Special Issue "Advancement in Smart Building Technologies: From Project to Operation and Management of Buildings"

A special issue of Electronics (ISSN 2079-9292). This special issue belongs to the section "Power Electronics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Stefano Rinaldi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Information Engineering,University of Brescia,Via Branze, 38,I-25123 Brescia, Italy
Interests: instrumentation and measurement; industrial real-time network; wireless sensor network; smart sensors; communication systems for smart grids; time synchronization; Linux-embedded programming; embedded systems; power quality; smart grids; energy systems; smart building; energy management system
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Lavinia Chiara Tagliabue
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil, Environmental, Architectural Engineering and Mathematics (DICATAM), Via Branze 43, I-25121 Brescia, Italy
Interests: sustainability and sustainable buildings; environmental and energy protocols; energy saving; renewable energies, energy retrofit and NZEB, BIM to BEM (building information modelling to building energy modelling) interoperability; cognitive buildings; behavioural design; probabilistic models; building management systems (BMS)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Smart City concept is based on the integration of infrastructures of a city, such as energy and water distribution grids or transportation systems, with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for the optimization of services offered to citizens. The Smart City approach benefits from information coming from a massive deployment of a network of sensors along the urban area. Private and public buildings represent the preferred points of interconnection between the citizen and the Smart City. Thus, the building construction and management sector is experiencing a deep transformation. Systems, such as home automation systems or energy management systems, are providing “intelligence” to buildings, the so-called Smart Building approach. This approach implies the massive deployment of electronic equipment, such as sensors, actuators and controllers, close to plants of the building, and the interconnection of these devices through performing communication systems. Technologies, such as the Internet of Thing (IoT), will provide possible solutions to make the interconnection of sub-systems and plants of building with the rest of a Smart City easier.

This Special Issue welcomes theoretical papers, methodological studies and empirical research (or combinations thereof) on the design and implementation of the Smart Building concept for sustainable energy management and improvement of the quality of life of citizens. The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Internet of Thing and Cyber Physical System,
  • Distributed measurement systems,
  • Communication protocols for Smart Building and IoT
  • Energy Management System,
  • Active user interaction,
  • Ambient assisted living,
  • Building Information Modelling,
  • Building Management System,
  • Home automation System,
  • Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning system,
  • Predictive Maintenance System,
  • Power electronic for management of energy flows in building,
  • Signal processing from sensors for Smart Building,
  • Energy saving/energy analysis on building management system.

Dr. Stefano Rinaldi
Dr. Lavinia Chiara Tagliabue
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. Electronics 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 1400 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.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Utilizing a Building Information Modelling Environment to Communicate the Legal Ownership of Internet of Things-Generated Data in Multi-Owned Buildings
Electronics 2019, 8(11), 1258; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8111258 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
In multi-owned buildings, a community of residents live in their private properties while they use and share communal spaces and facilities. Proper management of multi-owned buildings is underpinned by rules related to health, safety, and security of the residents and visitors. Utilizing Internet [...] Read more.
