistic approach, through the introduction of a simplified Performance Based Assessment method. Finally, the SSD method is implemented with a case-study of an office-occupancy building, both for precast and cast-in-situ structural systems, with the aim to find the best solution in terms of sustainability and structural performance for the case at hand. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Methodology for Integrated Refurbishment Actions in School Buildings
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
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Abstract
Educational buildings could play leading roles in increasing high-performance building refurbishments across Europe. The city of Vienna has substantially modernized its schools in the last decade, however mostly single refurbishment measures have been undertaken. This is missing the potential of comprehensive and more
[...] Read more.
Educational buildings could play leading roles in increasing high-performance building refurbishments across Europe. The city of Vienna has substantially modernized its schools in the last decade, however mostly single refurbishment measures have been undertaken. This is missing the potential of comprehensive and more energy-efficient actions as well as functional adaptations, which become ever more important as school and learning systems are changing. Institutional framework conditions, budget constraints as well as the lack of a coherent methodology have been identified as the main barriers in this context. The research question addresses how qualitative aspects, such as architecture and function, as well as quantitative aspects, such as energy consumption, could be combined in a methodology that can be easily applied by relevant stakeholders. What would a methodology that actively supports stakeholders in their decision-making process for more comprehensive school refurbishments look like? This paper describes a potential approach and its application in a case study. The proposed methodology supports the development of energy- and functionally optimized refurbishment concepts, with a focus on the synergies between energy-related optimizations and state-of-the-art functional room concepts in order to do justice to the changing learning requirements in schools. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Seismic Strengthening and Energy Efficiency: Towards an Integrated Approach for the Rehabilitation of Existing RC Buildings
Received: 2 December 2017 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4198 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Italy, most of the residential buildings (77%) were constructed before 1981, when only 25% of the national territory was classified as seismic. Further, the first provisions addressing thermal performance criteria were introduced in 1991, when about 88% of the existing Italian buildings
[...] Read more.
In Italy, most of the residential buildings (77%) were constructed before 1981, when only 25% of the national territory was classified as seismic. Further, the first provisions addressing thermal performance criteria were introduced in 1991, when about 88% of the existing Italian buildings had already been realized. Therefore, the Italian building stock is characterized by a large deficit in terms of both seismic capacity and thermal insulation. The large number of buildings having inadequate performance, both seismic and thermal, calls for rehabilitation interventions that are based on an integrated and sustainability-oriented approach. In the paper, the influence on seismic performance deriving from some retrofitting techniques, generally adopted to enhance the thermal performance of infill walls, has been evaluated. A common residential RC building representative of existing buildings designed only for vertical loads has been studied. The seismic performances have been evaluated through Incremental Dynamic Analyses (IDA). A first comparison is related to a thermal retrofitting intervention made by replacing the existing masonry infill walls with new elements that are able to ensure an adequate thermal protection. Further, a retrofitting intervention based on the “double skin” technique, where new infilled RC frames are added and connected to the existing ones, has been investigated in terms of seismic and thermal performance. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Impact of Insulation and HVAC Degradation on Overall Building Energy Performance: A Case Study
Received: 30 December 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 29 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
Through monitoring of buildings, it can be proven that the performance of envelope elements and energy supply systems deteriorates with time. The results of this degradation are higher energy consumption and life cycle costs than projected in the building design phase. This paper
[...] Read more.
Through monitoring of buildings, it can be proven that the performance of envelope elements and energy supply systems deteriorates with time. The results of this degradation are higher energy consumption and life cycle costs than projected in the building design phase. This paper considers the impacts of this deterioration on the whole building energy performance with the goal of improving the accuracy of long term performance calculations. To achieve that, simplified degradation equations found in literature are applied on selected envelope elements and heating system components of a single-family house in Germany. The energy performance of the building over 20 years is determined through simulations by EnergyPlus and MATLAB. The simulation results show that, depending on maintenance and primary heating system, the building can consume between 18.4% and 47.1% more primary energy over 20 years compared to a scenario in which no degradation were to occur. Thus, it can be concluded that considering performance drop with time is key in order to improve the decision-making process when designing future-proof buildings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Building in Historical Areas: Identity Values and Energy Performance of Innovative Massive Stone Envelopes with Reference to Traditional Building Solutions
Received: 8 November 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 27 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5006 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The intrinsic nature of local rocks shaped the features of built heritage in historical centers. The resulting building culture is part of the cultural heritage itself, and must be considered when building in such areas, while it is essential to solve the issues
[...] Read more.
The intrinsic nature of local rocks shaped the features of built heritage in historical centers. The resulting building culture is part of the cultural heritage itself, and must be considered when building in such areas, while it is essential to solve the issues related to traditional constructions’ weaknesses. Nonetheless, the potentialities of massive stone envelopes, particularly the importance of thermal inertia, have contributed to redefining the language of contemporary architectural culture. Nowadays, although the trend of employing thin stone cladding panels is prevalent, thick stone envelopes are gaining a renewed importance. Previous literature demonstrated that mixed building technologies or massive stone envelopes coupled with load-bearing framed structures are able to meet comfort and safety requirements and to guarantee the integration of new constructions in the consolidated urban landscape, avoiding historicist approaches. This research, through the analysis of case studies, aims to describe innovative building solutions developed by contemporary architectural culture, comparing them with traditional stone masonry walls. Moreover, thermal energy performance of such building solutions is assessed through dynamic yearly simulations. Results show that these solutions are technically and architecturally suitable to build in historical centers, because they can express urban cultural identity and guarantee good energy performance and users’ comfort. Full article
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Open AccessArticle External Wall Insulation (EWI): Engaging Social Tenants in Energy Efficiency Retrofitting in the North East of England
Buildings 2017, 7(4), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings7040102
Received: 22 June 2017 / Revised: 6 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 1 November 2017
PDF Full-text (829 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The question of how best to tackle the problem of energy inefficient older housing in the UK is considerable, and is further complicated by the question of tenure. Social landlords are working to update and improve their properties, which make up around 15%
[...] Read more.
The question of how best to tackle the problem of energy inefficient older housing in the UK is considerable, and is further complicated by the question of tenure. Social landlords are working to update and improve their properties, which make up around 15% of the total UK housing stock (4 million properties). The success of such efficiency improvements depends in part on the cooperation of tenants, and their ability and willingness to engage with the process of change. This paper describes the experiences of eleven social housing tenant households whose properties were fitted with External Wall Insulation (EWI), based on pre- and post-installation interviews and data collection. It includes discussion of tenants’ knowledge, attitudes, and expectations prior to and following installation; household thermal comfort and energy spending before installation; tenant experiences of having EWI installed; tenant perceptions regarding the effects of EWI on thermal comfort, energy spending, and housing attractiveness; impacts of EWI on internal temperatures and heat loss (measured via thermal imaging); energy bill comparisons. Households experienced an average saving of 33% on energy bills following EWI installation, and the majority of tenants reported benefits including improved thermal comfort and related positive impacts on health and wellbeing. The paper concludes by highlighting potential learning points for engaging tenants in the process of enhancing energy efficiency in UK social rented housing. Full article
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