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Special Issue "Recent Developments in Building Physics"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Robert Černý
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Materials Engineering and Chemistry, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
Interests: heat transport; moisture transport; energy; hygric properties; thermal properties
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Jan Kočí
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Materials Engineering and Chemistry, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
Interests: heat transport; moisture transport; computational modeling; energy balance calculations; building energy model
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Building physics is a multidisciplinary science that has been rapidly developing in last few decades. Since buildings have enormous impact on the global environment and both renewable and non-renewable resources, they have come under strict control and regulation in many ways. The most discussed topics in recent times have been the effect of buildings on the global environment, which includes buildings’ energy efficiency, CO2 production, life-cycle assessment, effect on climate change, etc. Additionally, the effect of buildings on human health has been frequently discussed on many levels. With growing technologies and developments in the industrial sector, building physics also comprises new materials, building components, building envelope systems, interactions with building services, smart buildings or grid-connected buildings, and many others.

As a conclusion from all of the above, it is obvious that building physics will remain a very important discipline in the future. It should also appear obvious that researchers need to cooperate not only with experts from adjacent technological areas but also with experts from completely different fields. In order to succeed in making energy-efficient and fail-proof buildings with good indoor environments, more innovations in the building industry will be needed. In this respect, advances in building physics will not be possible without cooperation between the scientific and industrial sectors.

This Special Issue was established in order to face the growing challenges arising from demands in the field of building physics with the goal of enhancing the knowledge base and stimulating an innovative culture in the building sector. Therefore, the Special Issue aims at providing recent developments in any field of building physics, covering a wide range of scientific topics that include but are not limited to the following:

  • Building materials and components;
  • Building envelope systems;
  • Indoor climate and human comfort;
  • Energy performance;
  • Environmental impact and damage assessment;
  • Life-cycle assessment;
  • Retrofit and conservation of buildings.

Prof. Robert Černý
Dr. Jan Kočí
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 2200 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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Editorial

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Editorial
Special Issue “Recent Developments in Building Physics”
Energies 2020, 13(23), 6356; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13236356 - 02 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 386
Abstract
The Special Issue “Recent Developments in Building Physics” was established to provide extended outputs from the 4th Central European Symposium on Building Physics that was held in Prague, Czech Republic, on 2–5 September 2019 [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Building Physics)

