sustainability-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Human-Centric Building Energy Efficiency Research for Sustainable Development

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2021) | Viewed by 17230

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CIRIAF – Interuniversity Research Centre, Department of Engineering, University of Perugia, Perugia 06125, Italy
Interests: Building Energy Efficiency; Sustainable Development; Thermal-energy simulation; Green Building; IEQ; Urban Sustainability; Occupant Behaviour; Occupant-Centric Building Design and Operation

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Thermal Engineering of the Built Environment Laboratory (TEBEL), School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Fribourg 1700, Switzerland
Interests: Human-Building Interaction; Occupant Behaviour; IEQ, Thermal comfort; Building Energy Simulation; Building Energy Efficiency; Occupant-Centric Building Design and Operation

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Nowadays, our research community is aware that the improvement of building energy efficiency is a must for achieving sustainable development at a large scale. The built environment, indeed, accounts for a large amount of global energy consumption. Accordingly, cities make allowance for a large sustainability potential. In this view, it has become increasingly evident that humans play a major role in building energy efficiency and urban sustainability. On the one hand, in light of growing efficiency and complexity of building technologies and systems, users’ energy awareness and behaviour have a significant impact on building energy performance. On the other hand, occupants expect increasingly higher standards for well-being and environmental comfort at home and in their workspace. Therefore, the human perspective needs to be carefully taken into account in building design and operation practice, and users should be educated and given the chance to keep up with sustainable building technologies.

This Special Issue of Sustainability is aimed at collecting scientific contributions designed to keep humans in the loop of up-to-date solutions for achieving building energy efficiency in view of urban sustainable development. To this aim, energy and environmental benefits of human-centric building design and operation should be assessed, including occupants’ well-being. Moreover, the analysis and leverage of users’ energy awareness for more sustainable cities and communities are critical aspects to be addressed.

Dr. Cristina Piselli
Dr. Verena M. Barthelmes
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

  • building energy efficiency
  • sustainable development
  • sustainable cities and communities
  • urban sustainability
  • social sustainability
  • occupant behaviour
  • human-centric design
  • human-centric operation
  • human-building interaction
  • human-based energy efficiency
  • energy awareness
  • well-being

Published Papers (5 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

26 pages, 9959 KiB  
Article
A Parametric Analysis for Short-Term Residential Electrification with Electric Water Tanks. The Case of Spain
by Pablo Carnero and Pilar Calatayud
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12070; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112070 - 01 Nov 2021
Viewed by 2189
Abstract
Buildings are great contributors to global GHG emissions, because they are responsible for direct and indirect emissions. In light of increased renewable energy share in the electricity mix, it is crucial to boost residential electrification for building decarbonization. Consequently, building regulation ought to [...] Read more.
Buildings are great contributors to global GHG emissions, because they are responsible for direct and indirect emissions. In light of increased renewable energy share in the electricity mix, it is crucial to boost residential electrification for building decarbonization. Consequently, building regulation ought to send the proper signals to the market to encourage electrification and avoid establishing new fossil fuel-based infrastructure, which may lock in future interventions and seriously compromise climate change mitigation. This paper studies short-term residential electrification with electric water tanks in Spain using a parametric analysis considering several water heater configurations with various sizes and management strategies, using different draw-off profiles, actual time-dependent electricity prices, and CO2 factors. The results demonstrate significant GHG savings when substituting fossil fuel boilers for any water heater configuration. However, current electricity prices are such that technology change is only cost effective for low hot water demands (1–2 people) and the provided fossil fuel supply is completely removed from dwellings. The exploitation of implicit demand response increases cost-effectiveness. The analysis of Spanish regulation shows that some elements of current policies on energy efficiency in buildings hamper residential electrification, consequently policy changes are proposed. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

