Special Issue "Thermal Behavior and Energy Efficiency of Buildings"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Nelson Soares
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Coimbra, 3000 Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: phase change materials (PCM); passive thermal energy storage systems; building physics; thermal behavior and energy efficiency of buildings; dynamic simulation of energy in buildings; heat transfer; LSF construction; sustainable construction; sustainability
Dr. Luisa Dias Pereira
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Architettura>Energia Research Centre, Department of Architecture, University of Ferrara, 44100 Ferrara, Italy
Interests: preventive conservation and energy efficiency in buildings; thermal comfort and indoor air quality; indoor microclimate; historic buildings and cultural heritage

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue calls for cutting-edge papers covering aspects of science and technology concerned with the whole life cycle of new and/or existing buildings, which contribute to a transition to a more sustainable built environment. The shortage of some non-renewable energy sources and the noticeable climate changes caused by greenhouse gas emissions are currently a major global concern that calls for the reduction of energy consumption in buildings during the several stages of their lifetime; energy efficiency improvement to guarantee thermal comfort expectations; mitigation of environmental impacts from the early design phase through to construction, operation, maintenance, and end-of-life; search for alternatives to conventional materials, processes, and systems; need for innovation in construction technology; improvement of use of technologies based on renewable energy sources; development of new design approaches; widespread use of validated modeling tools and optimization approaches; and finally, development of transdisciplinary engineering and multidisciplinary studies to evaluate the thermal performance and energy efficiency of buildings during their life span. 

Authors are encouraged to publish their original theoretical and/or experimental research on technology development, improvement, and integration along with system analysis, environmental issues, thermal performance, and energy assessment. Interdisciplinary studies and papers that incorporate more than one topic or more than one methodology (e.g., experimental, modeling, analysis, and optimization) are encouraged. Review papers are also welcomed. This Special Issue’s topics include but are not limited to:

  • Assessment of the thermal behavior and energy efficiency of buildings;
  • Advances in construction technology towards a low carbon built environment;
  • Resilience and adaptation of buildings to climate changes;
  • Thermal comfort and indoor environmental quality;
  • Thermal performance of historical and cultural heritage buildings;
  • Building energy audits, rehabilitation, retrofitting, and refurbishment;
  • Building certification, energy, and environmental labels and declarations;
  • Transition towards a circular economy in the buildings sector;
  • Education for sustainable construction;
  • Transdisciplinary engineering, multidisciplinary studies, and holistic approaches;
  • Advances in building envelope solutions;
  • Advances in building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV);
  • Advances in ground-coupled heat exchangers;
  • Advances in heat, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems;
  • Advances in nearly zero energy buildings and passive houses;
  • Environmental impacts and life cycle assessment (LCA);
  • Potential of building information modeling (BIM) for sustainable construction.
Dr. Nelson Soares
Dr. Luisa Dias Pereira
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. 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 1900 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 physics
  • thermal behavior
  • thermal comfort
  • indoor environmental quality
  • energy efficiency
  • building envelope
  • eco-design
  • sustainable construction
  • sustainable materials and technologies
  • thermal energy storage systems
  • HVAC systems
  • heritage buildings and conservation measures
  • dynamic simulation tools and methodologies
  • multidimensional optimization
  • multi-objective optimization
  • life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • life cycle costs assessment (LCC)
  • building information modeling (BIM)
  • retrofitting and refurbishment
  • adaptation to climate changes
  • low carbon built environment
  • circular economy
  • sustainability

