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Next Energy Efficiency Solutions for Sustainable Buildings

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2021) | Viewed by 33635

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, “Ştefan cel Mare” University of Suceava, 720229 Suceava, Romania
Interests: clean renewable energies; green hydrogen energy; eco-responsibility; green buildings; sustainable energy technologies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
ICSI Energy Department, National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenics and Isotopic Technologies, 240050 Ramnicu Valcea, Romania
Interests: renewable resources; hydrogen energy; fuel cell technology; hybrid energy system; smart stand‐alone systems; electric vehicle charging station; blockchain technology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The building sector is one of the most important energy consumers, and this is due to the structure of average energy consumption. Besides the efforts to develop new high-quality buildings that assure a high level of comfort to the occupants while complying with the conditions of energy and environmental efficiency, it is essential to address attitudes towards human well-being and healthy environments, along with a decrease in high-energy consumption levels in the context of the rehabilitation of existing buildings. Energy efficiency needs to be considered as a source of energy in its own right. It is possible to develop an efficient and sustainable building, but, in the end, it is all about the user, and the challenge is to transfer this set-up to the people who actually use the building. Setting energy efficiency in the foreground will decrease costs for consumers, bring down energy import dependency, and redirect investments towards the sustainable infrastructure in building domain.

This Special Issue includes, but is not limited, to the following topics:

  • Upgrading buildings’ energy performance
  • Sustainable buildings—challenges
  • Decarbonization of the building stock
  • Stimulating demand for sustainable energy skills in the building sector
  • Business case for energy efficiency
  • Energy efficiency as an energy source
  • Socio-economic analysis regarding energy efficiency and energy demand
  • The role of the end user in changing the behavior of energy consumption through informed decision and collective actions
  • Next-generation of energy performance assessment
  • Educational capacities for energy transition
  • Public policies for sustainable buildings
  • Capacity building programs to support the implementation of energy audits
  • Mitigating household energy poverty

Dr. Raluca Andreea Felseghi
CSIII Maria Simona Raboaca
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

  • Behavior of energy consumption
  • Building energy skills
  • Buildings' energy performance
  • Efficient energy consumption
  • Energy audit
  • Energy demand
  • Energy efficiency
  • Energy performance assessment
  • Energy transition
  • Sustainable building

