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Towards Carbon Neutrality: Recent Advances in Sustainable Building Energy and Thermal System Management

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 April 2024) | Viewed by 3980

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, Aalto University, 02150 Espoo, Finland
Interests: building performance simulation; data center cooling; building energy system retrofits; energy resilient buildings; HVAC systems; renewable energy solutions
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
1. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aalto University, FI-00076 Espoo, Finland
2. College of Urban Construction, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing 210009, China
Interests: energy efficiency of building and nearly-zero energy zone; utilization of digitalization and IoT; indoor climate
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
College of Urban Construction, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing 210009, China
Interests: school building retrofit; optimization of envelope design; HVAC system optimization

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Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aalto University, FI-00076 Espoo, Finland
Interests: indoor climate; airborne transmission; thermal comfort; micro-environment; indoor air quality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Paris Agreement proposed that the rise of average global temperature in the 21st century should be limited to 2 °C above the pre-industrial level, and more efforts should be made to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 °C. The IPCC claimed that in order to achieve the Paris Agreement’s temperature control goals, the world must achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions (namely carbon neutrality) by 2050. More countries and regions around the world have proposed carbon neutrality goals (e.g., 2050 by the UK, New Zealand, and Canada; 2030 by Uruguay; and 2035 by Finland)

Building sectors are responsible for approximately 38% of total global energy consumption, which directly and indirectly cause more than 40% of global carbon emissions. Thus, the building sector plays a significant role in global energy conservation and achieving global carbon neutrality. A sustainable built environment and energy system can improve building occupants’ productivity, health, and wellbeing, and can balance the relationships among occupant’s feelings, environmental impacts, social development, and economic benefits.

This Special Issue is being organized to share the latest understanding, technologies, and methods for realizing carbon neutrality through sustainable building energy and thermal system management, with the goal of creating a highly energy-efficient, low-carbon, and smart energy community. Sustainability calls for papers addressing topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Energy community:
      1. Energy circulation (e.g., waste heat recoveries);
      2. Thermal energy storage;
      3. Renewable energy and heat pumps;
      4. Demand-side management;
      5. Low-temperature heating;
      6. High-temperature cooling.
  • Near-zero-energy buildings:
      1. Optimal design for new buildings;
      2. Retrofit solutions;
      3. Performance analysis and fault diagnosis;
      4. Building performance simulation.
  • Life cycle assessment:
      1. Embodied energy of building material and products;
      2. Tools and methods;
      3. Policies;
      4. Case studies on new buildings and retrofitting.

Dr. Xiaolei Yuan
Dr. Risto Kosonen
Dr. Yizhe Xu
Dr. Weixin Zhao
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. Sustainability 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 2400 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

  • carbon neutrality
  • small energy community
  • near-zero-energy buildings
  • building retrofit
  • life cycle assessment
  • energy flexibility
  • renewable energy
  • building performance simulation
  • energy policies