22 pages, 3409 KiB  
Article
Enabling Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to Become Leaders in Energy Efficiency Using a Continuous Maturity Matrix
by Zarrin Fatima, Virpi Oksman and Risto Lahdelma
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10108; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810108 - 09 Sep 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2562
Abstract
SMEs play a crucial role in economies by providing large scale employment and contributing to much of the GDP. Despite their vital role, SMEs face a plethora of challenges, and often, the aspect of energy efficiency is overlooked. This paper conducted studies across [...] Read more.
SMEs play a crucial role in economies by providing large scale employment and contributing to much of the GDP. Despite their vital role, SMEs face a plethora of challenges, and often, the aspect of energy efficiency is overlooked. This paper conducted studies across Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, and Germany and devised an easy and ready-to-adopt approach to improve energy efficiency in SMEs. The new approach is based on a maturity matrix that supports continuous learning and development and provides expert recommendations on energy efficiency for SMEs around the world. The expert recommendations are based on a final score and aim to address the various challenges that SMEs face, such as limited access to knowledge and lack of awareness of energy efficiency. The approach may be easily adopted by any SME around the world. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 332 KiB  
Article
Cognitive Biases in Building Energy Decisions
by Maic Rakitta and Jannis Wernery
Sustainability 2021, 13(17), 9960; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179960 - 06 Sep 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2821
Abstract
Research on sustainability in the building sector currently focuses mainly on technical solutions while little attention is given to how behaviour influences the uptake of these solutions. Bounded rationality may have a significant impact on the effective implementation of more sustainable technologies that [...] Read more.
Research on sustainability in the building sector currently focuses mainly on technical solutions while little attention is given to how behaviour influences the uptake of these solutions. Bounded rationality may have a significant impact on the effective implementation of more sustainable technologies that are already available. However, empirical evidence on the effects of bounded rationality in the building sector, such as cognitive biases, is still lacking. Here, we present an empirical investigation of four cognitive biases in the building environment, namely the framing, anchor, default, and decoy effect. For that, energy-related decisions situations were presented to approximately 270 participants in an online survey. Our results show that awareness of greenhouse gas emissions from buildings can be raised through framing that the willingness to pay more for an energy-efficient home can be increased by presenting it as default, and that the choices can be shifted towards more energy-efficient appliances by using a decoy. The hypothesis that anchoring increases the willingness to pay more for the installation of a solar system could not be supported. These findings decrease the lack of empirical data on cognitive biases in the context of buildings and further indicate the potential of choice architecture in the building environment. The influence of cognitive biases in energy-related decisions should be used to increase the adaptation of sustainable technologies. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

20 pages, 10315 KiB  
Article
Influence of Complex Occupant Behavior Models on Cooling Energy Usage Analysis
by Sun-Hye Mun, Younghoon Kwak and Jung-Ho Huh
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1243; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031243 - 25 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1679
Abstract
The behavior of building occupants has been studied by researchers for building control as well as for predicting energy use. In this study, we analyzed the effect of the application of single and complex behavior models on the simulation results of residential buildings. [...] Read more.
The behavior of building occupants has been studied by researchers for building control as well as for predicting energy use. In this study, we analyzed the effect of the application of single and complex behavior models on the simulation results of residential buildings. Two occupant behaviors—window opening and closing and air conditioner (AC) usage—were simulated, which are known to be interconnected. This study had two purposes: The first was to integrate data analysis tools (R in this study) and building simulation tools (EnergyPlus in this study) so that two behaviors with interconnectivity could be reflected in building simulation analysis. The second purpose was to apply the behavior models in residential buildings to an integrated simulation environment in stages to analyze their relative influence on the building energy and indoor environment. The results of the study prove that the application of complex behavior is important for research regarding the prediction of actual energy consumption. The results help identify the gap between reality and the existing simulation methods; thereby, they can help improve methods related to energy consumption analysis. We hope that this study and its results will serve as a guide for researchers looking to study occupants’ behavior in the future. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

44 pages, 3635 KiB  
Review
The Role of Occupants in Buildings’ Energy Performance Gap: Myth or Reality?
by Ardeshir Mahdavi, Christiane Berger, Hadeer Amin, Eleni Ampatzi, Rune Korsholm Andersen, Elie Azar, Verena M. Barthelmes, Matteo Favero, Jakob Hahn, Dolaana Khovalyg, Henrik N. Knudsen, Alessandra Luna-Navarro, Astrid Roetzel, Fisayo C. Sangogboye, Marcel Schweiker, Mahnameh Taheri, Despoina Teli, Marianne Touchie and Silke Verbruggen
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3146; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063146 - 12 Mar 2021
Cited by 48 | Viewed by 6506
Abstract
Buildings’ expected (projected, simulated) energy use frequently does not match actual observations. This is commonly referred to as the energy performance gap. As such, many factors can contribute to the disagreement between expectations and observations. These include, for instance, uncertainty about buildings’ geometry, [...] Read more.
Buildings’ expected (projected, simulated) energy use frequently does not match actual observations. This is commonly referred to as the energy performance gap. As such, many factors can contribute to the disagreement between expectations and observations. These include, for instance, uncertainty about buildings’ geometry, construction, systems, and weather conditions. However, the role of occupants in the energy performance gap has recently attracted much attention. It has even been suggested that occupants are the main cause of the energy performance gap. This, in turn, has led to suggestions that better models of occupant behavior can reduce the energy performance gap. The present effort aims at the review and evaluation of the evidence for such claims. To this end, a systematic literature search was conducted and relevant publications were identified and reviewed in detail. The review entailed the categorization of the studies according to the scope and strength of the evidence for occupants’ role in the energy performance gap. Moreover, deployed calculation and monitoring methods, normalization procedures, and reported causes and magnitudes of the energy performance gap were documented and evaluated. The results suggest that the role of occupants as significant or exclusive contributors to the energy performance gap is not sufficiently substantiated by evidence. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop