Special Issue "Trends in Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Science and Engineering".

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

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Víctor Yepes
Website
Guest Editor
Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain
Interests: multiobjective optimization; life cycle assessment; multicriteria decision-making; sustainability
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Ignacio J. Navarro Martínez

Guest Editor
Department of Construction Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain
Interests: multicriteria decision making; reliability-based maintenance optimization; sustainability of infrastructures; social impacts of infrastructures

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The recently established Sustainable Development Goals call for a paradigm shift in the way buildings and infrastructures are conceived. The construction industry is a main source of environmental impacts, given its great material consumption and energy demands. It is also a major contributor to the economic growth of regions through the provision of useful infrastructure and generation of employment, among others. Conventional approaches underlying current building design practices fall short of covering the relevant environmental and social implications derived from inappropriate design, construction, and planning. The development of adequate sustainable design strategies is therefore becoming extremely relevant with regard to the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Agenda Goals for Sustainable Development.

This Special Issue aims to increase knowledge on sustainable design practices by highlighting the actual research trends that explore efficient ways to reduce the environmental consequences related to the construction industry while promoting social wellbeing and economic development. These objectives include but are not limited to:

  • Life-cycle-oriented building and infrastructure design;
  • Design optimization based on sustainable criteria;
  • Maintenance design towards sustainability;
  • Inclusion of social impacts in the design of buildings and infrastructures;
  • Resilience and sustainability;
  • Use of sustainable materials;
  • Decision-making processes that effectively integrate economic, environmental, and social aspects.

Papers selected for this Special Issue will be subject to a rigorous peer-review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications.

Dr. Víctor Yepes
Dr. Ignacio J. Navarro Martínez
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. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 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 2300 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

  • Sustainable design and construction
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Sustainability in decision making
  • Green buildings
  • Sustainable maintenance
  • Resilient structures
  • Sustainable materials
  • Social life cycle assessment
  • Sustainable management of infrastructures
  • Multiobjective optimization for sustainable development

Published Papers (11 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Dynamics of China’s Green Building Policy Development from 1986 to 2019
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010196 - 29 Dec 2020
Abstract
China has enacted numerous green building policies (GBPs) to promote green building (GB) development in the past decades. Investigating the evolution characteristics of China’s GBPs is significant for the future optimization of the GBP system. However, few studies on this topic have been [...] Read more.
China has enacted numerous green building policies (GBPs) to promote green building (GB) development in the past decades. Investigating the evolution characteristics of China’s GBPs is significant for the future optimization of the GBP system. However, few studies on this topic have been conducted. To bridge this research gap, this paper adopted the methods of bibliometric analysis and text mining to probe the dynamic evolution of the GBPs in China. Firstly, a total 199 collected policies from 1986 to 2019 were grouped into five stages according to the Five-Year Plan. Then, the topics emphasized in different stages and the cooperative relationships among policymaking agencies were discovered by mapping and visualizing the co-word network and co-author network. Based on the derived results, an in-depth discussion was further conducted from five aspects: targets, objects, instruments, GB performance indicators, and the collaboration structure of policymaking agencies. It was revealed that the topics of GBPs evolved from macro to specific, and the types of policy targets, objects, instruments, and GB performance indicators evolved from few to multiple. Additionally, the collaboration structure of policymaking agencies went from dispersive to centralized. This study sheds lights on the dynamic evolution of China’s GBPs and provides valuable references for other countries in need. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Environmental, Economic and Social Impact Assessment: Study of Bridges in China’s Five Major Economic Regions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010122 - 26 Dec 2020
Abstract
The construction industry of all countries in the world is facing the issue of sustainable development. How to make effective and accurate decision-making on the three pillars (Environment; Economy; Social influence) is the key factor. This manuscript is based on an accurate evaluation [...] Read more.
The construction industry of all countries in the world is facing the issue of sustainable development. How to make effective and accurate decision-making on the three pillars (Environment; Economy; Social influence) is the key factor. This manuscript is based on an accurate evaluation framework and theoretical modelling. Through a comprehensive evaluation of six cable-stayed highway bridges in the entire life cycle of five provinces in China (from cradle to grave), the research shows that life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), life cycle cost assessment (LCCA), and social impact life assessment (SILA) are under the influence of multi-factor change decisions. The manuscript focused on the analysis of the natural environment over 100 years, material replacement, waste recycling, traffic density, casualty costs, community benefits and other key factors. Based on the analysis data, the close connection between high pollution levels and high cost in the maintenance stage was deeply promoted, an innovative comprehensive evaluation discrete mathematical decision-making model was established, and a reasonable interval between gross domestic product (GDP) and sustainable development was determined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
An Indicator System for Evaluating Operation and Maintenance Management of Mega Infrastructure Projects in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9589; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249589 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Mega infrastructure projects provide a basic guarantee for social development, economic construction, and livelihood improvement. Their operation and maintenance (O&M) management are of great significance for the smooth operation and the realization of the value created by the projects. In order to provide [...] Read more.
Mega infrastructure projects provide a basic guarantee for social development, economic construction, and livelihood improvement. Their operation and maintenance (O&M) management are of great significance for the smooth operation and the realization of the value created by the projects. In order to provide an approach for effectively evaluating O&M management, this study develops a holistic indicator system using a mixed-review method from the national macro perspective in China. In this study, literature analysis, policy texts, expert interviews, and grounded theory were used to collect relevant data at home and abroad, and establish an initial evaluation indicator system with 23 indicators covering two dimensions and five aspects. Then the questionnaire survey and factor analysis were used to score and categorize the indicators, and finally an evaluation indicator system for O&M management of mega infrastructure projects was formed. The results show that social relations, environmental benefits, macro policy, and operational capacities play an important role in the evaluation of the O&M of mega infrastructure projects. This study helps the management team to avoid negative impacts in the O&M management of mega infrastructure projects and lays a theoretical foundation for future research. The indicator system in this study is based on the Chinese context, and it remains to be verified whether the indicator system is applicable to other countries due to the differences in political and cultural backgrounds in different regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A New Methodology to Design Sustainable Archimedean Screw Turbines as Green Energy Generators
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9236; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249236 - 10 Dec 2020
Abstract
Current energy demand and climate target plans are leading to green energy facilities which are efficient and sustainable. Archimedean screw turbines (ASTs) are used to generate hydroelectricity in low heads. They have been manufactured and installed worldwide. However, there is a lack of [...] Read more.
Current energy demand and climate target plans are leading to green energy facilities which are efficient and sustainable. Archimedean screw turbines (ASTs) are used to generate hydroelectricity in low heads. They have been manufactured and installed worldwide. However, there is a lack of knowledge about how to design them efficiently. In this study, the performance of ASTs is analyzed using an analogy between ASTs and bucket elevators. Based on this analogy, a theoretical hypothesis on how to produce efficient ASTs is proposed. The new methodology for the design of ASTs is based on two considerations: the filling level of the AST buckets must be 85% and the increase of leakage losses must be minimized. This hypothesis is numerically and experimentally studied. Two experimental prototypes were developed and installed in the north of Spain. The numerical and experimental results are provided. A discussion comparing the results of this work and other results from the literature is presented. Finally, conclusions are drawn from this work that contribute to the improvement of AST technology as a sustainable facility to generate green energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Exploring Environmentally Friendly Biopolymer Material Effect on Soil Tensile and Compressive Behavior
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 9032; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17239032 - 03 Dec 2020
Abstract
The study of the high-performance of biopolymers and current eco-friendly have recently emerged. However, the micro-behavior and underlying mechanisms during the test are still unclear. In this study, we conducted experimental and numerical tests in parallel to investigate the impact of different xanthan [...] Read more.
The study of the high-performance of biopolymers and current eco-friendly have recently emerged. However, the micro-behavior and underlying mechanisms during the test are still unclear. In this study, we conducted experimental and numerical tests in parallel to investigate the impact of different xanthan gum biopolymer contents sand. Then, a numerical simulation of the direct tensile test under different tensile positions was carried out. The micro-characteristics of the biopolymer-treated sand were captured and analyzed by numerical simulations. The results indicate that the biopolymer can substantially increase the uniaxial compressive strength and tensile strength of the soil. The analysis of the microparameters demonstrates the increase in the contact bond parameter values with different biopolymer contents, and stronger bonding strength is provided with a higher biopolymer content from the microscale. The contact force and crack development during the test were visualized in the paper. In addition, a regression model for predicting the direct tensile strength under different tensile positions was established. The numerical simulation results explained the mechanical and fracture behavior of xanthan gum biopolymer stabilized sand under uniaxial compression, which provides a better understanding of the biopolymer strengthening effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Techno-Cultural Factors Affecting Policy Decision-Making: A Social Network Analysis of South Korea’s Local Spatial Planning Policy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8746; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17238746 - 25 Nov 2020
Abstract
Increasing interest in various local construction forms necessitate examining its link to human life. Construction culture should be adapted and applied to the contemporary context to create a harmonious coexistence with diverse local cultures and to strengthen regional sustainability, avoiding the rigid, one-dimensional [...] Read more.
Increasing interest in various local construction forms necessitate examining its link to human life. Construction culture should be adapted and applied to the contemporary context to create a harmonious coexistence with diverse local cultures and to strengthen regional sustainability, avoiding the rigid, one-dimensional local construction development. Thus, this study aims to analyze the factors of influence needed for policy decision-making at the local spatial planning stage, with regional technologies and cultural contents from a convergent perspective taken into consideration. This study derived tangible and intangible policy decision-making factors during the spatial planning stage using text mining analysis. Additionally, social network analysis was also used to seek multi-angle correlations among factors. Through big data analytics, 16 key decision-making contents in the spatial planning stage were derived, with ‘regional development, urban policy’ as most influential. Such a result indicates the need for regional and urban policy engagement with strategic development from a holistic perspective—in view of socio-cultural relations and forms of change—and local perceptions of spatial value and significance affecting decision-making in the local spatial planning stage (LSPS). Understanding the decision-making process in the spatial planning stage requires a holistic approach with both visible technological factors (structure, form, and construction method) and invisible cultural factors (ways of life projected during space formation, zeitgeist, religion, learning, and art) included. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Life Cycle Sustainability Performance Assessment Method for Comparison of Civil Engineering Works Design Concepts: Case Study of a Bridge
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217909 - 28 Oct 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Standardized and transparent life cycle sustainability performance assessment methods are essential for improving the sustainability of civil engineering works. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the potential of using a life cycle sustainability assessment method in a road bridge case study. [...] Read more.
Standardized and transparent life cycle sustainability performance assessment methods are essential for improving the sustainability of civil engineering works. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the potential of using a life cycle sustainability assessment method in a road bridge case study. The method is in line with requirements of relevant standards, uses life cycle assessment, life cycle costs and incomes, and environmental externalities, and applies normalization and weighting of indicators. The case study involves a short-span bridge in a design-build infrastructure project, which was selected for its generality. Two bridge design concepts are assessed and compared: a concrete slab frame bridge and a soil-steel composite bridge. Data available in the contractor’s tender phase are used. The two primary aims of this study are (1) to analyse the practical application potential of the method in carrying out transparent sustainability assessments of design concepts in the early planning and design stages, and (2) to examine the results obtained in the case study to identify indicators in different life cycle stages and elements of the civil engineering works project with the largest impacts on sustainability. The results show that the method facilitates comparisons of the life cycle sustainability performance of design concepts at the indicator and construction element levels, enabling better-informed and more impartial design decisions to be made. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Bridge Carbon Emissions and Driving Factors Based on a Life-Cycle Assessment Case Study: Cable-Stayed Bridge over Hun He River in Liaoning, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5953; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165953 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Due to the rapid growth of the construction industry’s global environmental impact, especially the environmental impact contribution of bridge structures, it is necessary to study the detailed environmental impact of bridges at each stage of the full life cycle, which can provide optimal [...] Read more.