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Importance of Stud Flanges Size and Shape on the Thermal Performance of Lightweight Steel Framed Walls
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3970; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073970 - 02 Apr 2021
Viewed by 291
Abstract
Energy production still relies considerably on fossil fuels, and the building sector is a major player in the energy consumption market, mainly for space heating and cooling. Thermal bridges (TBs) in buildings are very relevant for the energy efficiency of buildings and may [...] Read more.
Energy production still relies considerably on fossil fuels, and the building sector is a major player in the energy consumption market, mainly for space heating and cooling. Thermal bridges (TBs) in buildings are very relevant for the energy efficiency of buildings and may have an impact on heating energy needs of up to 30%. Given the high thermal conductivity of steel, the relevance of TBs in lightweight steel framed (LSF) components could be even greater. No research was found in the literature for evaluating how important the size and shape of steel studs are on the thermal performance of LSF building elements, which is the main objective of this work. This assessment is performed for the internal partitions and exterior façade of load-bearing LSF walls. The accuracy of the numerical model used in the simulations was verified and validated by comparison experimental measurements. Three reference steel studs were considered, six stud flange lengths and four steel thicknesses were evaluated, and five flange indentation sizes and four indent filling materials were assessed, corresponding to a total of 246 modelled LSF walls. It was concluded that the R-value decreases when the flange length and the steel studs’ thickness increases, being that these variations are more significant for bigger flange sizes and for thicker steel studs. Additionally, it was found that a small indentation size (2.5 or 5 mm) is enough to provide a significant R-value increase and that it is preferable not to use any flange indentation filling material rather than using a poor performance one (recycled rubber). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermal Behavior and Energy Efficiency of Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Improvement of the Performance Balance between Thermal Comfort and Energy Use for a Building Space in the Mid-Spring Season
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9667; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229667 - 19 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 405
Abstract
In thermal controls in buildings, recent statistical and data-driven approaches to optimize supply air conditions have been examined in association with several types of building spaces and patterns of energy consumption. However, many strategies may have some problems where high-control precision may increase [...] Read more.
In thermal controls in buildings, recent statistical and data-driven approaches to optimize supply air conditions have been examined in association with several types of building spaces and patterns of energy consumption. However, many strategies may have some problems where high-control precision may increase energy use, or low energy use in systems may decrease indoor thermal quality. This study investigates a neural network algorithm with an adaptive model on how to control the supply air conditions reflecting learned data. During the process, the adaptive model complements the signals from the network to independently maintain the comfort level within setting ranges. Although the proposed model effectively optimizes energy consumption and supply air conditions, it achieves quite improved comfort levels about 14% more efficient than comparison models. Consequently, it is confirmed that a network and learning algorithm equipped with an adaptive controller properly responds to users’ comfort levels and system’s energy consumption in a single space. The improved performance in space levels can be significant in places where many spaces are systematically connected, and in places which require a high consistency of indoor thermal comfort. Another advantage of the proposed model is that it properly reduces an increase in energy consumption despite an intensive strategy is utilized to improve thermal comfort. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermal Behavior and Energy Efficiency of Buildings)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Up-To-Date Challenges for the Conservation, Rehabilitation and Energy Retrofitting of Higher Education Cultural Heritage Buildings
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2061; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042061 - 14 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 560
Abstract
In higher-education world heritage sites, the conservation and energy retrofitting of heritage buildings (HBs) is an important vector for their development, competitiveness and welfare. To guarantee their ongoing use, these buildings must be adapted to face current and emerging societal challenges: (i) the [...] Read more.
In higher-education world heritage sites, the conservation and energy retrofitting of heritage buildings (HBs) is an important vector for their development, competitiveness and welfare. To guarantee their ongoing use, these buildings must be adapted to face current and emerging societal challenges: (i) the conservation of cultural heritage and the maintenance of their original characteristics and identity; (ii) the transformation of heritage sites into tourist centers that energize the local economy, generating revenue and jobs; (iii) the adaptation of the buildings to new uses and functions that demand energy retrofitting strategies to satisfy today’s standards of thermal comfort, indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and energy efficiency; (iv) tackling impacts of climate change, particularly global warming and extreme weather events; and finally, (v) the implementation of strategies to mitigate the impact of a growing number of tourists. The combined implications of these challenges require a comprehensive approach with interrelated measures strongly reliant on the use of technology and innovation. This work aims to discuss how higher-education cultural HBs can be rethought to serve these expectations. Moreover, a multidisciplinary intervention framework is provided to discuss how HBs can respond to the challenges and risks of rehabilitation, energy retrofitting, climate change and increasing tourism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermal Behavior and Energy Efficiency of Buildings)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Planned Paper 1:

Author: Professor Romeu Da Silva Vicente from University of Aveiro, Portugal

Preliminary title: Holistic approach on social housing neighbourhood: hygrothermal, airtightness and energy consumption assessment

Short Abstract: The energy efficiency improvements in existing building stock have become the priority concerns for the European Union, to encourage the energy efficiency amongst the social building managers and residents. The characterisation of the building stock plays an important role in the definition of energy building renovation strategies, followed by the user’s behaviour analysis. This paper will focus on a social housing neighbourhood as a case study, aiming a reliable perception of the air permeability and consumption consequences’ of users’ actions. The hygrothermal monitoring campaign carried out encloses the use of thermo-hygrometer sensors to record the indoor air temperature and relative humidity of a large number of flats over a 12-month period and the airtightness of these flats was estimated by resourcing to the fan pressurisation testing (Blower Door test). A relationship between users’ modifications in the flats and the air permeability is pursued. The hygrothermal monitoring campaign was carried out in order to assess the indoor thermal comfort according the ASHRAE 55 standard. The first results show a significant discomfort rate for all flats, suggesting that the users are living in unhealthy environmental conditions. In addition, a data survey of energy, gas and water consumption of the flats under study were collected and a statistical analysis of data using clustering techniques is to be performed.

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