In multi-owned buildings, a community of residents live in their private properties while they use and share communal spaces and facilities. Proper management of multi-owned buildings is underpinned by rules related to health, safety, and security of the residents and visitors. Utilizing Internet of Things (IoT) devices to collect information about the livable space has become a significant trend since the introduction of first smart home appliances back in 2000. The question about who owns the IoT generated data and under what terms it can be shared with others is still unclear. IoT devices, such as security camera and occupancy sensors, can provide safety for their owners, while these devices may capture private data from the neighborhood. In fact, the residents are sometimes not aware of regulations that can prevent them from installing and collecting data from shared spaces that could breach other individuals’ privacy. On the other hand, Building Information Modelling (BIM) provides a rich 3D digital data environment to manage the physical, functional, and ownership aspects of buildings over their entire lifecycle. This study aims to propose a methodology to utilize BIM for defining the legal ownership of the IoT generated data. A case study has been used to discuss key challenges related to the ownership of IoT data in a multi-owned building. This study confirmed that BIM environment can facilitate the understanding of legal ownership of IoT datasets and supports the interpretation of who has the entitlement to use the IoT datasets in multi-owned buildings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Platform-Based Business Models: Insights from an Emerging AI-Enabled Smart Building Ecosystem
Electronics 2019, 8(10), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8101150 - 11 Oct 2019
Abstract
Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging to become a highly potential enabling technology for smart buildings. However, the development of AI applications quite often follows a traditional, closed, and product-oriented approach. This study aims to introduce the platform model and ecosystem thinking to the [...] Read more.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging to become a highly potential enabling technology for smart buildings. However, the development of AI applications quite often follows a traditional, closed, and product-oriented approach. This study aims to introduce the platform model and ecosystem thinking to the development of AI-enabled smart buildings. The study identifies the needs for a user-oriented digital service ecosystem and business model in the smart building sector in Finland, which aimed to facilitate the launch of scalable businesses and an experiential and dynamic business ecosystem. A multi-method, interpretive case study was applied in the focal ecosystem, with the leading real estate and facility management operators in Northern Europe as part of a Finnish national innovation project. Our results propose an extended comprehensive framework of the 5C ecosystemic model (Connection, Content, Computation, Context, and Commerce) and the possible paths of ecosystem players in the domain of smart building and smart built environment, both theoretically and empirically. The platform-oriented business models are missing, yet desired, by the ecosystem actors. The value chain and ecosystem platforms imply the quest for new (platform) models. Finally, our research discusses the need for new value-chain- and ecosystem-oriented AI development and big data platforms in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Building Information Management (BIM) and Blockchain (BC) for Sustainable Building Design Information Management Framework
Electronics 2019, 8(7), 724; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8070724 - 26 Jun 2019
Abstract
At present, sustainable design is experiencing energy consumption and cost-effectiveness challenges in the building industry. A recent body of literature argues that the development of emerging smart digital technologies, such as Building Information Management (BIM) and blockchain (BC), offer immediate benefits to the [...] Read more.
At present, sustainable design is experiencing energy consumption and cost-effectiveness challenges in the building industry. A recent body of literature argues that the development of emerging smart digital technologies, such as Building Information Management (BIM) and blockchain (BC), offer immediate benefits to the industry. However, the current application of BIM and BC in the sustainable design and construction process focuses on smart energy and construction management, with little attention to addressing challenges for applying BIM to sustainable design and proposing strategies in terms of the usability of these technologies in the management of building construction projects. Therefore, this paper sets out to explore the potential roles of an integrated BIM and BC approach for sustainable building design information management. The first attempt is presented to use BC aided BIM for sustainable building design coordination and collaboration in multiple building stages. BC has the potential to address challenges that hinder the industry from using BIM for sustainable design, which has been unearthed. An innovative BC enhanced transaction process in BIM is required for sustainable building development. Roles of a user level driven smart contract system of BC can be used to enhance BIM system in the sustainable buildings process. The role of BC is primarily at user level driven smart contracts and their record value exchange capabilities. A user level (BIM stakeholders) driven BC technology for transaction in BIM process flow is revealed, and the user level (sustainable building design project stakeholders/BIM clients) driven and the smart contract enabled BIM+ BC architecture to address challenges of BIM for sustainable design has been further circulated according to the literature. Subsequently, a conceptual architecture of BIM + BC for Sustainable Building Design Information Management Framework in building project management has been proposed, validated, and refined. The Framework has two level encompassing structures and flow. The high-level framework is focused on strategy, whilst the low-level framework demonstrates technical components in detail. This architecture supporting project stakeholders in managing information, has the potential to achieve and ensure the realization of sustainable design goals through the interactive realization of smart contracts integrated into the user level driven BIM + BC system and its recording value exchange function through three user-driven levels, namely user, system, and transaction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Building Information Modelling (BIM) based Water Efficiency (BWe) Framework for Sustainable Building Design and Construction Management
Electronics 2019, 8(6), 599; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8060599 - 29 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
There is a lack of decision-making tools for water efficiency design and construction to maximize project benefits and water conservation. An increasing number of research studies indicate that building information modelling (BIM) can enhance the cooperation, improve work efficiency, and conduct simulation and [...] Read more.