Research

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Article
Heat Transport Analysis in Rectangular Shields Using the Laplace and Poisson Equations
Energies 2020, 13(7), 1714; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13071714 - 03 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
In the design of a building envelope, there is the issue of heat flow through the partitions. In the heat flow process, we distinguish steady and dynamic states in which heat fluxes need to be obtained as part of building physics calculations. This [...] Read more.
In the design of a building envelope, there is the issue of heat flow through the partitions. In the heat flow process, we distinguish steady and dynamic states in which heat fluxes need to be obtained as part of building physics calculations. This article describes the issue of determining the size of those heat fluxes. The search for the temperature field in a two-dimensional problem is common in building physics and heat exchange in general. Both numerical and analytical methods can be used to obtain a solution. Two methods were dealt with, the first of which was used to obtain the solution in the steady state and the other in the transient. In the steady state a method of initial functions, the basics of which were given by W.Z. Vlasov and A.Y. Lur’e was adopted. Originally MIF was used for analysis of the loads of a flat elastic medium. Since then it was used for solving concrete beams, plates and composite materials problems. Polynomial half-reverse solutions are used in the theory of a continuous medium. Here solutions were obtained by the direct method. As a result, polynomial forms of the considered temperature field were obtained. A Cartesian coordinate system and rectangular shape of the plate were assumed. The problem is governed by the Laplace equation in the steady state and Poisson in the transient state. Boundary conditions in the form of temperature (τ(x), t(y)) or/and flux (p(x), q(y)) can be provided. In the steady state the solution T(x, y) was assumed in the form of an infinite power series developed in relation to the variable y with coefficients Cn depending on x. The assumed solution was substituted into the Fourier equation and after expanding into the Taylor series the boundary condition for y = 0 and y = h was taken into account. From this condition the coefficient Cn can be calculated and, therefore, a closed solution for the temperature field in the plate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Building Physics)
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Article
Optimization and Assessment of the Protective Shed of the Eastern Wu Tomb
Energies 2020, 13(7), 1652; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13071652 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 693
Abstract
The Eastern Wu tomb in Shangfang Town, Nanjing City is a brick tomb of the Six Dynasties in China, which is very famous for its big scale and complex structure. After being excavated, biodeterioration occurred on the interior wall of the tomb chambers [...] Read more.
The Eastern Wu tomb in Shangfang Town, Nanjing City is a brick tomb of the Six Dynasties in China, which is very famous for its big scale and complex structure. After being excavated, biodeterioration occurred on the interior wall of the tomb chambers due to the fluctuation of environmental factors, which threatens the cultural value of this architectural heritage. Biodeterioration is highly related to the mild temperature and the high humidity in the tomb chamber and condensation on the wall surface. To reduce biodeterioration in the Eastern Wu tomb, environment monitoring was carried out and the effect of the current protective shed on the Eastern Wu tomb was examined. The hygrothermal transfer model of the protective shed was developed to evaluate the effects of the optimization of the protective shed for reducing the condensation on the wall surface. The results show that condensation on the wall surface of the site was reduced by 53% in a year after the functional space utilizing solar energy was added to the protective shed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Building Physics)
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Article
Modelling the Disaggregated Demand for Electricity in Residential Buildings Using Artificial Neural Networks (Deep Learning Approach)
Energies 2020, 13(5), 1263; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13051263 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1104
Abstract
The paper addresses the issue of modelling the demand for electricity in residential buildings with the use of artificial neural networks (ANNs). Real data for six houses in Switzerland fitted with measurement meters was used in the research. Their original frequency of 1 [...] Read more.
The paper addresses the issue of modelling the demand for electricity in residential buildings with the use of artificial neural networks (ANNs). Real data for six houses in Switzerland fitted with measurement meters was used in the research. Their original frequency of 1 Hz (one-second readings) was re-sampled to a frequency of 1/600 Hz, which corresponds to a period of ten minutes. Out-of-sample forecasts verified the ability of ANNs to disaggregate electricity usage for specific applications (electricity receivers). Four categories of electricity consumption were distinguished: (i) fridge, (ii) washing machine, (iii) personal computer, and (iv) freezer. Both standard ANNs with multilayer perceptron architecture and newer types of networks based on deep learning were used. The simulations included over 10,000 ANNs with different architecture (number of neurons and structure of their connections), type and number of input variables, formulas of activation functions, training algorithms, and other parameters. The research confirmed the possibility of using ANNs to model the disaggregation of electricity consumption based on low frequency data, and suggested ways to build highly optimised models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Building Physics)
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Article
The Influence of Insulating Layers on the Acoustic Performance of Lightweight Frame Floors Intended for Use in Residential Buildings
Energies 2020, 13(5), 1217; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13051217 - 06 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 819
Abstract
The acoustic performance of floors plays a primary role in the total quality rating of a residential building. The sound insulation of lightweight frame floors, which are increasingly being used in housing, depends on a number of factors and technical details. In effect, [...] Read more.
The acoustic performance of floors plays a primary role in the total quality rating of a residential building. The sound insulation of lightweight frame floors, which are increasingly being used in housing, depends on a number of factors and technical details. In effect, the sound transmission scheme is distinctly more complicated than in the case of homogeneous massive partitions. The aim of the study was to develop effective insulating layers of lightweight floors intended for use in residential buildings. The floor system should satisfy legal requirements in terms of airborne and impact sound insulation. The research was based on laboratory measurements taken in a standard test facility. Ten different models of wood and metal floors were considered. The acoustic performance of their basic structure was insufficient; however, the application of effective floating floors and suspended ceilings improved it greatly and succeeded in potential meeting requirements and satisfying most inhabitants’ expectations. The results demonstrate how different lightweight floor components influence the acoustic performance of the floor and how the insulating layers cooperate when applied together. The findings will be useful in working on a new floor design and optimizing its structure in terms of acoustics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Building Physics)
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Article
The Effect of Air leakage through the Air Cavities of Building Walls on Mold Growth Risks
Energies 2020, 13(5), 1177; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13051177 - 04 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1143
Abstract
Mold growth poses a high risk to a large number of existing buildings and their users. Air leakage through the air cavities of the building walls, herein gaps between walls and air conditioner pipes penetrating the walls, may increase the risks of interstitial [...] Read more.
Mold growth poses a high risk to a large number of existing buildings and their users. Air leakage through the air cavities of the building walls, herein gaps between walls and air conditioner pipes penetrating the walls, may increase the risks of interstitial condensation, mold growth and other moisture-related problems. In order to quantify the mold growth risks due to air leakage through air cavity, an office room in a historical masonry building in Nanjing, China, was selected, and its indoor environment has been studied. Fungi colonization can be seen on the surface of air conditioner pipes in the interior side near air cavity of the wall. Hygrothermometers and thermocouples logged interior and exterior temperature and relative humidity from June 2018 to January 2020. The measured data show that in summer the outdoor humidity remained much higher than that of the room, while the temperature near the air cavity stays lower than those of the other parts in the room. Hot and humid outdoor air may condense on the cold wall surface near an air cavity. A two-dimensional hygrothermal simulation was made. Air leakage through the air cavities of walls proved to be a crucial factor for mold growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Building Physics)
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Article
Development of Vacuum Insulation Panels with Utilization of Organic By-Products
Energies 2020, 13(5), 1165; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13051165 - 04 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 871
Abstract
The need for the development of new, advanced building materials increases every year, especially due to the necessary diminution of energy performance for building structures and for building production itself (including the production of building materials). Along with the energy performance problems in [...] Read more.
The need for the development of new, advanced building materials increases every year, especially due to the necessary diminution of energy performance for building structures and for building production itself (including the production of building materials). Along with the energy performance problems in construction, the issue of CO2 emission associated with building and the production of building materials is also important. In the field of advanced thermal insulation materials, vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) give the best results. However, their high-energy performance and material consumption present a problem. This work represents an initial part of the development of alternative insulators, based on agricultural and textile industry waste usable in the production of VIP. This article recapitulates basic knowledge regarding key thermal insulation properties of developed insulators and their fire reactions, which impact possible usage in building structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Building Physics)
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Article
Thermal Diffusion in Fibrous Aerogel Blankets
Energies 2020, 13(4), 823; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13040823 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 742
Abstract
Nowadays, the usage of thermal insulation materials is widespread not only in the building sector but also in the vehicle industry. The application of fibrous or loose-fill insulation materials like glass wool or mineral wool as well as aerogel is well known. Aerogel-based [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the usage of thermal insulation materials is widespread not only in the building sector but also in the vehicle industry. The application of fibrous or loose-fill insulation materials like glass wool or mineral wool as well as aerogel is well known. Aerogel-based materials are among the best solid materials for thermal insulation available today; they are prepared through a sol–gel process. For building walls, the glass-fiber-enhanced types are the frequently used ones. They are prepared by adding the liquid–solid solution to the fibrous batting, which is called a sol–gel process. In the present paper, the changes in the most important building physical properties of aerogel blankets after thermal annealing are presented. The samples were subjected to isochronal heat treatments from 70 to 210 °C for 24 h. The changes in the thermal conductivity were followed by Holometrix Lambda heat flow meter, and differential scanning calorimetry results were also recorded. From the measured values, together with the densities, the most important thermal properties were calculated, such as thermal resistance, diffusivity, effusivity (heat absorption), and thermal inertia. In this paper, we attempt to clarify the role played by thermal annealing in the transient thermal properties of aerogel materials. Besides presenting the measurement results, a theoretical background is given. The investigations of not only the steady-state but also the transient thermal parameters of the materials are momentous at the design stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Building Physics)
