Special Issue "Building Thermal Envelope - New Trends and Applications"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy and Buildings".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Jorge de Brito
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dr. Maria da Glória Gomes
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Georesources, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: Building physics; Thermal and energy performance of buildings (laboratory and field experiments; modelling and simulation); Sustainable and energy efficient materials and solutions; Wind action and natural ventilation of buildings
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The increasing requirements in building thermal and energy performance standards and the need for designing net-zero energy buildings, while still enhancing indoor comfort conditions, lead to a demand for more efficient thermal building envelope solutions. In fact, the effective use of building thermal envelopes, as an interface between outdoors and indoors, plays a key role in sustainable and energy-efficient building design. Therefore, there is a need for a continuous search for innovative materials, construction solutions, and technologies that manage the energy and mass transfer between buildings and the external environment, taking into account not only climatic changes but also user preferences. Knowledge concerning the performance of building thermal envelope solutions and existing design support tools, such as building performance simulation, is crucial for stakeholders to make informed decisions with respect to the definition and implementation of energy-efficient strategies for new and refurbished buildings.

This Special Issue intends to focus not only on existing knowledge but also on the new trends and applications related to building thermal envelopes.

Original research (theoretical and experimental), case studies, and comprehensive review papers are invited for possible publication in this Special Issue. Relevant topics to this Special Issue include but are not limited to the following subjects:

  • Building envelope materials and systems envisaging indoor comfort and energy efficiency;
  • Building thermal and energy modelling and simulation;
  • Lab test procedures and methods of field measurement to assess the performance of materials and building solutions;
  • Smart materials and renewable energy in building envelopes;
  • Adaptive and intelligent building envelopes;
  • Integrated building envelope technologies for high-performance buildings and cities.

Prof. Dr. Jorge de Brito
Prof. Dr. Maria da Glória Gomes
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. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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

  • building envelope materials and systems envisaging indoor comfort and energy efficiency
  • building thermal and energy modelling and simulation
  • lab test procedures and methods of field measurement to assess the performance of materials and building solutions
  • smart materials and renewable energy in building envelopes
  • adaptive and intelligent building envelopes
  • integrated building envelope technologies for high-performance buildings and cities

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Behavior of a BIPV Combined with Water Storage: An Experimental Analysis
Energies 2021, 14(9), 2545; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14092545 - 29 Apr 2021
Viewed by 225
Abstract
Buildings play an active role in the global energy consumption and are required to not only minimize their energy use, but also generate energy in a sustainable manner. The integration of renewable energies in building elements can improve their overall performance, as they [...] Read more.
Buildings play an active role in the global energy consumption and are required to not only minimize their energy use, but also generate energy in a sustainable manner. The integration of renewable energies in building elements can improve their overall performance, as they are able to replace common construction materials, while offering both electrical and thermal energy. The scope of this paper is to present the first results of an experimental study of a Building-Integrated Photovoltaic system combined with a water storage tank (BIPV-WS), a combined integration not extensively studied yet. Both layers are separated by a ventilated air cavity, and the thermal behavior of the system was analyzed experimentally in real functioning conditions. The water tank performs as a thermal storage, maintaining a regular temperature of about 20–30 °C during a typical winter day of Lisbon for a period of 11 h. Moreover, through the ventilation of the air cavity, the heat provided by the solar panel was naturally recovered to the indoors of the building, while keeping the temperature high enough to heat up the water. During summer, the ventilated BIPV-WS enabled beneficial nocturnal heat loss while delaying diurnal space heating. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Thermal Envelope - New Trends and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance Assessment of a Building-Integrated Photovoltaic Thermal System in a Mediterranean Climate—An Experimental Analysis Approach
Energies 2021, 14(8), 2191; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14082191 - 14 Apr 2021
Viewed by 228
Abstract
The experimental investigation of building-integrated photovoltaic thermal (BIPVT) solar systems is essential to characterise the operation of these elements under real conditions of use according to the climate and building type they pertain. BIPVT systems can increase and ensure energy performance and readiness [...] Read more.
