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Building Energy and Structural Deep Renovation: Analysis, System and Approach

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 6596

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Construction Technologies Institute, National Research Council of Italy (ITC-CNR), Via Paolo Lembo, 38/B, 70124 Bari, Italy
Interests: sustainable construction; resilience indicators at building and urban level; circular economy; energy efficiency; climate change mitigation and adaptation actions; innovative building components and materials; solutions and technologies for deep energy and structural renovation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate changes and energy emergencies are now two phenomena converging faster and faster in a global crisis that needs to be urgently faced. A relevant counter-action is the deep renovation of existing buildings that allows them, for example, to meet the 2050 decarbonisation target imposed by the European Union. Recently, numerous solutions have been developed concerning technical methods, business models and financing schemes for eco-renovation practices. At the same time, structural weakness is relevant when dealing with outdated building stock, which generally manifests high vulnerability against natural and anthropogenic actions, due to degradation and poor maintenance while new performances meeting resilience and sustainability objective are required. Consequently, the interest in novel materials and techniques for combined retrofitting has grown steadily in recent years aiming to effectively contribute to the goal of safe, resilient and sustainable cities. In order to optimize the costs/benefits ratio when tackling a complex building renovation, it is necessary to integrate the energy efficiency objective with policies and measures aimed at other issues, such as structural safety, functionality, maintenance and durability. Thus, it is of fundamental importance to adopt a holistic approach in renovation of existing building stock, able to evaluate the technological solutions required for the simultaneous improvement of buildings from an architectural, energy and structural point of view, instead of addressing each mentioned issue independently. From this perspective, sustainable design focuses on reducing negative impacts on the environment, and the health and comfort of building occupants, thereby improving building performances from both structural and energy points of view. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste, improve economy and create healthy, productive environments. The waste material reuse should also be considered and challenged in order to support the Circular Economy Plan. To sum up, a sustainable future passes through the sustainability of constructions for a large part. To this aim, the advances in the field are asked to be collected in the proposed Special Issue concerning a spectrum of topics, such as:

  • Sustainability strategy for the improvement of the buildings from the social, economical and technical point of views;
  • New materials for the energy, structural or even combined upgrading of building stock;
  • Market resilience to deep renovations;
  • Sustainable development;
  • Life cycle analysis;
  • Circular economy;
  • Case studies.

In summary, the main objectives of this Special Issue are the following:

  • Improving knowledge on the combined strategy for the energy and structural improvement of existing buildings;
  • Improving the knowledge on the secondary raw materials use in the civil engineering field from the perspective of circular economy;
  • Framing the main critical issues of existing buildings in relation to the expected targets of safety, energy efficiency, durability and maintenance;
  • Developing new market strategies for renovation interventions on buildings;
  • Disseminating scientific knowledge and transferring practical cases to stakeholders on different aspects (design, construction, manufacture, maintenance);
  • Contributing to the development of protocols and guidelines to identify methodologies and tools in order to properly design and predict the improved buildings performances once utilizing the proposed solutions.

Dr. Paola Lassandro
Guest Editor

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

  • renovation
  • circular economy
  • energy efficiency
  • structural safety improvement
  • retrofitting
  • recycled materials
  • green transition
  • climate crisis

