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Optimization and Evaluation of Climate Responsive Design Solutions for Buildings and Cities

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2023) | Viewed by 14317

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Architecture, University of Bologna, 40136 Bologna, Italy
Interests: high performing building envelopes; energy efficiency; analysis of construction and operating energy; adaptation and climate responsive strategies; LCA and service life of buildings and components; innovation and smart buildings; smart districts and smart cities
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
School of Architecture and Cities, University of Westminster, London W1B, UK
Interests: environmental design; natural ventilation and passive cooling; innovative natural cooling methods; sustainability in architecture
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia | LNEG, Estr. da Portela 999, Amadora, Portugal
Interests: energy efficiency; positive energy districts; positive energy buildings; energy communities; sustainable development
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The ever-increasing evidence of climate change impact on the built environment and the recent IPCC projections call for effective and innovative design approaches to concretely tackle the most urgent challenges and particularly those dealing with the use of water and resources while supporting the energy transition in time of unprecedented uncertainty. The launch of the EU Recovery Plan represents an urgent claim for a global reaction and for more comprehensive solutions able to consider the complexity of strongly interrelated phenomena.

Climate Responsive Design represents the combination of several approaches and strategies to make buildings and cities able to respond to contemporary challenges optimizing their systems, configuration and operation according to variable and sometimes extreme context conditions.

This Special Issue of Sustainability is aimed at collecting scientific contributions on climate responsive solutions focusing on adaptive capacity, energy efficiency and environmental quality carefully considering technical, social, economic implications.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but not limited to) the following:

  • Climate Adaptive Building solutions
  • Mitigation and adaptation actions at urban scale
  • New technologies and approaches serving the resilience and adaptation capacity of cities
  • Positive Energy Buildings and Districts
  • Evaluation and simulation tools for climate-responsive buildings
  • Predictive and/or operative frameworks for climate resilient cities
  • User centered design approaches to improve built environment livability

Case study discussions, as well as simulation or theoretical research, are encouraged.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Jacopo Gaspari
Dr. Rosa Schiano-Phan
Dr. Laura Aelenei
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

  • climate responsive design
  • Energy Efficiency
  • climate change
  • adaptation
  • mitigation
  • optimized design
  • sustainability
  • sustainable buildings
  • resilient cities

