Special Issue "Sustainable Habitat"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Victor M. Ferreira
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Aveiro, Department of Civil Engineering, Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: sustainability; construction materials; habitat; built heritage; circular economy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to gather contributions on the “Sustainable Habitat” subject, coming in the form of high-quality research or review articles. The “habitat” concept is about the places where we live (buildings, cities, and infrastructure) and it is, today, an important value chain where different agents contribute to its creation, renovation, buildup and maintenance. It is an area where major resources (energy, water and materials) in the world are spent in huge amounts and most of the times in a non-sustainable way. There are already relevant developed solutions or under development in several fields that impacts on the sustainability of our habitat at the level of materials, buildings, cities or other infrastructures, which are interesting to be shown and discussed. This is the scope of this Special Issue is to gather different ideas and concrete examples on how to make sustainable habitats. It will welcome papers that emphasize issues such as sustainable materials, systems and sustainable construction, recycling and reuse, water and energy efficiency solutions, renewable sources, sustainable renovation of buildings and cities, circular economy examples in living spaces, and other relevant matters for the sustainability of our habitats. Papers will be selected for this Special Issue through a meticulous peer-review procedure.

Prof. Victor M. Ferreira
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 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 1700 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

  • Sustainability
  • Construction
  • Materials, Habitat, Buildings, Cities, Water and energy efficiency, Circular Economy.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Indoor Thermal Comfort Improvement through the Integrated BIM-Parametric Workflow-Based Sustainable Renovation of an Exemplary Apartment in Seoul, Korea
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3950; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143950 - 20 Jul 2019
Abstract
Apartment buildings are the most common housing typology in South Korea. The mass construction of apartment neighborhoods during a period of rapid economic growth (1970–1997) involved the minimization of material use and quality, as well as industrialized construction processes. Accordingly, apartment buildings require [...] Read more.
Apartment buildings are the most common housing typology in South Korea. The mass construction of apartment neighborhoods during a period of rapid economic growth (1970–1997) involved the minimization of material use and quality, as well as industrialized construction processes. Accordingly, apartment buildings require essential renovation after only 20 years of operation. This study focuses on the improvement of thermal comfort for the renovation of an exemplary apartment building based on an integrated Building Information Modeling (BIM) and parametric software framework. The existing apartment was reconstructed with BIM software, and the virtual model was utilized for a parametric building energy simulation to calculate the thermal comfort condition of occupants during the entire year. The thermal comfort analysis results defined the criteria for the development of an enhanced building envelope system characterized by modular panels. The parametric energy simulation was executed for the renovated apartment condition with the enhanced envelope system, and the thermal comfort improvements were quantified by comparing the results for the apartment condition before and after renovation. This study aims to provide the tools and criteria for the comfort analysis of apartment occupants, as well as propose sustainable solutions for the improvement of thermal comfort in aged buildings with similar conditions, internal distribution, and construction components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Habitat)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated BIM-Parametric Workflow-Based Analysis of Daylight Improvement for Sustainable Renovation of an Exemplary Apartment in Seoul, Korea
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2699; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092699 - 12 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
More than 60% of housing in South Korea consists of mass constructed apartment neighborhoods. Due to poor quality construction materials and components, the average operative life of apartment buildings is 20 years. The rapid degradation and low maintenance condition of transparent and semi-opaque [...] Read more.
More than 60% of housing in South Korea consists of mass constructed apartment neighborhoods. Due to poor quality construction materials and components, the average operative life of apartment buildings is 20 years. The rapid degradation and low maintenance condition of transparent and semi-opaque components, as well as the limited daylight access in the standard apartment layout, are cause for the lower visual comfort of occupants. This research analyzes the improvement in visual comfort for the renovation of an exemplary apartment unit in Seoul, using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and parametric environmental analysis tools. The existing apartment is virtually reconstructed with BIM software. The building model is exported to Computer-Aided Design software to execute parametric daylight analyses through environmental simulation software. An enhanced modular building envelope and apartment layout are developed to reduce the energy demand for heating, cooling, artificial lighting, and to improve visual and thermal comfort. The visual comfort analysis of the refurbished apartment results in average improvements of 15% in terms of Daylight Factor and 30% of daylight autonomy. Therefore, this research proposes, the renovation of aged Korean apartment buildings to enhance daylighting and visual comfort. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Habitat)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Assessment Systems for Green Building and Green Civil Infrastructure
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2117; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072117 - 09 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The assessment systems for green building have been developed and implemented for decades. Well-known systems include the U.S. system LEED, the U.K. system BREEAM, the Canadian system GB tools, and the Japanese system CASBEE. These systems will be discussed and compared together with [...] Read more.
