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Special Issue "Energy Efficiency, Socio-Economic and Environmental Sustainability in Buildings and Civil Works"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 October 2019) | Viewed by 9684

Special Issue Editors

Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Kore University of Enna, Cittadella Universitaria, 94100 Enna, Italy
Interests: technologies of thermochemical conversion of residual biomass: pyrolysis, gasification, hydrothermal carbonization, and renewable energy technologies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Energy, University of Palermo, Piazza Marina, 61, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy
Interests: refrigerating engineering; energy and environmental planning; renewable energy; energy saving

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A built environment is a spatial, material, and cultural product of human activities conceived to combine physical elements and energy to support living, working, and playing. It plays multiple key roles in todays’ societies and can be considered as the result of many socioeconomic factors and processes that contribute to determine the way to proceed towards sustainable development.

Despite of this, the built environment is the biggest contributor to emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), accounting for up to 50% of the global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2): buildings with plants contribute some of the largest impacts. This is mainly because of construction activities consuming enormous quantities of raw materials: about 40% of the annual global material use takes place in the building construction sector. Additionally, the energy consumption associated with the life cycle of buildings accounts for around 40% of the global demand. This is reflected on an average basis in the European context, where the energy required for indoor heating represents the main share of the total energy consumed in buildings.

Therefore, there is a need to face today's environmental and socio-economic challenges. To this end, the building sector should be oriented towards solutions that are sustainable in a holistic, integrated approach, whilst enabling reducing consumption of both material and energy in the life cycle of a building.

Therefore, evaluations and considerations of both the energy, environmental, and socio-economic performance of a building and of its connected plants should regard its whole life cycle through the application of internationally recognized methods such as the Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA). This and other related methodologies are very powerful tools to address trade-offs, both between life cycle stages and between different sustainability pillars. In this context, this Special Issue arises with the aim of motivating prominent researchers to investigate the building sector and share their results. This will make it possible to create a reliable and up-to-date picture of the state-of-the-art on LCSA applications of buildings and civil works.

Prof. Dr. Antonio Messineo
Dr. Carlo Ingrao
Dr. Domenico Panno
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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.

Keywords

  • energy efficiency
  • renewable energy
  • life cycle assessment
  • environmental sustainability
  • socio-economic sustainability
  • buildings
  • civil works
  • refrigerating engineering
  • dynamic thermal-energy simulation
  • cooling/heating
  • air conditioning plants
  • smart material
  • sustainable building material
  • continuous hygro-thermal monitoring