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 3706 KiB  
Article
Sun-Shading Sails in Courtyards: An Italian Case Study with RayMan
by Kristian Fabbri, Ernesto Antonini and Lia Marchi
Sustainability 2023, 15(17), 13033; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151713033 - 29 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1143
Abstract
Forecasts of a drastic increase in temperatures in the coming decades are driving the adoption of design strategies and solutions to improve the livability of urban environments. Increasing attention is being paid to the thermal comfort of open spaces by both designers and [...] Read more.
Forecasts of a drastic increase in temperatures in the coming decades are driving the adoption of design strategies and solutions to improve the livability of urban environments. Increasing attention is being paid to the thermal comfort of open spaces by both designers and researchers. Nature-based solutions and man-made devices to improve the comfort of outdoor spaces during summer are spreading, but effective, easy simulation and design support tools for this purpose are still lacking, as most of the available software such as ENVI-met or RayMan cannot model such devices. As Physiological Equivalent Temperature (PET) is one of the most relevant and comprehensive indicators of Outdoor Thermal Comfort (OTC), this study aims to investigate PET variations of different artificial shading systems and propose a simplified methodology for assessing them through analytical simulations with RayMan software. When modeling the shading elements, the trick adopted for this purpose is to associate different cloud densities with the shading provided by the screens, thus overcoming a gap that affects the software. The procedure is digitally tested in a covered courtyard case study in Bologna (Italy). Diverse options proposed by the designers for textile screening materials have been compared, showing that these reduce by at least 1 °C the PET-gauged thermal stress. Beyond specific results, the main outcome of this study is the procedure developed to simulate sun-shading sail effects on OTC by means of RayMan, which can support designers in planning effective solutions for open space livability in summertime. Full article
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15 pages, 525 KiB  
Article
Impact of Biomass Ratio as a Synthetic Parameter in Soft Computing Approaches for a Decision-Making Tool for Biogas Plants in Urban Areas
by Alessandro Pracucci and Theo Zaffagnini
Sustainability 2023, 15(12), 9423; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15129423 - 12 Jun 2023
Viewed by 765
Abstract
The EU’s energy transition strategy highlights the significance of developing innovative energy models to encourage the utilization of renewable energy sources in urban areas. Utilizing local urban biomasses, including food waste, sewage, and green waste, can contribute to the establishment of energy systems [...] Read more.
The EU’s energy transition strategy highlights the significance of developing innovative energy models to encourage the utilization of renewable energy sources in urban areas. Utilizing local urban biomasses, including food waste, sewage, and green waste, can contribute to the establishment of energy systems that harness bio-waste for energy generation, thereby promoting circular economy principles and urban metabolisms. This paper proposes using a pre-design tool (based on soft computing approaches) that incorporates an initial analysis of the multidisciplinary feasibility of such systems as an effective strategy and valuable support for preliminary studies. It focuses on validating three “biomass ratio” parameters, integrating urban morphology and district characteristics with the amount of bio-waste in a peri-urban district comprising multifamily buildings. These parameters can be incorporated into a pre-design tool that facilitates multi-criteria decision analyses, aiding the design of innovative models that promote renewable energy sources in urban areas. The findings suggest that synthetic parameters can guide initial considerations, but they may overestimate the energy potential and should be further investigated. Hence, future research should explore complementary strategies for estimating biomass energy potential and extend the application of this methodology to other types of districts. Full article
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18 pages, 5567 KiB  
Article
Exploring Energy Literacy in Italian Social Housing: A Survey of Inhabitants Preparing the Ground for Climate Transition
by Lia Marchi, Licia Felicioni, Francesca Sabatini and Lidia Errante
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 8544; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15118544 - 24 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1074
Abstract
A low level of energy literacy can hamper the adoption of climate-responsive solutions in the built environment. This is often the case of social housing neighborhoods, where the implementation of improvement measures such as those from the EU Recovery Plan (PNRR in Italy) [...] Read more.
A low level of energy literacy can hamper the adoption of climate-responsive solutions in the built environment. This is often the case of social housing neighborhoods, where the implementation of improvement measures such as those from the EU Recovery Plan (PNRR in Italy) may become difficult because of the specific socio-cultural and economic criticalities. Here, inhabitants are more prone to misinformation as well as energy poverty. Therefore, understanding the level of knowledge and willingness to implement certain design actions at both site and building levels is of utmost importance to make the transition as effective and just as needed. The article presents a pilot survey conducted in two Italian social housing neighborhoods to assess residents’ understanding and preparedness to implement climate-responsive strategies, as well as literacy gaps about energy transition and related public fundings. This can prepare the ground for developing effective solutions to improve the livability of the built environment based on local needs and features that can be combined synergistically with financial incentives. The survey results are discussed, in addition to the upscaling potential. Full article
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17 pages, 9545 KiB  
Article
Architectural Heritage Indoor Comfort after Retrofit Works: The Case Study of S. Vito Church in L’Aquila, Italy
by Mariangela De Vita, Marianna Rotilio, Chiara Marchionni and Pierluigi De Berardinis
Sustainability 2023, 15(10), 8239; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15108239 - 18 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1188
Abstract
The performance redevelopment of Architectural Heritage is a current research topic, in particular for the impact on energy saving and, consequently, on the comfort management of historical buildings. In order to evaluate the energy performance of the built environment and to optimize it [...] Read more.
The performance redevelopment of Architectural Heritage is a current research topic, in particular for the impact on energy saving and, consequently, on the comfort management of historical buildings. In order to evaluate the energy performance of the built environment and to optimize it in the retrofit, the way of using the heritage structures is fundamental. In particular, the retrofit in religious buildings through the installation of a new heating system often modifies the original microclimate of the internal environment without guaranteeing adequate comfort conditions, due to the peculiarities of these artifacts way of use and to their geometric and construction features. This contribution illustrates analysis on the internal comfort of a church after the retrofit intervention, which has shown energetic and comfort critical issues in relation to the discontinuous use type of the structure. The results of the analysis on the case-study, the church of San Vito in L’Aquila, have shown that the use of systems that exploit the thermal mass is not always sustainable and that it is before essential to in-depth investigate the fruition mode of the environments in order to identify suitable retrofit strategies. Full article