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Article
Assessment on the Efficiency of an Active Solar Thermal Facade: Study of the Effect of Dynamic Parameters and Experimental Analysis When Coupled/Uncoupled to a Heat Pump
Energies 2020, 13(3), 597; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13030597 - 29 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 829
Abstract
The building sector presents poor performance in terms of energy efficiency and is looking for effective alternatives aimed at reducing the use of fossil fuels. The facade is a key element able to harness renewable energy as an Active Solar Thermal Facade (ASTF). [...] Read more.
The building sector presents poor performance in terms of energy efficiency and is looking for effective alternatives aimed at reducing the use of fossil fuels. The facade is a key element able to harness renewable energy as an Active Solar Thermal Facade (ASTF). The main purpose of this study is the assessment of a novel design concept based on a steel sandwich panel technology. The performance of the active system will be first addressed by a parametric study in order to analyze its behavior and secondly, by describing a real case based on an experimental test by connecting the active panels to a heat pump. The study shows the impact of solar irradiation and mass flow on the thermal jump achieved, while ambient and fluid inlet temperatures are the most influencing parameters in the efficiency of the facade. When coupled to the heat pump, results from a measurement campaign demonstrate a remarkable improvement in the performance of the ASTF. The results presented provide significant proof about the benefits of a synergetic combination of both technologies—solar facades and heat pumps—as efficient alternatives for the building sector, aiming to improve energy efficiency as well as reduce their dependence on non-renewable sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Building Physics)
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Article
A Model of Moist Polymer Foam and a Scheme for the Calculation of Its Thermal Conductivity
Energies 2020, 13(3), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13030520 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 815
Abstract
This paper proposes a method for determining an effective value of the thermal conductivity for moist, highly porous rigid polymer foams. The model of moist foam based on an ordered structure with interpenetrating components was developed in accordance with the moisture distribution in [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a method for determining an effective value of the thermal conductivity for moist, highly porous rigid polymer foams. The model of moist foam based on an ordered structure with interpenetrating components was developed in accordance with the moisture distribution in the pore space. With small moisture content, isolated water inclusions are formed, and the pore space is considered as a binary system (vapor-gas mixture and water) with isolated inclusions. With an increase in moisture content, isolated water inclusions merge, forming a continuous layer, and pore space is considered as a binary system of interpenetrating components. The thermal conductivity of the vapor-gas mixture is represented as the sum of the thermal conductivity of the dry gas and the thermal conductivity of the vapor caused by the diffusion transfer of vapor in the pore space, taking into account the coefficient of vapor diffusion resistance. Using the proposed scheme of calculation, a computational experiment was performed to establish the influence of the vapor diffusion, moisture content, and average temperature of the foam on its thermal conductivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Building Physics)
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Article
Computational Prediction of Susceptibility to Biofilms Growth: Two-Dimensional Analysis of Critical Construction Details
Energies 2020, 13(2), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13020293 - 07 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 729
Abstract
Retrofitting of historical and traditional buildings is an effective thermal protection measure. The presence of thermal insulation in the composition of building envelopes might, however, bring some shortages due to a decrease of exterior surface temperatures or possible water vapor condensation. These shortages [...] Read more.
Retrofitting of historical and traditional buildings is an effective thermal protection measure. The presence of thermal insulation in the composition of building envelopes might, however, bring some shortages due to a decrease of exterior surface temperatures or possible water vapor condensation. These shortages can improve living conditions for various microorganisms on the exterior surfaces, especially in the case of interior thermal insulation systems that are typical with thermal bridges and thus supply the surface with heat to a greater extent. This paper, therefore, aims at the investigation of hygrothermal conditions in selected critical construction details and evaluates the results from the point of view of potential biofilms growth. Two-dimensional modeling of coupled heat and moisture is applied and the hygrothermal patterns are evaluated based on an adjusted isopleth growth model. The results showed that the duration of favorable conditions for biofilms growth is relatively low, accounting for less than 180 h in the worst-case scenario. It means the exterior surfaces of historical buildings provided with interior thermal insulation systems are not threatened by biofilms growth. Anyway, other negative aspects have been revealed that should be treated individually. Possible wood decay or increased hygrothermal straining are the typical examples in that respect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Building Physics)
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