The assessment systems for green building have been developed and implemented for decades. Well-known systems include the U.S. system LEED, the U.K. system BREEAM, the Canadian system GB tools, and the Japanese system CASBEE. These systems will be discussed and compared together with Taiwan’s EEWH system. Each assessment system may contain a different set of evaluation items to evaluate the sustainability level of a building project. Contrarily, the assessment system for green civil infrastructure projects is rarely discussed and developed globally. In Taiwan, studies have been conducted to develop a new assessment system with some reasonable key indicators and evaluation items, serving as the tool to evaluate the sustainability level of a green civil infrastructure project. In this paper, the authors studied and summarized different key indicators and evaluation items, and made comparisons among some major assessment systems for both green building and green civil infrastructure projects. Based on the comparison of the various assessment systems, it is found that greenery, recycling of materials, water conservation, carbon emission reduction, and energy saving are considered in both green building and green civil infrastructure assessment systems. Nevertheless, external building structure, energy consumption, healthy air and temperature, illumination of the indoor environment, rainwater recycling, and underground reservoirs are considered only in green building assessments, but not in green civil infrastructure assessments. Moreover, durability, benefits, landscape, humanities, culture, and creativity, which are discussed adequately in green civil infrastructure assessments, are not highlighted in green building assessments. In addition, two construction projects in Taiwan, one green building project and one green civil infrastructure project, are presented to exemplify sustainability practices and assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Habitat)
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Open AccessArticle
Investment Valuation Model of Public Rental Housing PPP Project for Private Sector: A Real Option Perspective
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1857; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071857 - 28 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Public rental housing (PRH) in China is mainly invested by the government at present. The huge capital demand brings it great pressure and a series of problems appear meanwhile. Public–private partnership (PPP) has been regarded as a way to solve the funding dilemma [...] Read more.
Public rental housing (PRH) in China is mainly invested by the government at present. The huge capital demand brings it great pressure and a series of problems appear meanwhile. Public–private partnership (PPP) has been regarded as a way to solve the funding dilemma of PRH. However, the PRH project is not attractive for the private sector since the expected profit seems unsatisfactory based on traditional valuation methods. To improve this situation, this paper proposed an investment valuation model from a real option perspective. For the private sector, three types of options, including deferral option, abandonment option, and expansion option, were identified during the concession period of a PRH PPP project. On this basis, a two-stage binomial tree model was constructed for estimating the investment value. Then, the proposed model was tested in a hypothetical example of a typical PRH PPP project in Chongqing, China. The result shows that great potential value can be excavated through flexible strategies and adaption to uncertainties. This paper provides a deep analysis on the gaps of the real option application in public housing investment assessment, which is meaningful for improving the supply efficiency and financial sustainability of PRH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Habitat)
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Open AccessArticle
Net Zero Buildings—A Framework for an Integrated Policy in Chile
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1494; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051494 - 12 Mar 2019
Abstract
The potential of carbon dioxide emissions mitigation in the building sector can be achieved through energy policies, progressive goals, and support systems to attain sustainable constructions that guarantee the reduction of emissions. Net-Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) is a concept that allows moving forward [...] Read more.
The potential of carbon dioxide emissions mitigation in the building sector can be achieved through energy policies, progressive goals, and support systems to attain sustainable constructions that guarantee the reduction of emissions. Net-Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) is a concept that allows moving forward to neutralize buildings’ carbon emissions. This has been demonstrated by more industrial countries which have set goals and challenges to progressively approach an energy neutrality balance for buildings. Therefore, the target of this research is to define a framework for a new standard to reach NZEB in Chile. Firstly, an exhaustive review of the energy policies, NZEB definitions, and components of an NZEB system took place. Secondly, focus group discussions with local and international professionals from the building sector were organized to define a vision, opportunities, and potential measures with a focus on policies, to implement and develop local technologies for NZEB buildings in Chile. The study identifies the need to advance public policies to achieve an integrated policy for the implementation of energy neutral concept buildings. Finally, the paper presents a NZEB standard framework, including key performance indicators and suggested performance metrics thresholds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Habitat)
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Open AccessArticle
Small-Scale Public Rental Housing Development Using Modular Construction—Lessons learned from Case Studies in Seoul, Korea
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1120; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041120 - 20 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Modular construction, which involves factory-based modular unit manufacturing followed by installation at a construction site, has been recognized as one of the sustainable construction methods. Its advantages are known to be implemented through (1) standardized design, (2) standardized production method, and (3) large-scale [...] Read more.