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27 pages, 10005 KiB  
Article
The Relation between Outdoor Microclimate and People Flow in Historic City Context the Case Study of Bologna within the ROCK Project
by Andrea Boeri, Danila Longo, Kristian Fabbri, Rossella Roversi and Saveria Boulanger
Sustainability 2023, 15(9), 7527; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15097527 - 4 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1886
Abstract
Life quality in urban contexts is related to several interconnected factors. Lots of innovative technologies allow for the gathering of real-time information, which is helpful for analysing and interpreting significant urban dynamics and citizens’ behaviours. The presence of people in outdoor environments, particularly [...] Read more.
Life quality in urban contexts is related to several interconnected factors. Lots of innovative technologies allow for the gathering of real-time information, which is helpful for analysing and interpreting significant urban dynamics and citizens’ behaviours. The presence of people in outdoor environments, particularly for social and recreational purposes, can be considered as a qualitative indicator, giving evidence of a living environment. The relationship between urban areas and the climate context has been addressed in recent years by the scientific literature. However, these studies did not report the direct correlation between people’s presence and outdoor thermal comfort in outdoor spaces. The aim of this paper is to assess whether the presence of people in outdoor public spaces, detected through human presence sensors, can be associated with outdoor microclimatic conditions (both with on-site measurement and software simulation) and outdoor thermal comfort indicators (as physiological equivalent temperature). The question is whether there exists a direct correlation between outdoor microclimate in public spaces and people’s presence, and if a public event plays a role in changing it. The research compares on-site measurements of physics variables (e.g., air temperature) and people’s presence with outdoor microclimate maps by Envi-met. The case study, carried out in the framework of the H2020 project ROCK—Regeneration and Optimization of Cultural Heritage in Creative and Knowledge cities, focuses on two squares located in Bologna’s historic city center. The conclusions show that public events are the main deciding factor influencing square crowding; nevertheless, the study reveals a relationship between thermal comfort and the number of people. Full article
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24 pages, 9830 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Common Ground of Sustainability and Resilience in the Building Sector: A Systematic Literature Review and Analysis of Building Rating Systems
by Licia Felicioni, Antonín Lupíšek and Jacopo Gaspari
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 884; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15010884 - 3 Jan 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3232
Abstract
Over the last ten years, due to the increase in frequency and severity of climate change effects, resilience in buildings has become a growing topic in the current global discussion on climate change adaptation. Designing both sustainable and resilient constructions would help to [...] Read more.
Over the last ten years, due to the increase in frequency and severity of climate change effects, resilience in buildings has become a growing topic in the current global discussion on climate change adaptation. Designing both sustainable and resilient constructions would help to face such effects; however, sustainability and resilience in design have been mostly treated separately so far. Since sustainability has been considered more than resilience, paying deeper attention to the latter is indispensable to reducing building vulnerability. The purpose of this article is to examine the commonalities between the sustainability and resilience of buildings using two different approaches: (i) a systematic literature review, taking into consideration a 10-year period for selecting records, and (ii) an analysis of five green building rating systems and five resilience rating systems and guidelines selected according to their popularity and number of certified buildings. There is an overlap in some indicators between the two domains at the building level, as shown by the results from both paths. These aspects could assist in considering sustainability and resilience from the very beginning of the design process. This will ensure that buildings may be designed more effectively by considering and enhancing the synergies between the two domains. This paper targets potential stakeholders who may be interested in including such an integrated implementation in their designs. Full article
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18 pages, 3766 KiB  
Article
The Role of Architectural Skin Emissivity Influencing Outdoor Microclimatic Comfort: A Case Study in Bologna, Italy
by Kristian Fabbri, Jacopo Gaspari, Alessia Costa and Sofia Principi
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 14669; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142214669 - 8 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1293
Abstract
This article examines the influence of the emissivity of façade materials on outdoor microclimatic comfort. The developed methodology is based on the collection of input data regarding the site, the geometrical and technological characterization of the building envelope and the definition of the [...] Read more.
This article examines the influence of the emissivity of façade materials on outdoor microclimatic comfort. The developed methodology is based on the collection of input data regarding the site, the geometrical and technological characterization of the building envelope and the definition of the associated emissivity, the development of alternative emissivity-driven scenarios, the scenario simulation to obtain Outdoor Microclimate Maps (OMMs), and their interpretation and discussion. The operative steps of the proposed simplified method are applied to a specific case study in the city of Bologna made of a mix of buildings, including some towers overlooking an inner courtyard. The emissivity of the façade materials is assumed as the main variable. The results show how, by properly addressing the design choices, it is possible to achieve significant improvements in the outdoor microclimate for the space in-between the considered volumes. Full article
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Review

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27 pages, 2637 KiB  
Review
Urban Adaptation to Climate Change State of the Art: Evaluating the Role of Adaptation Assessment Frameworks through a Systematic and Bibliometric Analysis
by Saveria Olga Murielle Boulanger
Sustainability 2023, 15(13), 10134; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151310134 - 26 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2509
Abstract
Urban adaptation and resilience are essential aspects of climate change. The latest IPCC reports of 2022 recall the importance of taking concrete actions, especially through the implementation of actions able to make cities more resilient. However, the current scientific discourse predominantly revolves around [...] Read more.
Urban adaptation and resilience are essential aspects of climate change. The latest IPCC reports of 2022 recall the importance of taking concrete actions, especially through the implementation of actions able to make cities more resilient. However, the current scientific discourse predominantly revolves around policies, theoretical aspects and specific case studies. This study aims to provide an updated analysis of the existing scientific literature, with an additional focus on the role of assessment and monitoring frameworks in urban adaptation. By employing qualitative and quantitative methodologies, supported by VOSviewer for co-occurrence network analysis, this paper reveals novel clusters and thematic groupings within the ongoing debate. Results include the identification of new clusters and thematic grouping and the identification of potential future trends. Full article
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