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 2633 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Energy Yield Analysis of the Rooftop PV System in Climate Conditions of Poland
by Slawomir Gulkowski and Ewelina Krawczak
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3348; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083348 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 632
Abstract
In the past four years, the number of prosumers utilizing photovoltaic (PV) installations in Poland has increased significantly, exceeding 1.3 million, reaching a total power capacity of 10.5 GW by the end of 2023. This paper presents a three-year energy yield analysis of [...] Read more.
In the past four years, the number of prosumers utilizing photovoltaic (PV) installations in Poland has increased significantly, exceeding 1.3 million, reaching a total power capacity of 10.5 GW by the end of 2023. This paper presents a three-year energy yield analysis of the prosumer PV systems operating in Eastern Poland. The 9.6 kW system consists of high-efficiency monocrystalline photovoltaic modules in half-cut technology. Over the three years of operation, specific yields have been analyzed along with weather parameters, such as solar intensity, outdoor temperature, humidity, wind speed, rainfall, or snowfall. The average annual final yield was found to be relatively high, exceeding 1000 kWh·kW−1 in each of the analysed years. The highest monthly specific yields of the analysed period were noticed during the summer, reaching the maximum value of 164 kWh·kW−1 in 2022. The daily final yields varied from a minimum of 0.15 kWh·kW−1 in Winter 2021 to a maximum of 6.8 kWh·kW−1 in Spring 2022. Weather conditions increasing the energy yields, such as low average ambient temperatures together with high insolation periods, were noticed. Energy production in such favorable conditions reached a surprisingly high value of energy yield in April 2020, comparable to the summer months (151.0 kWh·kW−1). The occurrence of heavy rainfall in summer was also noted as a desirable effect that leads to the natural cleaning of the PV modules. The average performance ratio during the analyzed period was found to be 0.85. The energy production of the PV system allowed the reduction of about 21 tons of CO2 emission. Full article
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22 pages, 5321 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Thermal Properties of Buildings in Eastern Almería (Spain) during the Summer in a Mediterranean Climate
by María Paz Sáez-Pérez, Luisa María García Ruiz and Francesco Tajani
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 746; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020746 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 759
Abstract
Within a context in which temperatures are increasing due to global warming, it is important to assess the capacity of buildings, old and modern, to respond to this new situation. Recent studies have highlighted the importance of understanding more about the thermal properties [...] Read more.
Within a context in which temperatures are increasing due to global warming, it is important to assess the capacity of buildings, old and modern, to respond to this new situation. Recent studies have highlighted the importance of understanding more about the thermal properties of traditional constructions. This study quantifies the impact of the high summer temperatures typical of the Mediterranean climate on traditional farmhouses in Eastern Almería (Spain). The study group of farmhouses was divided into three models representative of the different types of Eastern Almería vernacular architecture. Energy consumption in the three models was simulated using EnergyPlus. The three models were assessed in free-floating conditions. The window-to-wall ratio and U-factor values were studied in order to evaluate potential benefits in terms of energy efficiency. Outdoor and indoor temperatures were compared. Finally, an adaptive thermal comfort analysis was performed according to ASHRAE 55. Results highlight the ability of Eastern Almería farmhouses to mitigate extreme temperatures. Full article
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23 pages, 6275 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Short and Long-Term Energy Performance and Decarbonization Potentials between Cogeneration and GSHP Systems under MARKAL Scenarios
by Xiaolei Yuan, Mingya Zhu, Yumin Liang, Mehdi Shahrestani and Risto Kosonen
Sustainability 2023, 15(2), 1604; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15021604 - 13 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1575
Abstract
In response to the call for global carbon peaking and neutrality, this study mainly focuses on the comparison of energy-related carbon emissions and the performance of two promising heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning technologies (a ground source heat pump (GSHP) and cogeneration systems) over [...] Read more.
In response to the call for global carbon peaking and neutrality, this study mainly focuses on the comparison of energy-related carbon emissions and the performance of two promising heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning technologies (a ground source heat pump (GSHP) and cogeneration systems) over both short (2021–2030) and long (2031–2050) periods, considering the UK decarbonization plans. The simulation model of the building with the GSHP system is validated by the actual building heating energy data in 2020 and 2021, with yearly deviations of only 0.4–0.5%. The results show that the cogeneration system performed better than the GSHP system in a scenario when there was no electricity decarbonization plan in the future. However, under all of the MARKet ALlocation (MARKAL) scenarios, the GSHP system performed much better than the cogeneration system in terms of carbon reduction in both periods, which can achieve 47.8–84.4% and maximum 97.5% carbon emission savings in short and long-term periods, respectively, compared with the cogeneration system. Due to the truth that electricity decarbonization plans will be optimized and executed in the future, the GSHP system is more promising and recommended compared with cogeneration system in both short- and long-term periods in terms of only decarbonization potentials (e.g., reducing carbon emission and achieving carbon-related environmental protection). Full article
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