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 6179 KiB  
Article
Validating ‘GIS-UBEM’—A Residential Open Data-Driven Urban Building Energy Model
by Javier García-López, Juan José Sendra and Samuel Domínguez-Amarillo
Sustainability 2024, 16(6), 2599; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16062599 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1531
Abstract
The study of energy consumption in buildings, particularly residential ones, brings with it significant socio-economic and environmental implications, as it accounts for approximately 40% of CO2 emissions, 18% in the case of residential buildings, in Europe. On a number of levels, energy [...] Read more.
The study of energy consumption in buildings, particularly residential ones, brings with it significant socio-economic and environmental implications, as it accounts for approximately 40% of CO2 emissions, 18% in the case of residential buildings, in Europe. On a number of levels, energy consumption serves as a key parameter in urban sustainability indicators and energy plans. Access to data on energy consumption is crucial for energy planning, management, knowledge generation, and awareness. Urban Building Energy Models (UBEMs), which are emerging tools for simulating energy consumption at neighborhood scale, allow for more efficient intervention and energy rehabilitation planning. However, UBEM validation requires reliable reference data, which are often challenging to obtain at urban scale due to privacy concerns and data accessibility issues. Recent advances, such as automation and open data utilization, are proving promising in addressing these challenges. This study aims to provide a standardized UBEM validation process by presenting a case study that was carried out utilizing open data to develop bottom-up engineering models of residential energy demand at urban scale, with a resolution level of individual buildings, and a subsequent adjustment and validation using reference tools. This study confirms that the validated GIS-UBEM model heating and cooling demands and consumption fall within the confidence bands of ±15% and ±12.5%, i.e., the confidence bands required for the approval of official alternative simulation methods for energy certification. This paves the way for its application in urban-scale studies and practices with a well-established margin of confidence, covering a wide range of building typologies, construction models, and climates comparable to those considered in the validation process. The primary application of this model is to determine the starting point and subsequent evaluation of improvement scenarios at a district scale, examining issues such as massive energy rehabilitation interventions, energy planning, demand analysis, vulnerability studies, etc. Full article
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28 pages, 11550 KiB  
Article
A Holistic Modular Solution for Energy and Seismic Renovation of Buildings Based on 3D-Printed Thermoplastic Materials
by Lucas Lopes, Luca Penazzato, Daniel C. Reis, Manuela Almeida, Daniel V. Oliveira and Paulo B. Lourenço
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2166; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052166 - 5 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1039
Abstract
This paper introduces a novel modular retrofitting solution to enhance the energy efficiency and seismic resilience of building façades, particularly within the Portuguese context. In the context of Europe’s “Renovation Wave” strategy, and as a product of the nationally funded ZeroSkin+ project, the [...] Read more.
This paper introduces a novel modular retrofitting solution to enhance the energy efficiency and seismic resilience of building façades, particularly within the Portuguese context. In the context of Europe’s “Renovation Wave” strategy, and as a product of the nationally funded ZeroSkin+ project, the proposed renovation solution addresses the urgent need for sustainable building renovations to help mitigate climate change and meet European climate neutrality goals by 2050. Unlike traditional methods that often rely on non-eco-friendly materials without integrating seismic and thermal performances, the renovation solution leverages fused deposition modelling (FDM) 3D printing technology to introduce a dual-layered panel system. This system features a durable, UV-resistant PET-G thermoplastic outer layer and a cork interior to ensure additional thermal insulation. The integrated renovation solution shows a 42% improvement in seismic reinforcement’s out-of-plane capacity and achieves U-values as low as 0.30 W/m2·K, exceeding Portugal’s thermal efficiency standards (0.35 to 0.50 W/m2·K). The proposed renovation solution also embraces circular economy principles, emphasising waste reduction and recyclability. Full article
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31 pages, 10315 KiB  
Article
Facing the Constraints to the Deep Energy Renovation Process of Residential Built Stock in European Markets
by Paola Lassandro, Anna Devitofrancesco, Alice Bellazzi, Alessio Cascardi, Giulia De Aloysio, Luca Laghi and Roberto Malvezzi
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010294 - 28 Dec 2023
Viewed by 719
Abstract
In many countries, depending on climatic conditions and the energy performance of buildings, the built stock is highly energy-consuming and constitutes a main source of greenhouse gas emissions. This is particularly true for Europe, where most of the existing buildings were built before [...] Read more.
In many countries, depending on climatic conditions and the energy performance of buildings, the built stock is highly energy-consuming and constitutes a main source of greenhouse gas emissions. This is particularly true for Europe, where most of the existing buildings were built before 2001. For this reason, EU policies have focused on the Deep Energy Renovation Process of the residential building stock as the mainstream way for its decarbonization strategy by 2050. Based on a broad investigation of seven EU local retrofitting markets carried out within the H2020 re-MODULEES project, this paper defines a holistic methodology for understanding and facing the complexity of the renovation market and its inner constraints. Thanks to systematic surveys and the activation of stakeholders’ core groups (re-LABs), the main market barriers (cultural, social, technical, processual, and financial) were explored. Through a bottom-up clustering approach and vote analysis, a relevance classification of constraints of each pilot market and a detailed scenario of the most relevant market constraints at the European level were provided. This scalable methodology offers the baseline necessary for shaping more effective, cooperative, and tailored-made policies aimed at overcoming the current limitations to the full deployment of the Deep Energy Renovation Process (DERP) across the European markets. Full article
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36 pages, 36469 KiB  
Article
Statistical Building Energy Model from Data Collection, Place-Based Assessment to Sustainable Scenarios for the City of Milan
by Guglielmina Mutani, Maryam Alehasin, Yasemin Usta, Francesco Fiermonte and Angelo Mariano
Sustainability 2023, 15(20), 14921; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152014921 - 16 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1352
Abstract
Building energy modeling plays an important role in analyzing the energy efficiency of the existing building stock, helping in enhancing it by testing possible retrofit scenarios. This work presents an urban scale and place-based approach that utilizes energy performance certificates to develop a [...] Read more.
Building energy modeling plays an important role in analyzing the energy efficiency of the existing building stock, helping in enhancing it by testing possible retrofit scenarios. This work presents an urban scale and place-based approach that utilizes energy performance certificates to develop a statistical energy model. The objective is to describe the energy modeling methodology for evaluating the energy performance of residential buildings in Milan; in addition, a comprehensive reference dataset for input data from available open databases in Italy is provided—a critical step in assessing energy consumption and production at territorial scale. The study employs open-source software QGIS 3.28.8 to model and calculate various energy-related variables for the prediction of space heating, domestic hot water consumptions, and potential solar production. By analyzing demand/supply profiles, the research aims to increase energy self-consumption and self-sufficiency in the urban context using solar technologies. The presented methodology is validated by comparing simulation results with measured data, achieving a Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE) of 5.2%, which is acceptable, especially considering city-scale modeling. The analysis sheds light on key parameters affecting building energy consumption/production, such as type of user, volume, surface-to-volume ratio, construction period, systems’ efficiency, solar exposition and roof area. Additionally, this assessment attempts to evaluate the spatial distribution of energy-use and production within urban environments, contributing to the planning and realization of smart cities. Full article
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22 pages, 6012 KiB  
Article
Predicting the Compressive Strength of Green Concrete at Various Temperature Ranges Using Different Soft Computing Techniques
by Ahmad Khalil Mohammed, A. M. T. Hassan and Ahmed Salih Mohammed
Sustainability 2023, 15(15), 11907; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151511907 - 2 Aug 2023
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1176
Abstract
To overcome the environmental impact of cement production in concrete, the construction industry is adopting eco-friendly approaches, such as incorporating alternative and recycled materials and minimizing carbon emissions in concrete production. One such material that has gained prominence is ground granulated blast furnace [...] Read more.
To overcome the environmental impact of cement production in concrete, the construction industry is adopting eco-friendly approaches, such as incorporating alternative and recycled materials and minimizing carbon emissions in concrete production. One such material that has gained prominence is ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS). This study focuses on investigating the compressive strength of concrete at 28 days of age by examining the influences of several factors, such as temperature, water-to-binder ratio (w/b), GGBFS-to-binder ratio (GGBFS/b), fine aggregate, coarse aggregate, and superplasticizer. A statistical modeling approach was employed to comprehensively analyze these parameters and assess their impact on compressive strength. To accomplish this, the study collected and analyzed data from the literature, resulting in a dataset of 210 observations. The dataset was divided into training and testing groups, and statistical analyses were performed to assess the relationships between the input parameters and compressive strength. The correlation analysis revealed insignificant relationships between the input parameters and compressive strength, indicating that multiple factors affect strength. Different models were employed to predict compressive strength, such as linear regression, nonlinear regression, quadratic, full quadratic models, and artificial neural networks (ANN). The findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of the factors that influence the compressive strength of concrete containing GGBFS. The results underscore the importance of considering multiple parameters to predict strength accurately. Full article
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