There is a lack of decision-making tools for water efficiency design and construction to maximize project benefits and water conservation. An increasing number of research studies indicate that building information modelling (BIM) can enhance the cooperation, improve work efficiency, and conduct simulation and analysis of sustainability performance in building projects. However, BIM’s potential to enhance water efficiency is yet to be established, such as water gird design optimization, clash detection, combination of BIM with smart appliances and sensors. The research adopted a mixed method approach to investigate the potential impact of BIM on water efficiency in building projects. It involved 50 practitioners from the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry through a questionnaire survey and the follow-up interviews. The quantitative results of questionnaire data and qualitative results of interviews were used to develop a “BIM-based Water Efficiency (BWe) Framework” which was subsequently validated by five experienced practitioners and researchers in the form of semi-structured interviews. The framework applies BIM to optimize traditional water efficiency measures based on an information database. The geometry, attributes, status information of building components or non-component objects stored in the database greatly improve information integration degree of construction engineering. This study provided a reference for the use of BIM for water conservation in building design and construction. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Predictive Energy Control Strategy for Peak Shaving and Shifting Using BESS and PV Generation Applied to the Retail Sector
Electronics 2019, 8(5), 526; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8050526 - 10 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
As is known, a reduction in CO2 emissions is closely related to the improvement of energy efficiency and the increasing use of renewable energy sources in building stock due to its high contribution to worldwide energy consumption. The retail sector has become [...] Read more.
As is known, a reduction in CO 2 emissions is closely related to the improvement of energy efficiency and the increasing use of renewable energy sources in building stock due to its high contribution to worldwide energy consumption. The retail sector has become particularly interesting in this sense, because commercial buildings are no longer just places where a variety of services are offered to customers. In fact, they can be beacons of energy efficiency. In this paper, we propose a predictive energy control strategy that, through the combination of production and demand forecasting, can effectively shave and shift the peak consumption of shopping malls equipped with battery energy storage systems (BESS). The adopted optimization strategy takes into account the variability of electricity tariffs over time, as is customary in some European countries. The performed energy and economic simulations based on the experimental data collected in an Italian shopping mall clearly highlight the benefits in terms of energy and economic savings. Moreover, the reported results lead to the conclusion that BESS management, photovoltaic (PV) generation, and peak switch strategies can have a reasonable pay-back investment time even for buildings with a large energy demand. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Cost-Effective Air Quality Supervision Solution for Enhanced Living Environments through the Internet of Things
Electronics 2019, 8(2), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8020170 - 01 Feb 2019
Cited by 12
Abstract
We spend about 90% of our lives in indoor living environments. Thus, it is essential to provide indoor air quality monitoring for enhanced living environments. Advances in networking, sensors, and embedded devices have made monitoring and supply of assistance possible to people in [...] Read more.
We spend about 90% of our lives in indoor living environments. Thus, it is essential to provide indoor air quality monitoring for enhanced living environments. Advances in networking, sensors, and embedded devices have made monitoring and supply of assistance possible to people in their homes. Technological advancements have made possible the building of smart devices with significant capabilities for sensing and connecting, but also provide several improvements in ambient assisted living system architectures. Indoor air quality assumes an important role in building productive and healthy indoor environments. In this paper, the authors present an Internet of Things system for real-time indoor air quality monitoring named iAir. This system is composed by an ESP8266 as the communication and processing unit and a MICS-6814 sensor as the sensing unit. The MICS-6814 is a metal oxide semiconductor sensor capable of detecting several gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ethanol, methane, and propane. The iAir system also provides a smartphone application for data consulting and real-time notifications. Compared to other solutions, the iAir system is based on open-source technologies and operates as a totally Wi-Fi system, with several advantages such as its modularity, scalability, low cost, and easy installation. The results obtained are very promising, representing a meaningful contribution for enhanced living environments as iAir provides real-time monitoring for enhanced ambient assisted living and occupational health. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Wireless Sensor Networks for Smart Homes: A Fuzzy-Based Solution for an Energy-Effective Duty Cycle
Electronics 2019, 8(2), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8020131 - 27 Jan 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
This paper introduces a fuzzy-based method that, according to the ratio of Throughput to Workload and the battery level, manages the sleeping time of devices in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) for smart homes. The purpose of this work is a system that can [...] Read more.