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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20 pages, 4400 KiB  
Article
Optimal Synergy between Photovoltaic Panels and Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Green Power Supply of a Green Building—A Case Study
by Raluca-Andreea Felseghi, Ioan Așchilean, Nicoleta Cobîrzan, Andrei Mircea Bolboacă and Maria Simona Raboaca
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6304; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116304 - 2 Jun 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5655
Abstract
Alternative energy resources have a significant function in the performance and decarbonization of power engendering schemes in the building application domain. Additionally, “green buildings” play a special role in reducing energy consumption and minimizing CO2 emissions in the building sector. This research [...] Read more.
Alternative energy resources have a significant function in the performance and decarbonization of power engendering schemes in the building application domain. Additionally, “green buildings” play a special role in reducing energy consumption and minimizing CO2 emissions in the building sector. This research article analyzes the performance of alternative primary energy sources (sun and hydrogen) integrated into a hybrid photovoltaic panel/fuel cell system, and their optimal synergy to provide green energy for a green building. The study addresses the future hydrogen-based economy, which involves the supply of hydrogen as the fuel needed to provide fuel cell energy through a power distribution infrastructure. The objective of this research is to use fuel cells in this field and to investigate their use as a green building energy supply through a hybrid electricity generation system, which also uses photovoltaic panels to convert solar energy. The fuel cell hydrogen is supplied through a distribution network in which hydrogen production is outsourced and independent of the power generation system. The case study creates virtual operating conditions for this type of hybrid energy system and simulates its operation over a one-year period. The goal is to demonstrate the role and utility of fuel cells in virtual conditions by analyzing energy and economic performance indicators, as well as carbon dioxide emissions. The case study analyzes the optimal synergy between photovoltaic panels and fuel cells for the power supply of a green building. In the simulation, an optimally configured hybrid system supplies 100% of the energy to the green building while generating carbon dioxide emissions equal to 11.72% of the average value calculated for a conventional energy system providing similar energy to a standard residential building. Photovoltaic panels account for 32% of the required annual electricity production, and the fuel cells generate 68% of the total annual energy output of the system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Energy Efficiency Solutions for Sustainable Buildings)
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18 pages, 2160 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Potential of a Gamified Approach to Reduce Energy Use and Carbon Emissions in the Household Sector
by Marta Gangolells, Miquel Casals, Marcel Macarulla and Núria Forcada
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3380; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063380 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2494
Abstract
This paper analyzes the impact of an innovative approach based on gamification to promote reduced energy consumption in social housing. The game was developed and validated under the auspices of the EU-funded project EnerGAware-Energy Game for Awareness of energy efficiency in social housing [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes the impact of an innovative approach based on gamification to promote reduced energy consumption in social housing. The game was developed and validated under the auspices of the EU-funded project EnerGAware-Energy Game for Awareness of energy efficiency in social housing communities in an affordable housing pilot located in Plymouth (United Kingdom). The results showed that the future exploitation of the game holds important energy- and emissions-saving potential. Assuming that the game is distributed freely by European energy providers to their domestic end-users, the game was found to be able to save more than 48.9 secondary terawatt-hours per year (TWhs) and 18.8 million tons of CO2e annually, contributing up to around 8% to the target set for the European buildings sector to keep global warming under 2 °C. The results also showed that the game is highly feasible from the energy point of view, even when we consider the energy consumed upstream, due to its low cumulative energy demand and its potential for household energy reduction. The results of this research provide helpful information for private and public stakeholders, as they contribute to determining the sustainability of promoting energy saving through gaming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Energy Efficiency Solutions for Sustainable Buildings)
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17 pages, 1906 KiB  
Article
Architectural Sustainability and Efficiency of Enhanced Waterproof Coating from Utilization of Waterborne Poly (Siloxane-Imide-Urethane) Copolymers on Roof Surfaces
by Yao-Tang Hsu, Wen-Hsin Wang and Wei-Hsi Hung
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4411; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114411 - 28 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2783
Abstract
According to Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior, from 2017 to 2019, more than 12% of house-purchase disputes were due to water leakage caused by frequent tropical rains, which have long troubled engineers. The thermal stability resistance, water resistance, and ultraviolet resistance of existing [...] Read more.
According to Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior, from 2017 to 2019, more than 12% of house-purchase disputes were due to water leakage caused by frequent tropical rains, which have long troubled engineers. The thermal stability resistance, water resistance, and ultraviolet resistance of existing polyurethane formulations have been limited by environmental aging. Thus, the lifespan of commercial PU-coated resins (typical PU) for the waterproofing of roof surfaces is merely two to three years. Accordingly, this study proposed the introduction of siloxane and imide groups to produce waterborne poly(urethane-siloxane-imide) (Si-imide-WPU) copolymers to improve the resistance of environmental aging in typical PU. The waterproof coating resin made of Si-imide-WPU copolymers was environmentally friendly, safe to use, and free of organic solvents. The results showed that the optimal Si-imide-WPU-2 sample in the study made improvements on the defects of polyurethane (PU) including its thermal properties, mechanical properties, environmental resistance, and lifespan which could be extended up to 5.4 years. Consequently, the studied Si-imide-WPU copolymers could reduce material waste while enhancing the sustainability and efficiency of the architecture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Energy Efficiency Solutions for Sustainable Buildings)
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15 pages, 4126 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Properties of a Coating Material with Polycaprolactone-Degradable Fluorinated Silicon-Containing Waterborne Polyurethane
by Yao-Tang Hsu, Wen-Hsin Wang and Wei-Hsi Hung
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3745; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093745 - 5 May 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2529
Abstract
This study successfully synthesized fluorinated silicon-containing waterborne polyurethanes (FSWPUs) by using polycaprolactone (PCL) diol, 2,2,3,3-Tetrafluoro-1,4-butanediol, and [3-(2-Aminoethylamino)propyl] trimethoxysilane (AEAPTES ). The FSWPU’s particle size was examined using dynamic light scattering. After the FSWPUs were processed into a dry film, their molecular weight and [...] Read more.
This study successfully synthesized fluorinated silicon-containing waterborne polyurethanes (FSWPUs) by using polycaprolactone (PCL) diol, 2,2,3,3-Tetrafluoro-1,4-butanediol, and [3-(2-Aminoethylamino)propyl] trimethoxysilane (AEAPTES ). The FSWPU’s particle size was examined using dynamic light scattering. After the FSWPUs were processed into a dry film, their molecular weight and basic properties were analyzed using gel permeation chromatography (GPC), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Additionally, the thermal stability of the FSWPUs was inspected by thermogravimetric analysis and dynamic mechanical analysis. The tensile strength and elongation at the break of the FSWPUs before and after hydrolysis were also analyzed, using a tensile testing machine. Subsequently, FSWPU emulsions were cast between the tiles, and hydrophilicity, hydrophobicity, and surface tension were then measured on a contact-angle measurement instrument. The tensile testing machine was again employed to test the sheer strength of the FSWPUs between the tiles, and a tape test was conducted to analyze their adhesion to the tiles. The results revealed that AEAPTES functional groups can reinforce the thermal stability, tensile strength, and water resistance of FSWPUs. Moreover, the AEAPTES functional groups increased the adhesion of FSWPUs to the tiles and reduced the surface energy of the tiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Energy Efficiency Solutions for Sustainable Buildings)
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13 pages, 1795 KiB  
Article
Examining the Relationships between Stationary Occupancy and Building Energy Loads in US Educational Buildings–Case Study
by Seungtaek Lee, Wai Oswald Chong and Jui-Sheng Chou
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030893 - 24 Jan 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2230
Abstract
Building energy systems are designed to handle both permanent and temporary occupants. Permanent occupants are considered the base energy load while temporary occupants are considered a temporary or additional load. Temporary occupancy is potentially the most difficult to design as the number of [...] Read more.
Building energy systems are designed to handle both permanent and temporary occupants. Permanent occupants are considered the base energy load while temporary occupants are considered a temporary or additional load. Temporary occupancy is potentially the most difficult to design as the number of temporary occupants varies more significantly than permanent occupants. This case study was designed to investigate the effect of occupancy on energy loads, i.e. the relationship between occupancy and building energy loads. This study estimated the building occupancy by using existing network infrastructure, such as Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet based on the assumption that the number of Wi-Fi connections and the wired Ethernet traffic were used as a proxy for total and stationary occupancy. The relationships were then examined using correlations and regression analyses. The results showed the following: 1. Stationary occupancy was successfully estimated using the network infrastructure; 2. There was a linear relationship between electricity use and total occupancy (and, thus, the use of network infrastructure); 3. Permanent occupants generated a higher impact on the electricity load than the temporary occupants; 4. There was a logarithmic relationship between electricity use and the Ethernet data traffic (a proxy of permanent occupants); and 5. The statistical and qualitative analyses indicated that there was no significant relationship between occupancy and thermal loads, such as cooling and heating loads. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Energy Efficiency Solutions for Sustainable Buildings)
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11 pages, 373 KiB  
Article
High Involvement and Ethical Consumption: A Study of the Environmentally Certified Home Purchase Decision
by Lianne Foti and Avis Devine
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5353; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195353 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3841
Abstract
Sustainable and energy efficient (SEE) attributes in the housing market have become a focus in Canada. Similarly, understanding the consumer’s decision-making process of this high-involvement ethical product has become a burgeoning area for researchers. This study describes the development of the subject, highlighting [...] Read more.
Sustainable and energy efficient (SEE) attributes in the housing market have become a focus in Canada. Similarly, understanding the consumer’s decision-making process of this high-involvement ethical product has become a burgeoning area for researchers. This study describes the development of the subject, highlighting the nature of the ethical decision-making process and how it relates to this known intention–behaviour gap. An observation, followed by two studies consisting of in-depth interviews with real estate agents and sales representatives (n = 15) and home purchasers/consumers (n = 15), were conducted. Transcriptions were analysed qualitatively with NVivo Pro 12 software (NVivo Pro 12, QSR International Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Australia). Inductive thematic analysis revealed two main driving themes: information and trust in seller/realtor. Attribute investment return uncertainty was identified as a theme that affects the strength of the relationship between purchase intention and behaviour, whereas the trust in seller/realtor speaks to how and why this effect occurs. The findings present relationships among the driving factors that were identified by realtors and consumers in the SEE housing market, as well as barriers (investment return uncertainty) that prevent consumers from purchasing high-involvement ethical products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Energy Efficiency Solutions for Sustainable Buildings)
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12 pages, 4496 KiB  
Article
Optimal Control Strategy for Variable Air Volume Air-Conditioning Systems Using Genetic Algorithms
by Nam-Chul Seong, Jee-Heon Kim and Wonchang Choi
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5122; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185122 - 19 Sep 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4018
Abstract
This study is aimed at developing a real-time optimal control strategy for variable air volume (VAV) air-conditioning in a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system using genetic algorithms and a simulated large-scale office building. The two selected control variables are the settings for [...] Read more.
This study is aimed at developing a real-time optimal control strategy for variable air volume (VAV) air-conditioning in a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system using genetic algorithms and a simulated large-scale office building. The two selected control variables are the settings for the supply air temperature and the duct static pressure to provide optimal control for the VAV air-conditioning system. Genetic algorithms were employed to calculate the optimal control settings for each control variable. The proposed optimal control conditions were evaluated according to the total energy consumption of the HVAC system based on its component parts (fan, chiller, and cold-water pump). The results confirm that the supply air temperature and duct static pressure change according to the cooling load of the simulated building. Using the proposed optimal control variables, the total energy consumption of the building was reduced up to 5.72% compared to under ‘normal’ settings and conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Energy Efficiency Solutions for Sustainable Buildings)
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Review