The experimental investigation of building-integrated photovoltaic thermal (BIPVT) solar systems is essential to characterise the operation of these elements under real conditions of use according to the climate and building type they pertain. BIPVT systems can increase and ensure energy performance and readiness without jeopardising the occupant comfort if correctly operated. The present work presents a case study’s experimental analysis composed of a BIPVT system for heat recovery located in a controlled test room. This work contribution focuses on the presentation of the obtained measured value results that correspond to the BIPVT main boundary conditions (weather and room characteristics) and the thermal behaviour and performance of the BIPVT system, located in the Solar XXI Building, a nZEB exposed to the mild Mediterranean climate conditions of Portugal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Thermal Envelope - New Trends and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
In-Service Thermal and Luminous Performance Monitoring of a Refurbished Building with Solar Control Films on the Glazing System
Energies 2021, 14(5), 1388; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14051388 - 03 Mar 2021
Viewed by 343
Abstract
The global increase in energy needs and environmental awareness for a more efficient energy use have boosted building rehabilitation to decrease energy consumption. The installation of solar control films (SCFs) in buildings with large glazing façades makes it possible to reduce excessive solar [...] Read more.
The global increase in energy needs and environmental awareness for a more efficient energy use have boosted building rehabilitation to decrease energy consumption. The installation of solar control films (SCFs) in buildings with large glazing façades makes it possible to reduce excessive solar gains through the glazing. The main purpose of the work is to assess, with field experimental data, the thermal and luminous performances of double-glazing units with SCFs installed in office rooms, in Lisbon. An experimental campaign was carried out simultaneously in three adjacent offices: one with a highly reflective SCF (external installation), one with a reflective SCF (internal installation) and one without an SCF. The exterior SCF showed the best thermal performance with reductions in the peak indoor air temperature of up to 6.9 and 2.3 °C during the representative days of the heating and cooling periods, respectively, increasing thermal comfort mainly during the cooling period. The interior SCF had a poorer thermal performance since it contributed to solar radiation absorption that is then emitted as heat into the indoor environment, increasing the greenhouse effect of the office. The presence of SCFs reduced the indoor illuminance levels, having a positive impact on thermal comfort and glare reduction in the cooling period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Thermal Envelope - New Trends and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Sensitivity Analysis of 4R3C Model Parameters with Respect to Structure and Geometric Characteristics of Buildings
Energies 2021, 14(3), 657; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14030657 - 28 Jan 2021
Viewed by 340
Abstract
Data-driven models, either simplified or detailed, have been extensively used in the literature for energy assessment in buildings and districts. However, the uncertainty of the estimated parameters, especially of thermal masses in resistance–capacitance (RC) models, still remains a significant challenge, given the wide [...] Read more.
Data-driven models, either simplified or detailed, have been extensively used in the literature for energy assessment in buildings and districts. However, the uncertainty of the estimated parameters, especially of thermal masses in resistance–capacitance (RC) models, still remains a significant challenge, given the wide variety of buildings functionalities, typologies, structures and geometries. Therefore, the sensitivity analysis of the estimated parameters in RC models with respect to different geometric characteristics is necessary to examine the accuracy of identified models. In this work, heavy- and light-structured buildings are simulated in Transient System Simulation Tool (TRNSYS) to analyze the effects of four main geometric characteristics on the total heat demand, maximum heat power and the estimated parameters of an RC model (4R3C), namely net-floor area, windows-to-floor ratio, aspect ratio, and orientation angle. Executing more than 700 simulations in TRNSYS and comparing the outcomes with their corresponding 4R3C model shows that the thermal resistances of 4-facade building structures are estimated with good accuracy regardless of their geometric features, while the insulation level has the highest impact on the estimated parameters. Importantly, the results obtained also indicate that the 4R3C model can estimate the indoor temperature with a mean square error of less than 0.5 °C for all cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Thermal Envelope - New Trends and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Building Temperature Simulation Approach Driven by Expanding Semantic Segmentation Training Datasets with Synthetic Aerial Thermal Images
Energies 2021, 14(2), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14020353 - 11 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 487
Abstract
Multi-sensor imagery data has been used by researchers for the image semantic segmentation of buildings and outdoor scenes. Due to multi-sensor data hunger, researchers have implemented many simulation approaches to create synthetic datasets, and they have also synthesized thermal images because such thermal [...] Read more.