This paper introduces a fuzzy-based method that, according to the ratio of Throughput to Workload and the battery level, manages the sleeping time of devices in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) for smart homes. The purpose of this work is a system that can be executed on off-the-shelf hardware and offers enhanced performance confronted with other approaches. The challenge here is to achieve a practical method that reaches the target while bypassing complex and computationally expensive solutions, which would diminish the possible applicability of the method in real scenarios. The retrieved results prove that the proposed approach outperforms other solutions, significantly prolonging the life of battery-powered wireless devices with also satisfactory values of the ratio Throughput to Workload. Besides, a proof-of-concept implementation on off-the-shelf devices confirms that the proposed method does not expect powerful hardware and can be surely implemented on a low-cost device. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Embedded Microcontroller with a CCD Camera as a Digital Lighting Control System
Electronics 2019, 8(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8010033 - 01 Jan 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
Although with the advent of the LEDs the energy consumption in buildings can be reduced by 50%, there exists a potential for energy savings due to lighting controls. Moreover, lighting controls can ensure that the near zero energy requirements by EU can be [...] Read more.
Although with the advent of the LEDs the energy consumption in buildings can be reduced by 50%, there exists a potential for energy savings due to lighting controls. Moreover, lighting controls can ensure that the near zero energy requirements by EU can be achieved for near zero energy buildings (nZEBs). For this reason, more sophisticated lighting controls must be proposed in order to take full advantage of LEDs and their flexibility concerning dimming. This paper proposes the architecture of an embedded computer camera controller for monitoring and management of image data, which is applied in various control cases, and particularly in digitally controlled lighting devices. The proposed system deals with real-time monitoring and management of a GigE camera input. An in-house developed algorithm using MATLAB enables the identification of areas in luminance values. The embedded microcontroller is part of a complete lighting control system with an imaging sensor in order to measure and control the illumination of several working areas of a room. The power consumption of the proposed lighting system was measured and was compared with the power consumption of a typical photosensor. The functional performance and operation of the proposed camera control system architecture was evaluated based upon a BeagleBone Black microcontroller board. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Real-Time Autonomous System for Structural and Environmental Monitoring of Dynamic Events
Electronics 2018, 7(12), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics7120420 - 10 Dec 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
This paper deals with the definition and analysis of a complete electronic system for the detection and monitoring of stability characteristics in complex scenarios such as structural elements or environmental events. For instance, it may be successfully adopted to detect rockfall events on [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the definition and analysis of a complete electronic system for the detection and monitoring of stability characteristics in complex scenarios such as structural elements or environmental events. For instance, it may be successfully adopted to detect rockfall events on protection barriers, as well as to monitor landslides or the integrity of structures like bridges and buildings. The system is completely autonomous thanks to the implementation of an energy harvesting architecture and realizes a wireless sensor network whose nodes are auto-configurable, making it possible to freely arrange them in situ. The continuously collected data are relative to acceleration, inclination, position, and temperature of each node. These data are transmitted and stored on a remote web server devoted to the automatic management of alarms and accessible for data consulting. The proposed system is currently operating in different experimental fields in Italy. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
An Energy Management Platform for Public Buildings
Electronics 2018, 7(11), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics7110294 - 02 Nov 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
This paper describes the development and implementation of an electronic platform for energy management in public buildings. The developed platform prototype is based on the installation of a network of wireless sensors using the emerging Long Range (LoRa) low power long-range wireless network [...] Read more.
This paper describes the development and implementation of an electronic platform for energy management in public buildings. The developed platform prototype is based on the installation of a network of wireless sensors using the emerging Long Range (LoRa) low power long-range wireless network technology. This network is used to collect sensor data, which is stored online and manipulated to extract knowledge and generate actions toward energy saving solutions. In this process, gamification approaches were used to motivate changes in the users’ behavior towards more sustainable actions in public buildings. These actions and the associated processes can be implemented as public services, and they can be replicated to different public buildings, contributing to a more energy-sustainable world. The developed platform allows the monitoring and management of the heating/cooling, electric power consumption, and lighting levels. In order to validate the proposed electronic platform, sensor information was collected in the context of a university campus, which was used as an application scenario in public buildings. Full article
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Barchi, G. et al. Predictive Energy Control Strategy for Peak Switch and Shifting Using BESS and PV Generation Applied to the Retail Sector. Electronics 2019, 8, 526
Electronics 2019, 8(8), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8080848 - 30 Jul 2019
Abstract
After the publication of the research paper [...] Full article
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