Modular construction, which involves factory-based modular unit manufacturing followed by installation at a construction site, has been recognized as one of the sustainable construction methods. Its advantages are known to be implemented through (1) standardized design, (2) standardized production method, and (3) large-scale development (mass production system). These three conditions are basic requirements for modular construction market expansion, but it is difficult to define that these conditions are a prerequisite for judging whether modular construction applied or not. Nevertheless, public development companies in regions or countries where modular construction has just begun thought that modular construction should meet all three conditions that are suitable for applying public construction projects. This is because it is difficult to compare conventional construction projects with similar conditions to modular construction projects. This paper analyzes the cost and duration data of three small-scale public construction rental housing (PCRH) projects involving modular construction in Korea. These cases presented herein include a public college student dormitory, public low-rise rental housing, and public mid-rise rental housing in small-scale development projects. Those were applied not standardized design (common design and regulation), but were reflected in each project’s demands (different design and regulation). To compare it, this paper analyzed 91 public housing provision projects’ construction data from 2011 to 2017 from one of the public rental housing provision companies in Korea. Among them, 19 small-scale public rental housing data were extracted for comparing with modular construction project data. The results show that, even if not standardized, the design and production process, and modular construction durations, were more effective—but costs were similar or expensive. Based on the conclusion drawn from three cases, this paper presents important considerations for the application of modular construction in other small-scale public construction rental housing projects from the perspective of public development companies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Habitat)
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Open AccessArticle
Mine Tailings Geopolymers as a Waste Management Solution for A More Sustainable Habitat
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 995; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11040995 - 15 Feb 2019
Abstract
The demand for low environmental impact of materials in our habitat is one of the current societal challenges. Along with other solutions of waste valorisation, alkali activation as geopolymers can be one possible solution of waste valorisation because they may allow, for instance, [...] Read more.
The demand for low environmental impact of materials in our habitat is one of the current societal challenges. Along with other solutions of waste valorisation, alkali activation as geopolymers can be one possible solution of waste valorisation because they may allow, for instance, an alternative solution for cement-based materials in some applications and it is one contribution for circular economy. This work has focused on the development and processing of geopolymers that incorporates as a fine aggregate a high-sulfidic mining waste (mine tailing), a difficult waste to process. Rheology analysis was applied as an important step to understand not only the geopolymers behaviour but also its transition from the fresh to the hardened state. The effect of precursor binder type (metakaolin or blast furnace slag), of mine tailing content and also the effect of temperature and curing conditions of different formulations were studied in this solution. It was possible to conclude that although this particular mine tailing is not a geopolymer binder precursor, it may be incorporated as an alternative fine aggregate in construction products. Furthermore, rheology could be used to follow up the geopolymer alkali-activation process and even to setup proper curing conditions and components contents in order to optimize the final mechanical strength of this material as a waste management solution. The final properties of these geopolymers compositions were adequate and after 28 days of curing, these geopolymers exhibit significant chemical resistance under severe test conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Habitat)
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Behavior and Measures to Prevent Condensation of a Newly Developed External Wall Panel
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 912; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030912 - 11 Feb 2019
Abstract
An external wall panel (EWP) as a novel alternative to provide spatial flexibility and improve the performance of external walls was developed. The purpose of this study was to analyze the thermal performance of this EWP. A simulation analysis was carried out to [...] Read more.
An external wall panel (EWP) as a novel alternative to provide spatial flexibility and improve the performance of external walls was developed. The purpose of this study was to analyze the thermal performance of this EWP. A simulation analysis was carried out to scrutinize whether it was vulnerable to condensation, considering South Korea’s weather conditions, and find countermeasures to prevent this. Results indicated that the indoor surface temperature with the measures of added insulation materials and an inserted thermal-breaker was over 16.5 °C and that these methods could prevent condensation. In addition, this study assessed unsteady-state thermal characteristics, linear thermal transmittance, and the effective thermal transmittance of EWP. Effective thermal transmittance was estimated in consideration of the heat transmittance of EWP and the linear thermal transmittance of its slabs and its connection parts. The thermal characteristics of the building envelope are needed to analyze effective thermal transmittance and linear thermal transmittance-associated thermal bridges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Habitat)
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Open AccessArticle
Circular and Flexible Infill Concepts: Integration of the Residential User Perspective
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010261 - 07 Jan 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Circular building has gained considerable attention in the Netherlands during the past decade. It is rooted in concepts such as circular economy (CE) and Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C®), accentuating the closing and coupling of material loops to establish effective and efficient resource flows. [...] Read more.
Circular building has gained considerable attention in the Netherlands during the past decade. It is rooted in concepts such as circular economy (CE) and Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C®), accentuating the closing and coupling of material loops to establish effective and efficient resource flows. Moreover, those concepts adhere to a systemic, holistic worldview, incorporating multiple flows and values. Although social aspects, such as health, wellbeing, and social inclusiveness, are generally part of circular building principles, specific benefits for end-users are not. This paper explores the synergistic potential of circular and flexible (Circ-Flex) criteria from the perspective of enhanced control and convenience for residents. The hypothesis is that without integrating the user domain, replicability of circular building concepts on a larger residential scale cannot be done in a truly sustainable manner. The paper is structured around two objectives: (1) further identifying the relationship between flexible and circular building; and (2) exploring the impact of circular, flexible building concepts and practices for the users of multi-family housing, specifically regarding interior partitioning. The research follows a mixed-mode methodology comprising of literature review, case study, expert consultations and a quick-scan assessment. Eleven Circ-Flex criteria are explored, grouped in three categories: flexibility capacity, circularity capacity, and user capacity. These criteria are applied to two partitioning variants, whilst exploring the performance regarding material circulation and user benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Habitat)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Building Information Modeling-Parametric Workflow Based Renovation Strategy for an Exemplary Apartment Building in Seoul, Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4494; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124494 - 29 Nov 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Apartments in South Korea have high maintenance costs and an average lifetime of 25 years due to poor construction qualities. The common apartment redevelopment strategy is completely demolishing the neighborhoods and then replacing them with new buildings. However, this research discusses the framework [...] Read more.
Apartments in South Korea have high maintenance costs and an average lifetime of 25 years due to poor construction qualities. The common apartment redevelopment strategy is completely demolishing the neighborhoods and then replacing them with new buildings. However, this research discusses the framework for the refurbishment of an existing building in Seoul using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and parametric tools. The virtual model of an exemplary existing building is constructed in a BIM environment. Parametric software is used to simulate the building’s environmental performance, in order to determine its energy demand for heating and cooling and the indoor comfort. In order to reduce the energy demand for heating and cooling, improve the indoor comfort, generate photovoltaic energy and extend the building’s lifetime, a modular building envelope renovation system is developed. Building simulation results of the improved building envelope are used to quantify the differences with the existing building. The research results illustrate significant improvements in energy performance, comfort and lifetime extension that can be achieved. Furthermore, a guideline for a streamlined building optimization process is provided, that can be transferred and used for the planning and optimization of other building renovation projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Habitat)
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Open AccessArticle
Constraints on the Promotion of Prefabricated Construction in China
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2516; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072516 - 18 Jul 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
Prefabricated construction has been proven effective, environmentally-friendly, and labor-friendly. It is widely considered a sustainable approach to the construction industry. China is still in the initial process of adopting prefabricated construction practices and has conducted a few studies to date on the constraints [...] Read more.
Prefabricated construction has been proven effective, environmentally-friendly, and labor-friendly. It is widely considered a sustainable approach to the construction industry. China is still in the initial process of adopting prefabricated construction practices and has conducted a few studies to date on the constraints of prefabricated construction up to the operation stage. This paper focuses on the major factors obstructing prefabricated construction development in China. Twenty-three variables affecting said development are summarized per the results of a literature review and a semi-structured interview. A questionnaire was delivered to developers, designers, contractors, engineers, component suppliers, and property managers. A total of 160 valid respondents were collected. Twenty-three variables were ranked by the mean score after an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) indicated that no statistical differences in the data from six stakeholders. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was employed to reduce the dimensionality of four factors: industry chain, cost, social climate and public opinion, and risk. The risk is found to be the main influencing factor even though it is rarely the focal point of research on prefabricated construction. The findings presented in this paper may assist different stakeholders in better understanding issues with prefabricated construction practices in China at present and, therefore, find workable solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Habitat)
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