Multi-sensor imagery data has been used by researchers for the image semantic segmentation of buildings and outdoor scenes. Due to multi-sensor data hunger, researchers have implemented many simulation approaches to create synthetic datasets, and they have also synthesized thermal images because such thermal information can potentially improve segmentation accuracy. However, current approaches are mostly based on the laws of physics and are limited to geometric models’ level of detail (LOD), which describes the overall planning or modeling state. Another issue in current physics-based approaches is that thermal images cannot be aligned to RGB images because the configurations of a virtual camera used for rendering thermal images are difficult to synchronize with the configurations of a real camera used for capturing RGB images, which is important for segmentation. In this study, we propose an image translation approach to directly convert RGB images to simulated thermal images for expanding segmentation datasets. We aim to investigate the benefits of using an image translation approach for generating synthetic aerial thermal images and compare those approaches with physics-based approaches. Our datasets for generating thermal images are from a city center and a university campus in Karlsruhe, Germany. We found that using the generating model established by the city center to generate thermal images for campus datasets performed better than using the latter to generate thermal images for the former. We also found that using a generating model established by one building style to generate thermal images for datasets with the same building styles performed well. Therefore, we suggest using training datasets with richer and more diverse building architectural information, more complex envelope structures, and similar building styles to testing datasets for an image translation approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Thermal Envelope - New Trends and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Energy Performance Evaluation of a Ventilated Façade System through CFD Modeling and Comparison with International Standards
Energies 2021, 14(1), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14010193 - 01 Jan 2021
Viewed by 687
Abstract
Ventilated façades can help to reduce summer building thermal loads and, therefore, energy consumption due to air-conditioning systems thanks to the combined effect of the solar radiation reflection and the natural or forced ventilation into the cavity. The evaluation of ventilated façades behavior [...] Read more.
Ventilated façades can help to reduce summer building thermal loads and, therefore, energy consumption due to air-conditioning systems thanks to the combined effect of the solar radiation reflection and the natural or forced ventilation into the cavity. The evaluation of ventilated façades behavior and performance is complex and requires a complete thermo-fluid dynamic analysis. In this study, a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) methodology has been developed for the complete assessment of the energy performance of a prefabricated timber–concrete composite ventilated façade module in different operating conditions. Global numerical results are presented as well as local ones in terms of heat flux, air velocity, and temperature inside the façade cavity. The results show the dependency of envelope efficiency on solar radiation, the benefits that natural convection brings on potential energy savings and the importance of designing an optimized façade geometry. The results concerning the façade behavior have been thoroughly compared with International Standards, showing the good accuracy of the model with respect to these well-known procedures. This comparison allowed also to highlight the International Standards procedures limits in evaluating the ventilated façade behavior with the necessary level of detail, with the risk of leading to design faults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Thermal Envelope - New Trends and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects on Energy Demand in an Office Building Considering Location, Orientation, Façade Design and Internal Heat Gains—A Parametric Study
Energies 2020, 13(23), 6170; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13236170 - 24 Nov 2020
Viewed by 418
Abstract
12.9% of the energy use in the EU originates from the commercial and public sector. It has therefore become a priority to optimize energy efficiency in these buildings. The purpose of this study has been to explore how energy demand in a new [...] Read more.
12.9% of the energy use in the EU originates from the commercial and public sector. It has therefore become a priority to optimize energy efficiency in these buildings. The purpose of this study has been to explore how energy demand in a new office building is affected by different internal heat gains, location, orientation, and façade design, and also to see how different indicators can change perspective on energy efficiency. The study was performed with simulations in IDA-ICE with different façade design and changes in internal heat gains (IHG), orientation, and location. Energy demand was then compared to two different indicators. Using a façade designed to lower solar heat gains had little effect on energy demand in the north of Sweden, but slightly more effect further south. The amount of internal heat gains had significant effect on energy demand. Making deeper studies on design and internal heat gains should therefore be prioritized in the beginning of new building projects so the most energy-efficient design can be chosen. When the indicator kWh/m2 was used, the cases with low internal heat gains were perceived as the most energy efficient, while when kWh/(m2 × hpers) (hpers = hours of use) was used, the cases with high occupancy and low electricity use were considered to be the most energy efficient. Therefore, revising the standardized indicator is of great importance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Thermal Envelope - New Trends and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Patterns of Building Envelope Air Leakage with Infrared Thermography
Energies 2020, 13(14), 3545; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13143545 - 09 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 613
Abstract
The next-generation performance-based building energy codes are focusing on minimizing building envelope air leakage. The quantification of air leakage in buildings is typically performed with a blower door test. However, this test does not provide information about the locations of air leakage. The [...] Read more.
The next-generation performance-based building energy codes are focusing on minimizing building envelope air leakage. The quantification of air leakage in buildings is typically performed with a blower door test. However, this test does not provide information about the locations of air leakage. The aim of this study is to demonstrate a method involving qualitative and quantitative components that can be used to characterize locations of air leakage with infrared thermography. Since air leakage can have a significant impact on building energy consumption in cold climates, like in Canada, this approach can quickly inform where air barrier discontinuities occurred during construction or where to selectively target air sealing efforts in existing buildings. The observations from this study are presented, based on a thermographic image analysis during a depressurized blower door test at various pressures, in an attempt to quantify the relative rates of air leakage. The results from the investigation showed that infrared thermography (IRT) was able to discern locations and infer relative ratios of air leakage. The qualitative analysis showed that areas of air leakage are more evident under higher pressure difference. The quantitative approach showed that a minimum of 25 Pa pressure difference was required to detect the air leakage in the vicinity of the window frame, as the surface temperature decreased rapidly (almost 60% of the indoor surface/outdoor air temperature difference) at this pressure. A temperature index was defined to prioritize the areas of air leakage for retrofitting purposes. Furthermore, a thermal image subtraction method was used to determine the characteristics of the cracks based on thermal patterns. Finally, the practical implication of this study, for building developers, home inspectors, property mangers, and homeowners, is the early detection of air leakage for both existing and newly constructed buildings which could result in energy and cost savings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Thermal Envelope - New Trends and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
An Integrated HBIM Simulation Approach for Energy Retrofit of Historical Buildings Implemented in a Case Study of a Medieval Fortress in Italy
Energies 2020, 13(10), 2601; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13102601 - 20 May 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 848
Abstract
The Italian building stock consists of buildings mainly constructed until the mid-20th century using pre-industrial construction techniques. These buildings require energy refurbishment that takes into account the preservation of their architectural heritage. In this view, this work studies an innovative integrated modelling and [...] Read more.
The Italian building stock consists of buildings mainly constructed until the mid-20th century using pre-industrial construction techniques. These buildings require energy refurbishment that takes into account the preservation of their architectural heritage. In this view, this work studies an innovative integrated modelling and simulation framework consisting of the implementation of Historical Building Information Modeling (HBIM) for the energy retrofit of historical buildings with renewable geothermal HVAC system. To this aim, the field case study is part of a medieval complex in Central Italy (Perugia), as representative ancient rural offshore architecture in the European countryside. The system involves of a ground source heat pump, a water tank for thermal-energy storage connected to a low-temperature radiant system, and an air-handling unit. The building heating energy performance, typically influenced by thermal inertia in historical buildings, when coupled to the novel HVAC system, is comparatively assessed against a traditional scenario implementing a natural-gas boiler, and made inter-operative within the HBIM ad hoc platform. Results show that the innovative renewable energy system provides relevant benefits while preserving minor visual and architectural impact within the historical complex, and also in terms of both energy saving, CO2 emissions offset, and operation costs compared to the traditional existing system. The integrated HBIM approach may effectively drive the path toward regeneration and re-functioning of heritage in Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Thermal Envelope - New Trends and Applications)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Building Façade Retrofit with Solar Passive Technologies: A Literature Review
Energies 2021, 14(6), 1774; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14061774 - 23 Mar 2021
Viewed by 340
Abstract
Worldwide, buildings have been presented as one of the main energy consumers and, for that matter, there is an increased tendency to invest in policies and measures that promote more efficient buildings. Among the chosen strategies, the need to promote the use of [...] Read more.
Worldwide, buildings have been presented as one of the main energy consumers and, for that matter, there is an increased tendency to invest in policies and measures that promote more efficient buildings. Among the chosen strategies, the need to promote the use of passive solutions and retrofit the existing building stock is often pointed out. Portuguese building stock has proven to be obsolete in terms of thermal comfort, which can directly affect the energy demand for climatization purposes. Considering the great solar availability in the country, when compared to other European locations, building retrofit with solar passive technologies can be a suitable solution. This paper aims to review studies on the application of solar passive technologies to retrofit façades in the Mediterranean climate context, with a special focus on Portugal. Four retrofit passive solar technologies were reviewed, namely glazing, sun shading, sunspaces and Trombe wall technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Thermal Envelope - New Trends and Applications)
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