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21 pages, 1663 KiB  
Review
Indoor Air Quality Monitoring Systems for Enhanced Living Environments: A Review toward Sustainable Smart Cities
by Gonçalo Marques, Jagriti Saini, Maitreyee Dutta, Pradeep Kumar Singh and Wei-Chiang Hong
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4024; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104024 - 14 May 2020
Cited by 49 | Viewed by 8190
Abstract
Smart cities follow different strategies to face public health challenges associated with socio-economic objectives. Buildings play a crucial role in smart cities and are closely related to people’s health. Moreover, they are equally essential to meet sustainable objectives. People spend most of their [...] Read more.
Smart cities follow different strategies to face public health challenges associated with socio-economic objectives. Buildings play a crucial role in smart cities and are closely related to people’s health. Moreover, they are equally essential to meet sustainable objectives. People spend most of their time indoors. Therefore, indoor air quality has a critical impact on health and well-being. With the increasing population of elders, ambient-assisted living systems are required to promote occupational health and well-being. Furthermore, living environments must incorporate monitoring systems to detect unfavorable indoor quality scenarios in useful time. This paper reviews the current state of the art on indoor air quality monitoring systems based on Internet of Things and wireless sensor networks in the last five years (2014–2019). This document focuses on the architecture, microcontrollers, connectivity, and sensors used by these systems. The main contribution is to synthesize the existing body of knowledge and identify common threads and gaps that open up new significant and challenging future research directions. The results show that 57% of the indoor air quality monitoring systems are based on Arduino, 53% of the systems use Internet of Things, and WSN architectures represent 33%. The CO2 and PM monitoring sensors are the most monitored parameters in the analyzed literature, corresponding to 67% and 29%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Energy Efficiency Solutions for Sustainable Buildings)
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