Special Issue "Sustainability and Energy-Saving in Construction and Building Materials"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Antonio Caggiano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Institute of Construction and Building Materials, Technical University Darmstadt (TUDa), 64287 Darmstadt, Germany
2. Laboratorio de Métodos Numéricos en Ingeniería (LMNI), CONICET and University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires C1127AAR, Argentina
Interests: mesoscale; microscale; multiscale; cohesive-frictional materials; energy; sustainability; PCM; thermal energy storage
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Deepankar Kumar Ashish
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Civil Engineering Department, Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, Maharaja Agrasen University, Baddi, India
Interests: sustainable concrete; sustainable construction materials; self-compacting concrete; environmental chemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The “Sustainability and Energy-Saving in Construction and Building Materials” Special Issue is aimed at collecting the current state of the art and novel achievements on relevant topics that deal with the field of both sustainability and energy-saving in construction and building materials. Thus, it will collect original manuscripts on current advances from physical, chemical, biological, life-cycle assessment, engineering, and materials science perspectives and research results related to sustainable, carbon-neutral, environmental-friendly, and energy-neutral topics on CBMs.

With this collection, Prof. Antonio Caggiano and Prof. Deepankar Kumar Ashish have the ambition to hugely stimulate and spread the latest knowledge on Sustainability and Energy-Saving in Construction and Building Materials. The SI will be a recipe for new ideas on the aforementioned topics for young investigators as well as leading experts in the field of materials science and engineering.

The Special Issue is also sponsoring the F-EIR Conference 2021—Environment Concerns and its Remediation, to be held on October 18–22, 2021, Chandigarh, India, https://ecr21.org/. Works and scientific contributions presented in this event will also be considered as potential manuscripts for this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Antonio Caggiano
Prof. Dr. Deepankar Kumar Ashishs
Guest Editors

Conference Information

Guest Editors will hold a meeting online on October 18–22, 2021, Chandigarh, India, on the topic of this Special Issue “Sustainability and Energy-Saving in Construction and Building Materials”. Please see details:
F-EIR Conference – Environment Concerns and its Remediation 
Welcome more researchers to join us!

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.



  • alternative binders
  • bio-based cementitious materials
  • CO2 uptake and cleaning
  • CO2 storage
  • eco-friendly solutions
  • energy and buildings
  • energy harvesting
  • energy storage
  • energy transformations
  • European Green Deal
  • functional nanomaterials
  • heating and cooling
  • intelligent materials and buildings
  • life-cycle assessment
  • multiscale and multiphysics
  • natural composites
  • phase change materials
  • piezoelectric materials
  • recycling/reusability
  • renewable energy resources
  • reuse of industrial wastes and by-products
  • self-healing materials
  • smart materials
  • sustainable binders
  • thermal comfort
  • zero CO2 emissions

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Stability Relevant Properties of an SiO2 Aerogel-Based Rendering and Its Application on Buildings
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10035; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810035 - 08 Sep 2021
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Aerogel-based renderings and plasters have been spreading throughout Europe for nearly a decade. Several national and EU-funded projects have addressed this interesting building product, both at research level within academia and at application level within R&D of renowned industrial enterprises. At present, a [...] Read more.
Aerogel-based renderings and plasters have been spreading throughout Europe for nearly a decade. Several national and EU-funded projects have addressed this interesting building product, both at research level within academia and at application level within R&D of renowned industrial enterprises. At present, a number of investigations into the hygro-thermal, chemical and application properties of a commercially successful aerogel-based rendering and its main ingredient, SiO2 aerogel granules, have been undertaken. Immersion in water showed that even under harsh circumstances water does not enter the aerogel granules, but rather accumulates in the porous phase surrounding the granules. A further immersion in calcium hydroxide at different temperatures did not affect the aerogel granule either, which indicates the robustness of the granules with respect to their exposure to moisture and chemical deterioration emerging from the construction materials the rendering is applied on. An executed application to a historic building with a structured finish, and without any reinforcement mesh, showed the advantage of a versatile applicability of this rendering when the external appearance and visible details of a façade must be kept unchanged. The investigation is rounded off by an infrared picture taken on a cold day showing the thermal influence of the aerogel-based rendering, and its effectiveness for reducing heat loss in buildings. Full article
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Sustainable Campus: The Experience of the University of Lisbon at IST
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 8050; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13148050 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 512
This paper addresses the research problem of determining if relevant energy and water savings may be obtained in university campuses without significant investments, based mainly on “surgical” technical and organizational measures. With the creation of the “Sustainable Campus” project, in 2011, IST has [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the research problem of determining if relevant energy and water savings may be obtained in university campuses without significant investments, based mainly on “surgical” technical and organizational measures. With the creation of the “Sustainable Campus” project, in 2011, IST has been implementing a sustainability policy. A resource management policy has been accompanied by a permanent project team, which proposes the implementation of technical measures. This activity is performed in articulation with the operational management through integrated actions in a collective effort to reduce consumption. Without significant investments, the energy-saving measures implemented have consistently achieved a value of more than 20% in energy consumption when compared to the average annual consumption values of the past decade. Additionally, in 2018, water consumption was 58% lower than the reference baseline value of 2011. In 2018, specific projects were implemented in the area of sustainable mobility, with a focus on smooth mobility and sharing. This paper presents the “Sustainable Campus” project, its operational lines, and the results achieved in energy and water consumption and sustainable mobility. Full article
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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.


Authors: Peter Donkor1,*, Esther Obonyo2, Christopher Ferraro P.E. 3


1 PhD, 6076 Bent Pine Drive # 4123 Orlando, FL 32822, USA
2 Associate Professor, School of Engineering Design, Pennsylvania State University, State College, USA
3 Research Assistant Professor, Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA

Abstract: There are ongoing research efforts aimed at improving the properties of soil blocks due to perceived and real strength limitations that inhibit their deployment for structural applications. The goal of this research was to evaluate the technical feasibility of using polypropylene (PP) fibers to improve the flexural performance of soil-cement matrices used for compressed earth block (CEB) production. Cementitious matrices used for CEB production exhibit low tensile and flexural strength (brittle) properties. Plain (unreinforced) and fiber-reinforced specimens (short flexural beams) with fiber mass content of 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, and 1.0%  and ordinary Portland cement (OPC) content of 8% were produced and tested  in flexure  in accordance with the Standard Test Method for Flexural Performance of Fiber-Reinforced Concrete (ASTM C1609).  Material properties that were quantified included first-peak strength, peak strength, equivalent flexural strength, residual strength, and flexural toughness. Incorporation of the PP fibers resulted in an improvement in flexural performance as demonstrated by the load-deflection behavior, equivalent flexural strength, residual strength, and flexural toughness of the fiber-reinforced specimens. At fiber content of 0.6% and above, specimens exhibited a deflection-hardening behavior; an indication of improvement in ductility. An equivalent flexural strength predictive model is proposed.

Keywords: Compressed earth blocks; polypropylene fibers; equivalent flexural strength; residual strength; flexural toughness.

2. Title: Inward and Outward Opening Properties of one-sided wind catchers: Experimental and analytical evaluation

Author: Mady Mohamed 1*2, Mohamed F. El-Amin 3,4
1 Department of Architecture, College of Architecture and Design, Effat University, KSA
2 On Leave, Zagazig University, Egypt 
3 College of Engineering, Effat University
4 Department of Mathematics, Aswan University, Aswan, Egypt

Abstract: Vernacular measures such as Courtyard, Wind Catcher “Malqaf”, Wooden Lattice “Mashrabia”, and Lantern – that can help buildings to depend on natural energy from the sun and the wind - started to be abandoned in the last decades. However, wind pressure and stack effects are becoming more popular in modern buildings design and the primary method in most domestic buildings to achieve the desired cross ventilation and minimize the air temperature and by turn the required cooling loads.
This paper aims at reviving one of the vernacular measures “The windcatcher” and quantifying the effectiveness of the inward/outward opening properties on the air temperature and airflow inside the buildings. Analytical literature review, context analysis, and numerical simulations are performed. The Computer Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is utilized to simulate both the temperature distribution and the flow field within the windcatcher model. Simulations were carried out in the Fluent environment, which uses the control volume method for solving the conservation law. The Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) and energy equation with the realizable k-ϵ turbulent model, are employed.
The research uses a parametric analysis to test different scenarios of windcatcher designs in terms of dimensions, proportions, and opening ratios. The results of this study confirmed that wind-catcher has a significant effect in lowering down the air temperature inside the different floors. However, it is recommended to use a wind-catcher for not more than two floors, increase the area of the outward opening to 200% relative to the inward opening and apply side-opening in the upper floors.

Keywords: Windcatcher, Passive Strategies and Measures, Heritage interventions, Fluent, CFD, 

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