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Energy Poverty and Life Satisfaction: Structural Mechanisms and Their Implications
Energies 2019, 12(20), 3988; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12203988 - 20 Oct 2019
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2147
Abstract
This paper investigates the distinct mechanisms through which energy poverty is linked to life satisfaction, via health status and one’s satisfaction with one’s own socioeconomic status, using data from the Life in Transition survey. Our sample contains 19,598 individuals from 11 former communist [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the distinct mechanisms through which energy poverty is linked to life satisfaction, via health status and one’s satisfaction with one’s own socioeconomic status, using data from the Life in Transition survey. Our sample contains 19,598 individuals from 11 former communist states located in Central and Eastern Europe, and two developed countries for comparison. We estimated a partial least squared–path model and found that both health status and socioeconomic status are relevant mediators. Our results also indicate that gender moderates the relation between health status and life satisfaction. Energy poverty has a low contribution to health status but a larger contribution to satisfaction with socioeconomic status, thus indicating that interventions on energy poverty may not greatly improve the level of health, but can have an influence on how people feel about their life. The contribution of our paper is twofold. On the one side, we continue to consolidate the existing link between energy poverty and self-reported health status with a new focus on the Central and Eastern European countries; on another side, we propose a theoretical framework expansion by including totally novel factors to be analyzed in this context: satisfaction with socioeconomic status, economic environment improvement, and intolerance. Full article
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Article
Generic Ontology of Energy Consumption Households
Energies 2019, 12(19), 3712; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12193712 - 28 Sep 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2691
Abstract
The smart concept has changed both household electrical systems (smart home) and the whole electric power system (smart grid). It has facilitated much more efficient electrical energy management. Therefore, there is a need to develop a detailed model and knowledge base at the [...] Read more.
The smart concept has changed both household electrical systems (smart home) and the whole electric power system (smart grid). It has facilitated much more efficient electrical energy management. Therefore, there is a need to develop a detailed model and knowledge base at the micro-system level, which can respond to changes in the electric power system. Extensive knowledge (know-how), large financial outlays, and access to modern technologies are necessary in order to design and build a functional smart grid. The first installations were made in highly developed countries. Currently, a significant proportion of newly built power installations in Europe have the features of a smart grid type. Developing countries, such as Poland, should benefit from the experience of other countries in the process of building modern installations. The article addresses the energy performance of a household and the ontology of a household micro-system, while taking into account the possibility of it being controlled via energy management systems (EMS). Full article
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Article
Performance Analysis of a Combined Solar-Assisted Heat Pump Heating System in Xi’an, China
Energies 2019, 12(13), 2515; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12132515 - 29 Jun 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2507
Abstract
This study proposed a combined solar-assisted heat pump (SAHP) system that could operate in the serial mode or parallel mode. For this proposed system, a stable year-round operation could be achieved without the assistance of electric heating or low-temperature heat pump. By analyzing [...] Read more.
This study proposed a combined solar-assisted heat pump (SAHP) system that could operate in the serial mode or parallel mode. For this proposed system, a stable year-round operation could be achieved without the assistance of electric heating or low-temperature heat pump. By analyzing the heat balance equations, a correlation of the combined SAHP system for the two modes switched was obtained, which provided a theoretical basis for the optimal operation of this system. In addition, the performance of the proposed system applied in a university bathroom in Xi’an district was investigated using TRNSYS. The results illustrated that compared to the serial and parallel systems, the proposed system exhibited a good performance on energy efficiency. The annual average coefficient of performance (COP) of the proposed system was 5.7, obviously higher than those of the serial system and the parallel system, which were 3.3 and 4.3, respectively. Therefore, the results in this study could provide the theoretical guidance and reference for practical engineering design. Full article
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Article
Major Barriers to the New Residential Building Energy-Efficiency Promotion in China: Frontlines’ Perceptions
Energies 2019, 12(6), 1073; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12061073 - 20 Mar 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2061
Abstract
The energy-efficiency promotion of new residential buildings in China has achieved great progress in the past three decades. However, the expected policy outcomes cannot be fully achieved due to the barriers in the policy-making and implementation process. Whereas governments play a critical role [...] Read more.
The energy-efficiency promotion of new residential buildings in China has achieved great progress in the past three decades. However, the expected policy outcomes cannot be fully achieved due to the barriers in the policy-making and implementation process. Whereas governments play a critical role in policy formation, perceptions of stakeholders involved in the building life cycle and the industrial value chain (such as developers, design institutes and relevant material manufactures) are fundamental to the successful implementation. To collect and identify the barriers of significant influence on the industry from stakeholders’ perspectives, this paper used a nationwide institutes’ questionnaire to collect stakeholders’ voices regarding the barriers, the corresponding popularity and the severity. All the barriers were categorized according to institutions’ scorings through cluster analysis. The relationships between barriers were also analyzed according to the framework based on policy cycle and policy environment. Results indicated that the core problem is the ineffectiveness translating energy savings into benefits and profits. Accordingly, three major barriers were identified, namely the (1) unsatisfied policy design and implementation; (2) stakeholders’ lack of implementation capacity in developing and constructing high-performance new residential building projects and adopting relevant technologies; and (3) insufficient legalization of relevant market. Other identified barriers either were those not agreed by all institutions, or those could be eliminated easily after the removal of the above three barriers. Full article
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