Due to the rapid growth of the construction industry’s global environmental impact, especially the environmental impact contribution of bridge structures, it is necessary to study the detailed environmental impact of bridges at each stage of the full life cycle, which can provide optimal data support for sustainable development analysis. In this work, the environmental impact case of a three-tower cable-stayed bridge was analyzed through openLCA software, and more than 23,680 groups of data were analyzed using Markov chain and other research methods. It was concluded that the cable-stayed bridge contributed the most to the global warming potential value, which was mainly concentrated in the operation and maintenance phases. The conclusion shows that controlling the exhaust pollution of passing vehicles and improving the durability of building materials were the key to reducing carbon contribution and are also important directions for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Proposal of Sustainability Indicators for the Design of Small-Span Bridges
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4488; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124488 - 22 Jun 2020
Abstract
The application of techniques to analyze sustainability in the life cycle of small-span bridge superstructures is presented in this work. The objective was to obtain environmental and economic indicators for integration into the decision-making process to minimize the environmental impact, reduce resource consumption [...] Read more.
The application of techniques to analyze sustainability in the life cycle of small-span bridge superstructures is presented in this work. The objective was to obtain environmental and economic indicators for integration into the decision-making process to minimize the environmental impact, reduce resource consumption and minimize life cycle costs. Twenty-seven configurations of small-span bridges (6 to 20 m) of the following types were analyzed: steel–concrete composite bridges, cast in situ reinforced concrete bridges, precast bridges and prestressed concrete bridges, comprising a total of 405 structures. Environmental impacts and costs were quantified via life cycle environmental assessment and life cycle cost analysis following the boundaries of systems from the extraction of materials to the end of bridge life (“from cradle to grave”). In general, the results indicated that the environmental performance of the bridges was significantly linked to the material selection and bridge configuration. In addition, the study enabled the identification of the products and processes with the greatest impact in order to subsidize the design of more sustainable structures and government policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Customized ViNeRS Method for Video Neuro-Advertising of Green Housing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2244; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072244 - 27 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The implementation of advertising for green housing usually involves consideration of individual differences among potential buyers, their desires for residential unit features as well as location impacts on a selected property. Much more rarely, there is consideration of the arousal and valence, affective [...] Read more.
The implementation of advertising for green housing usually involves consideration of individual differences among potential buyers, their desires for residential unit features as well as location impacts on a selected property. Much more rarely, there is consideration of the arousal and valence, affective behavior, emotional, and physiological states of possible buyers of green housing (AVABEPS) while they review the advertising. Yet, no integrated consideration of all these factors has been undertaken to date. The objective of this study was to consider, in an integrated manner, the AVABEPS, individual differences, and location impacts on property and desired residential unit features. During this research, the applications for the above data involved neuromarketing and multicriteria examination of video advertisements for diverse client segments by applying neuro decision tables. All of this can be performed by employing the method for planning and analyzing and by multiple criteria and customized video neuro-advertising green-housing variants (hereafter abbreviated as the ViNeRS Method), which the authors of this article have developed and present herein. The developed ViNeRS Method permits a compilation of as many as millions of alternative advertising variants. During the time of the ViNeRS project, we accumulated more than 350 million depersonalized AVABEPS data. The strong and average correlations determined in this research (over 35,000) and data examination by IBM SPSS tool support demonstrate the need to use AVABEPS in neuromarketing and neuro decision tables. The obtained dependencies constituted the basis for calculating and graphically submitting the ViNeRS circumplex model of affect, which the authors of this article developed. This model is similar to Russell’s well-known earlier circumplex model of affect. Real case studies with their related contextual conditions presented in this manuscript show a practical application of the ViNeRS Method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Enhancing Sustainability and Resilience through Multi-Level Infrastructure Planning
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 962; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030962 - 04 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Resilient planning demands not only resilient actions, but also resilient implementation, which promotes adaptive capacity for the attainment of the planned objectives. This requires, in the case of multi-level infrastructure systems, the simultaneous pursuit of bottom-up infrastructure planning for the promotion of adaptive [...] Read more.
Resilient planning demands not only resilient actions, but also resilient implementation, which promotes adaptive capacity for the attainment of the planned objectives. This requires, in the case of multi-level infrastructure systems, the simultaneous pursuit of bottom-up infrastructure planning for the promotion of adaptive capacity, and of top-down approaches for the achievement of global objectives and the reduction of structural vulnerabilities and imbalances. Though several authors have pointed out the need to balance bottom-up flexibility with top-down hierarchical control for better plan implementation, very few methods have yet been developed with this aim, least of all with a multi-objective perspective. This work addressed this lack by including, for the first time, the mitigation of urban vulnerability, the improvement of road network condition, and the minimization of the economic cost as objectives in a resilient planning process in which both actions and their implementation are planned for a controlled, sustainable development. Building on Urban planning support system (UPSS), a previously developed planning tool, the improved planning support system affords a planning alternative over the Spanish road network, with the best multi-objective balance between optimization, risk, and opportunity. The planning process then formalizes local adaptive capacity as the capacity to vary the selected planning alternative within certain limits, and global risk control as the duties that should be achieved in exchange. Finally, by means of multi-objective optimization, the method reveals the multi-objective trade-offs between local opportunity, global risk, and rights and duties at local scale, thus providing deeper understanding for better informed decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop