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Buildings, Volume 7, Issue 2 (June 2017)

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Open AccessArticle Form Follows Environment: Biomimetic Approaches to Building Envelope Design for Environmental Adaptation
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 40; doi:10.3390/buildings7020040
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 27 April 2017 / Accepted: 9 May 2017 / Published: 12 May 2017
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Abstract
Building envelopes represent the interface between the outdoor environment and the indoor occupied spaces. They are often considered as barriers and shields, limiting solutions that adapt to environmental changes. Nature provides a large database of adaptation strategies that can be implemented in design
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Building envelopes represent the interface between the outdoor environment and the indoor occupied spaces. They are often considered as barriers and shields, limiting solutions that adapt to environmental changes. Nature provides a large database of adaptation strategies that can be implemented in design in general, and in the design of building envelopes in particular. Biomimetics, where solutions are obtained by emulating strategies from nature, is a rapidly growing design discipline in engineering, and an emerging field in architecture. This paper presents a biomimetic approach to facilitate the generation of design concepts, and enhance the development of building envelopes that are better suited to their environments. Morphology plays a significant role in the way systems adapt to environmental conditions, and provides a multi-functional interface to regulate heat, air, water, and light. In this work, we emphasize the functional role of morphology for environmental adaptation, where distinct morphologies, corresponding processes, their underlying mechanisms, and potential applications to buildings are distinguished. Emphasizing this morphological contribution to environmental adaptation would enable designers to apply a proper morphology for a desired environmental process, hence promoting the development of adaptive solutions for building envelopes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetics in Sustainable Architectural and Urban Design)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The TVT Glass Pavilion: Theoretical Study on a Highly Transparent Building Made with Long-Spanned TVT Portals Braced with Hybrid Glass-Steel Panels
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 50; doi:10.3390/buildings7020050
Received: 15 March 2017 / Revised: 8 June 2017 / Accepted: 9 June 2017 / Published: 14 June 2017
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Abstract
In contemporary buildings, the architectural demand for a complete dematerialisation of load bearing structures can be satisfied only in limited cases with the exclusive structural use of glass. Otherwise, for challenging applications such as long spanned or high-rise structures, the use of hybrid
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In contemporary buildings, the architectural demand for a complete dematerialisation of load bearing structures can be satisfied only in limited cases with the exclusive structural use of glass. Otherwise, for challenging applications such as long spanned or high-rise structures, the use of hybrid glass-steel systems is mandatory. Glass, fragile but highly compressive resistant, is associated with steel, ductile and tensile resistant. The present research shows the feasibility study for a fully glazed pavilion made of six TVT (Travi Vitree Tensegrity) portal frames longitudinally braced by pre-stressed hybrid glass panels. The frames are about 20 m in span and 8 m in height. Appropriate multiscalar FEM numerical analyses, calibrated on the collapse tests performed on previous TVT large-scale prototypes, stated that the structural performance would be able to withstand heavy static and dynamic loads and stated the observance of the Fail-Safe Design principles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traditional and Innovative Approaches in Seismic Design)
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Open AccessArticle Energy and Economic Evaluation of Green Roofs for Residential Buildings in Hot-Humid Climates
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 30; doi:10.3390/buildings7020030
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 11 March 2017 / Accepted: 22 March 2017 / Published: 29 March 2017
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Abstract
Green roofs may be considered a passive energy saving technology that also offer benefits like environmental friendliness and enhancement of aesthetic and architectural qualities of buildings. This paper examines the energy and economic viability of the green roof technology in the hot humid
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Green roofs may be considered a passive energy saving technology that also offer benefits like environmental friendliness and enhancement of aesthetic and architectural qualities of buildings. This paper examines the energy and economic viability of the green roof technology in the hot humid climate of Saudi Arabia by considering a modern four bedroom residential building in the city of Dhahran as a case study. The base case and green roof modelling of the selected building has been developed with the help of DesignBuilder software. The base case model has been validated with the help of 3-month measured data about the energy consumption without a green roof installed. The result shows that the energy consumption for the base case is 169 kWh/m2 while the energy consumption due to the application of a green roof on the entire roof surface is 110 kWh/m2. For the three investigated green roof options, energy saving is found to be in the range of 24% to 35%. The economic evaluation based on the net present value (NPV) approach for 40 years with consideration to other environmental advantages indicates that the benefits of the green roof technology are realized towards the end of the life cycle of the building. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Using Genetic Algorithms for Real Estate Appraisals
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 31; doi:10.3390/buildings7020031
Received: 4 February 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 27 March 2017 / Published: 30 March 2017
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Abstract
The main aim of this paper is the interpretation of the existing relationship between real estate rental prices and geographical location of housing units in a central urban area of Naples (Santa Lucia and Riviera of Chiaia neighborhoods). Genetic algorithms (GA) are used
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The main aim of this paper is the interpretation of the existing relationship between real estate rental prices and geographical location of housing units in a central urban area of Naples (Santa Lucia and Riviera of Chiaia neighborhoods). Genetic algorithms (GA) are used for this purpose. Also, to verify the reliability of genetic algorithms for real estate appraisals and, at the same time, to show the forecasting potentialities of these techniques in the analysis of housing markets, a multiple regression analysis (MRA) was applied comparing results of GA and MRA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessArticle Measuring and Interpreting Urban Externalities in Real-Estate Data: A Spatio-Temporal Difference-in-Differences (STDID) Estimator
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 51; doi:10.3390/buildings7020051
Received: 24 May 2017 / Revised: 8 June 2017 / Accepted: 13 June 2017 / Published: 16 June 2017
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Abstract
It is now almost impossible to deal with spatial data without considering some explicit specification that captures possible spatial effects. One valuable feature of spatial econometrics models is their decomposition of marginal effects into spatial spillover effect and spatial externalities. Progress in interpreting
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It is now almost impossible to deal with spatial data without considering some explicit specification that captures possible spatial effects. One valuable feature of spatial econometrics models is their decomposition of marginal effects into spatial spillover effect and spatial externalities. Progress in interpreting spatial econometrics models has now been extended to the spatial-panel case. However, little consideration has been given to the possible interpretation of models using spatial data pooled over time. This paper proposes a spatio-temporal difference-in-differences (STDID) estimator to measure the effect of urban externalities, such as transport infrastructures, as revealed through real-estate prices. Based on an empirical application for a new development of commuter trains in the Montreal suburbs, this paper shows how such propositions can help us to better understand and evaluate changes in mass transit systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessArticle The Experience of International Sustainability Protocols for Retrofitting Historical Buildings in Italy
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 52; doi:10.3390/buildings7020052
Received: 26 April 2017 / Revised: 9 June 2017 / Accepted: 12 June 2017 / Published: 16 June 2017
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Abstract
The sustainability and efficiency of buildings represents a crucial issue since the building sector is currently responsible for more than 40% of energy consumption and emissions. This concern is extended to historical buildings, as they are typically low-performance constructions usually equipped with ineffective
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The sustainability and efficiency of buildings represents a crucial issue since the building sector is currently responsible for more than 40% of energy consumption and emissions. This concern is extended to historical buildings, as they are typically low-performance constructions usually equipped with ineffective systems. For these reasons, the upgrade of historical constructions from an energy and environmental perspective is urgent, especially in those countries where such buildings represent more than half of the building stock. This work concerns the refurbishment of a historical Italian building by integrating passive and active solutions to optimize the indoor thermal comfort and the energy performance. To this aim, the innovative GBC Historic Building® rating system, a new tool evaluating the sustainability level of conservation-related activities on pre-industrial buildings, is applied. A combined trigeneration heat and power plant with an absorption chiller to produce cooling and powered by vegetable oil is installed in the building. A dynamic simulation of the building is also carried out to predict the post-retrofit energy performance upgrading. The final aim is to propose an integrated approach for the preservation and energy upgrading of existing constructions by improving their energy performance and environmental quality while protecting their heritage value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Passive Strategies for Building Renovation in Temperate Climate)
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Open AccessArticle A Control Strategy of DC Building Microgrid Connected to the Neighborhood and AC Power Network
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 42; doi:10.3390/buildings7020042
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 12 May 2017 / Accepted: 17 May 2017 / Published: 20 May 2017
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Abstract
Recently, the use of DC microgrid distribution system has become more attractive than traditional AC systems due to their energy efficiency and ability to easily integrate with renewable energy sources and batteries. This paper proposes a 500 V DC microgrid which consists of
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Recently, the use of DC microgrid distribution system has become more attractive than traditional AC systems due to their energy efficiency and ability to easily integrate with renewable energy sources and batteries. This paper proposes a 500 V DC microgrid which consists of a 20 kWp photovoltaic panel, batteries, and DC loads. A hierarchical control strategy to ensure balance power of the DC microgrid and the maintenance of common DC bus voltage is presented. The capability of exchanging power energy of the microgrid with the power system of neighborhood buildings is also considered. Typical operation modes are simulated in the Matlab/simulink environment to confirm the good performance of the controllers and the efficiency of appropriately controlling the charge–discharge of the battery system. This research is expected to bring benefits to the design and operation of the system, such as reducing the capacity of batteries, increasing the self-supply of buildings, and decreasing the electricity demand from the AC grid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advance in Building Integrated Microgrid Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Patterns of Growth—Biomimetics and Architectural Design
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 32; doi:10.3390/buildings7020032
Received: 30 October 2016 / Revised: 12 March 2017 / Accepted: 28 March 2017 / Published: 4 April 2017
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Abstract
This paper discusses the approach of biomimetic design in architecture applied to the theme of growth in biology by taking two exemplary research projects at the intersection of arts and sciences. The first project, ‘Biornametics’, dealt with patterns from nature; the second project
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This paper discusses the approach of biomimetic design in architecture applied to the theme of growth in biology by taking two exemplary research projects at the intersection of arts and sciences. The first project, ‘Biornametics’, dealt with patterns from nature; the second project ‘Growing as Building (GrAB)’ took on biological growth as a specific theme for the transfer to architecture and the arts. Within a timeframe of five years (2011–2015), the research was conducted under the Program for Arts-based Research PEEK (Programm zur Entwicklung und Erschliessung der Künste) of the Austrian Science Fund FWF (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung). The underlying hypothesis was that growth processes in nature have not been studied for transfer into technology and architecture yet and that, with advanced software tools, promising applications could be found. To ensure a high degree of innovation, this research was done with an interdisciplinary team of architects, engineers, and scientists (mainly biologists) to lay the groundwork for future product-oriented technological solutions. Growth, as one of the important characteristics of living organisms, is used as a frame for research into systems and principles that shall deliver innovative and sustainable solutions in architecture and the arts. Biomimetics as a methodology was used to create and guide information transfer from the life sciences to innovative proto-architectural solutions. The research aimed at transferring qualities present in biological growth; for example, adaptiveness, exploration, or local resource harvesting into technical design and production processes. In contrast to our current building construction, implementing principles of growth could potentially transform building towards a more integrated and sustainable setting, a new living architecture. Tools and methods, especially Quality Function Deployment (QFD) for matching biological role models with growth principles and architecturally desired functions and a Biolab as an experimentation platform are presented. Three main experimental trajectories were explored that matched the objectives of the research: (1) Transfer from biology into architecture, namely self-growing structures (proto-steps in form of a mobile 3D printer working with local material); (2) Integration of biology into material systems, namely fragmented waste matter grown into one solid building material (mycelium); and (3) Interventions in existing architecture, namely optimization of 3D path-finding through a single cell organism (slime mold). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetics in Sustainable Architectural and Urban Design)
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Open AccessArticle Does the Energy Label (EL) Matter in the Residential Market? A Stated Preference Analysis in Barcelona
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 53; doi:10.3390/buildings7020053
Received: 28 March 2017 / Revised: 6 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 June 2017 / Published: 16 June 2017
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Abstract
Energy performance in buildings has become a milestone in EU environmental policy in the last 15 years. Nonetheless, in some countries such as Spain the full acceptance of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is still relatively rare and novel, with little evidence
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Energy performance in buildings has become a milestone in EU environmental policy in the last 15 years. Nonetheless, in some countries such as Spain the full acceptance of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is still relatively rare and novel, with little evidence as to how relevant it is in the real estate market. There are different reasons for this phenomenon: on the one hand, the real estate crisis has paralyzed the completion of most of the works in new/refurbished efficient buildings (which renders it impossible to use revealed preference methods); on the other hand, information is not complete and the consumer’s perception of the relevant cost/benefits could be incorrect. For this reason, assessing the trade-off between the energy label and other specific attributes of the housing market has become important. To that end, a choice experiment following an RPL (Random Parameter Logit) model was employed. This form is suitable to accommodate various empirical situations where the assumptions of the Conditional Logit model have to be relaxed. Results suggest that the Energy Label (EL) does matter in the real estate market in relation to other residential attributes. Marginal willingness to pay for an “A” label instead of an “E” is significantly higher than the stated savings in energy costs. The respondents’ utility function seems to be also influenced by their educational level, as well as by their preference to own a house as opposed to renting it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessArticle Seismic Response of a Platform-Frame System with Steel Columns
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 33; doi:10.3390/buildings7020033
Received: 30 January 2017 / Revised: 30 March 2017 / Accepted: 31 March 2017 / Published: 7 April 2017
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Abstract
Timber platform-frame shear walls are characterized by high ductility and diffuse energy dissipation but limited in-plane shear resistance. A novel lightweight constructive system composed of steel columns braced with oriented strand board (OSB) panels was conceived and tested. Preliminary laboratory tests were performed
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Timber platform-frame shear walls are characterized by high ductility and diffuse energy dissipation but limited in-plane shear resistance. A novel lightweight constructive system composed of steel columns braced with oriented strand board (OSB) panels was conceived and tested. Preliminary laboratory tests were performed to study the OSB-to-column connections with self-drilling screws. Then, the seismic response of a shear wall was determined performing a quasi-static cyclic-loading test of a full-scale specimen. Results presented in this work in terms of force-displacement capacity show that this system confers to shear walls high in-plane strength and stiffness with good ductility and dissipative capacity. Therefore, the incorporation of steel columns within OSB bracing panels results in a strong and stiff platform-frame system with high potential for low- and medium-rise buildings in seismic-prone areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seismic Performance of Timber Platform Frame Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Nearly Zero Energy Buildings: An Overview of the Main Construction Features across Europe
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 43; doi:10.3390/buildings7020043
Received: 28 March 2017 / Revised: 12 May 2017 / Accepted: 23 May 2017 / Published: 31 May 2017
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Abstract
Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEBs) represent the backbone to achieve ambitious European goals in terms of energy efficiency and CO2 emissions reduction. As defined in the EPBD, by 31 December 2020, all of the new buildings will have to reach a target of
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Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEBs) represent the backbone to achieve ambitious European goals in terms of energy efficiency and CO2 emissions reduction. As defined in the EPBD, by 31 December 2020, all of the new buildings will have to reach a target of nearly zero energy. This target encourages the adoption of innovative business models as well as the technology development in the building sector, aimed at reducing energy demand and exploiting local renewable energy sources (RES). Assessing the share of implementation and the performance of technologies in new or renovated nZEBs is strategic to identify the market trends and to define design guidelines with the most effective solutions according to the context. In this regard, this paper analyses the construction features of a set of nZEBs, collected in 17 European countries within the EU IEE ZEBRA2020 project, with a special focus on the influence of the boundary conditions on the technologies adopted. The results show a general high insulation level of the envelope and recurrent specific technologies in the Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) system (i.e., heat pumps and mechanical ventilation), while the climatic conditions do not drive significantly the design approach and the nZEB features. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Mass Appraisal Model Based on Market Segment Parameters
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 34; doi:10.3390/buildings7020034
Received: 2 January 2017 / Revised: 12 April 2017 / Accepted: 17 April 2017 / Published: 20 April 2017
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Abstract
The proposed evaluation scheme is a uni-equation model to evaluate properties of Mass Appraisal (MA) in terms of widespread availability of sample data. It all allows the use of statistical models and in the opposite conditions of the absence of data of comparable
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The proposed evaluation scheme is a uni-equation model to evaluate properties of Mass Appraisal (MA) in terms of widespread availability of sample data. It all allows the use of statistical models and in the opposite conditions of the absence of data of comparable properties, the functions of similar market areas are known as well as the ones near to those for which you want to estimate the function. Of course, the accuracy of the evaluation increases with the amount of available data, with other equal conditions and evaluations carried out without data (but in the presence of other market information). It requires extra-statistical appraisal procedures involving a complete knowledge of the real estate market. However, such knowledge is also required in the MA performed by quantitative models with regard to the data sampling and performance monitoring process. The model considers micro-level characteristics of the properties and macro-level parameters of the real estate market segments. The appraisal model defines the prediction function with both the statistical models and estimation procedures. For this purpose, the model considers four specific situations: the construction of a statistical model operating with a sufficiently large sample of market prices; the construction of a prediction function operating with a very few number of market prices samples; in this situation, the appraisal function of market value is defined by using a sample of market prices referred to comparable properties, and these are few for statistical use but perfectly suitable to the appraisal process; the construction of a prediction function operating with only one market price; the construction of a prediction function operating in the absence of real estate data but with similar functions of market areas with other estimated proprieties. The presented model provides a uniform method of estimating the market value of properties (and fees), through the modular functions. The model studied is able to operate also with reduced information, considering the practical circumstances, the boundary conditions, the application precautions and the significance of the results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
Open AccessArticle Economic Valuation of Ground Mounted Photovoltaic Systems
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 54; doi:10.3390/buildings7020054
Received: 10 April 2017 / Revised: 8 June 2017 / Accepted: 13 June 2017 / Published: 16 June 2017
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Abstract
The appraisal of ground mounted photovoltaic systems is an important question, due to increasing investments in renewable energies. The costs related to installation and maintenance, and the economic benefits related to the energy saving, suggests the use of an income approach, in order
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The appraisal of ground mounted photovoltaic systems is an important question, due to increasing investments in renewable energies. The costs related to installation and maintenance, and the economic benefits related to the energy saving, suggests the use of an income approach, in order to consider the financial aspects of the photovoltaic systems. This paper proposes the use of the Discounted Cash Flow Analysis (DCFA). The DCFA allows to simulate the entire life cycle of the photovoltaic system, from the acquisition date to the end of its life cycle, to evaluate the most probable market value by discounting the annual cash flows generated by the system. In particular, the paper proposes a procedure to determine the discount rate in an innovative manner through the combination of a conventional financial method (the Build up Approach) and the analytical method which makes recourse to the use of the ascending and descending influences that act, each with positive or negative sign, on the specific risk factors related to the photovoltaic investment. To obtain an objective appraisal of the discount rate, the theory of the ascending and descending influences has been applied in this specific case for the calculation of the risk premium. The percentage incidences of the ascending and descending influences, which influence the formation of the risks to which they refer, are determined through this study for all the intrinsic factors, which are part of the photovoltaic investment risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
Open AccessArticle A Model to Assess the Feasibility of Public–Private Partnership for Social Housing
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 44; doi:10.3390/buildings7020044
Received: 9 March 2017 / Revised: 11 May 2017 / Accepted: 27 May 2017 / Published: 1 June 2017
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Abstract
The effects of the world economic and financial crisis, which began in 2007 and is still in progress, has made increasingly sharp the line of demarcation between those able to access home ownership on the free market, and those unable to do so.
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The effects of the world economic and financial crisis, which began in 2007 and is still in progress, has made increasingly sharp the line of demarcation between those able to access home ownership on the free market, and those unable to do so. For the European Union’s member states, Social Housing (SH) policies include all the initiatives aimed at providing housing support for all the weak segments of the population; these policies have declined differently by different Member States according to their specific needs. In Italy, the growing need for SH accommodation together with the shortage of public resources makes developing forms of Public–Private Partnership (PPP) necessary. Evaluation techniques like Break-Even Analysis and Contribution Margin Analysis are useful in planning interventions including SH initiatives in the context of real estate development or retraining initiatives in PPP (in negotiation processes or in project financing). These kinds of techniques especially allow evaluation of public and private convenience in PPP. In the present work, an assessment procedure has been structured: first the main parameters of a settlement of SH initiative in PPP are defined; subsequently, it is possible to assess the feasibility and the financial balance of the initiative itself. The procedure has been applied to a case study: the interrupted initiative of self-renovation in Via Grotta Perfetta 315 in Rome (Italy). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessArticle Lightweight Concrete Containing Phase Change Materials (PCMs): A Numerical Investigation on the Thermal Behaviour of Cladding Panels
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 35; doi:10.3390/buildings7020035
Received: 29 December 2016 / Revised: 11 April 2017 / Accepted: 17 April 2017 / Published: 25 April 2017
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Abstract
The use of phase change materials (PCMs) in building elements has gained increasing popularity in recent years because of the potential energy savings that result from the heat stored during variable temperature–time histories. This paper describes the results of non-linear numerical analyses on
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The use of phase change materials (PCMs) in building elements has gained increasing popularity in recent years because of the potential energy savings that result from the heat stored during variable temperature–time histories. This paper describes the results of non-linear numerical analyses on sandwich panels characterized by different geometry and consisting of an innovative concrete, i.e., lightweight concrete with aggregates containing PCMs. The amount of embedded PCMs has no equal in the literature, and this calls for a detailed assessment of its thermal performance within a typical building element. The heat transfer process inside the panels is modelled via finite elements in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the addition of PCMs with regard to insulation. The results show that adding PCMs may significantly reduce (by up to 20%) the energy required for cooling in the hot season, while the reduction of the energy required for heating in the cold season is lower (up to 10%). Moreover, there is a significant reduction in the instantaneous power required, both for heating and cooling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insulation Materials for Residential Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Creating a Resource Cadaster—A Case Study of a District in the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 45; doi:10.3390/buildings7020045
Received: 14 February 2017 / Revised: 30 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 2 June 2017
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Abstract
Today, both resource efficiency in general and the efficient use of natural resources specifically in the building sector are major political issues. Recent studies on resource efficiency have found the “anthropogenic stock” of the building sector to outweigh natural resource stocks. To make
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Today, both resource efficiency in general and the efficient use of natural resources specifically in the building sector are major political issues. Recent studies on resource efficiency have found the “anthropogenic stock” of the building sector to outweigh natural resource stocks. To make the anthropogenic stock accessible, material quantities with their individual composition need to be estimated and extrapolated to regional level. A geographical information system (GIS) is used as tool to handle the building specific data and combine them on regional level to calculate the anthropogenic stock. The resulting resource cadaster reflects the material quantities, divided into sixteen material fractions, of a specific residential district in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area—a typical urban area in Germany. The case study area was weighted in total between 103.5 kt and 93 kt, depending on the dataset. This paper offers a step-by-step description of this approach, whereby a consistent dataset was created throughout the process of data collection and validation. In order to demonstrate the broader application of the resource cadaster, the results were extrapolated to the residential building sector of the entire federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In highly concentrated areas, like the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan area, both area-wide classification of material quantities and their regional localization are necessary to make the anthropogenic stock accessible. Information about toxic substances, however, also needs to be included in the process of data collection. This method of mapping could thus provide the foundation for future (re)uses of this stock. This study offers some concrete steps in the direction of achieving a circular economy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Rooftop PV Potential in the Residential Sector of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 46; doi:10.3390/buildings7020046
Received: 9 March 2017 / Revised: 30 May 2017 / Accepted: 1 June 2017 / Published: 5 June 2017
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Abstract
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has a fast growing building sector driven by factors like burgeoning population, economic and infrastructure development and modernization. Buildings, owing to their energy intensive operation, are imposing significant energy, environmental and economic burdens for the country. To
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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has a fast growing building sector driven by factors like burgeoning population, economic and infrastructure development and modernization. Buildings, owing to their energy intensive operation, are imposing significant energy, environmental and economic burdens for the country. To overcome these challenges and improve the sustainability levels in the building and energy sectors, it has been decided to develop 9500 MWs of renewable energy projects by 2023. Given the annual solar radiation level of over 2200 kWh/m2, solar energy is expected to play the predominant role in achieving this target. Traditionally, KSA’s emphasis has been to pursue large-scale energy projects. Globally, however, small scale and building related projects have significantly contributed to the rapid growth of solar energy. Application of solar technologies in buildings is one of the important areas that has been ignored in the country. This paper explores the potential for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) in KSA’s residential sector. Taking into account appropriate PV design considerations and local building construction and cultural practices, it calculates the power generation potential for 13 major cities. It is found that a total of 51 TWh of electricity can be annually generated from these cities, accounting for 30% of the total domestic demand. Findings of a case study on application of the PV system on 248,452 m2 of rooftop area of the residential buildings in the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals undertaken with the help of ArcGIS 10.2 and PVsyst modeling have also been provided. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Comparison of Space Heating Energy Consumption of Residential Buildings Based on Traditional and Model-Based Techniques
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 27; doi:10.3390/buildings7020027
Received: 18 December 2016 / Revised: 6 March 2017 / Accepted: 20 March 2017 / Published: 23 March 2017
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Abstract
This paper presents a comparison of different scenarios in controlling the space heating systems in residential buildings. The space heating energy consumption of a three-storey residential building is estimated using traditional control methods (fixed-temperature schedule and fixed-time schedule) and a mathematical model-based control
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This paper presents a comparison of different scenarios in controlling the space heating systems in residential buildings. The space heating energy consumption of a three-storey residential building is estimated using traditional control methods (fixed-temperature schedule and fixed-time schedule) and a mathematical model-based control strategy. The model-based control technique takes the usage pattern of the building into account and operates the heaters based on the calculated heating time of the building. The results from the experiments confirm that the use of a model in heating control is the best option, which can save up to 1400 kWh and 320 kWh per year compared to a fixed-temperature schedule and fixed-time schedule, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Demand-Side Management on Thermal Comfort and Energy Costs in a Residential nZEB
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 37; doi:10.3390/buildings7020037
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 28 April 2017 / Accepted: 2 May 2017 / Published: 9 May 2017
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Abstract
In this study, simulation work has been carried out to investigate the impact of a demand-side management control strategy in a residential nZEB. A refurbished apartment within a multi-family dwelling representative of Mediterranean building habits was chosen as a study case and modelled
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In this study, simulation work has been carried out to investigate the impact of a demand-side management control strategy in a residential nZEB. A refurbished apartment within a multi-family dwelling representative of Mediterranean building habits was chosen as a study case and modelled within a simulation framework. A flexibility strategy based on set-point modulation depending on the energy price was applied to the building. The impact of the control strategy on thermal comfort was studied in detail with several methods retrieved from the standards or other literature, differentiating the effects on day and night living zones. It revealed a slight decrease of comfort when implementing flexibility, although this was not prejudicial. In addition, the applied strategy caused a simultaneous increase of the electricity used for heating by up to 7% and a reduction of the corresponding energy costs by up to around 20%. The proposed control thereby constitutes a promising solution for shifting heating loads towards periods of lower prices and is able to provide benefits for both the user and the grid sides. Beyond that, the activation of energy flexibility in buildings (nZEB in the present case) will participate in a more successful integration of renewable energy sources (RES) in the energy mix. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Integrated Lighting Efficiency Analysis in Large Industrial Buildings to Enhance Indoor Environmental Quality
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 47; doi:10.3390/buildings7020047
Received: 2 May 2017 / Revised: 28 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 5 June 2017
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Abstract
We present observations from evaluation of internal environmental quality of industrial halls with priority on daylighting in combination with the integral lighting. The physical parameters related to indoor lighting in large industrial halls in winter and summer periods were analyzed using in situ
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We present observations from evaluation of internal environmental quality of industrial halls with priority on daylighting in combination with the integral lighting. The physical parameters related to indoor lighting in large industrial halls in winter and summer periods were analyzed using in situ measurements and computational methods. These are part of a comprehensive research on indoor environmental quality of industrial halls with the aims of saving energy and providing a comfortable environment for the workers while improving the productivity. The results showed that the procedures used for evaluation of residential or office buildings may not be used for industrial buildings. We also observed that the criteria of occupants’ comforts for indoor industrial buildings may differ from those of other kinds of buildings. Based on these results, an adequate attention is required for designing the industrial buildings. For this reason, appropriate evaluation methods and criteria should be created. We found the measured values of daylight factor very close to the skylight component of the total illumination. The skylight component was observed on average 30% that of the measured daylight factor values. Although the daylight is not emphasized when designing the industrial buildings and its contribution is small, but it is very important for the workers psychology and physiology. The workers must feel a connection with the exterior environment; otherwise, their productivity decreases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Multi-Criteria Analysis in Compound Decision Processes: The AHP and the Architectural Competition for the Chamber of Deputies in Rome (Italy)
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 38; doi:10.3390/buildings7020038
Received: 8 March 2017 / Revised: 29 April 2017 / Accepted: 3 May 2017 / Published: 8 May 2017
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Abstract
In 1967, a national architectural competition was released for a preliminary project proposal, aimed at the realization of the new building for the Chamber of Deputies in Rome. The outcomes of that competition were unusual: eighteen projects were declared joint winners, and no
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In 1967, a national architectural competition was released for a preliminary project proposal, aimed at the realization of the new building for the Chamber of Deputies in Rome. The outcomes of that competition were unusual: eighteen projects were declared joint winners, and no winner was consequently selected. With reference to that event, this research aims to examine the usefulness of the evaluation tools that are currently employed and the positive effects that one of these techniques would have had, as support for the identification of the “winner” project, are highlighted. Therefore, an hypothetical examination/adjustment of the decision process of that competition through the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is developed, analyzing the outputs obtained by the implementations of this technique on the final decision. In addition to confirming the usefulness of the evaluation tools for compound and conflicting decision processes, the results of this experiment led to a further understanding of the socio-cultural dynamics related to the original outcomes of the competition analyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessArticle Annual Performance of Sensible and Total Heat Recovery in Ventilation Systems: Humidity Control Constraints for European Climates
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 28; doi:10.3390/buildings7020028
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 15 March 2017 / Accepted: 21 March 2017 / Published: 25 March 2017
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Abstract
Ensuring a comfortable indoor air quality requires a minimum fresh air supply by ventilation. Moreover, the improvement of the air tightness in new and refurbished high performance buildings enhances the role of mechanical ventilation and its importance in further increasing the energy efficiency.
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Ensuring a comfortable indoor air quality requires a minimum fresh air supply by ventilation. Moreover, the improvement of the air tightness in new and refurbished high performance buildings enhances the role of mechanical ventilation and its importance in further increasing the energy efficiency. Indeed, a reduction of the ventilation load can be achieved by installing air-to-air heat recovery devices, whose potential energy savings can be easily assessed by means of their nominal effectiveness. However, this estimation does not consider the impact on the overall performance of the system, in particular when humidity control is needed. Proper control strategies can be defined on the basis of the indoor latent load to prevent preheating or avoid moisture recovery when dehumidification by cooling is then required. In this work, the energy saving potential of heat recovery systems has been analyzed, considering the impact of different control strategies on both energy and cost savings. The calculations have been generalized using the specific latent load, which allows for the analysis of strategies and savings based on typical utilization categories, without considering in detail all the building characteristics. Representative hourly weather data for 66 European cities have been used to evaluate sensible and total heat recovery devices. The energy and the cost saving results have been mapped per each European Köppen-Geiger climate class and each country, respectively. The proposed strategies based on humidity control can strongly reduce the attractiveness of total heat recovery with respect to sensible heat recovery in terms of energy and cost savings, especially when high specific latent loads are considered. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mass Timber Rocking Panel Retrofit of a Four-Story Soft-Story Building with Full-Scale Shake Table Validation
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 48; doi:10.3390/buildings7020048
Received: 14 March 2017 / Revised: 20 May 2017 / Accepted: 24 May 2017 / Published: 8 June 2017
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Abstract
Soft-story wood-frame buildings have been recognized as a disaster preparedness problem for decades. There are tens of thousands of these multi-family three- and four-story structures throughout California and other cities in the United States. The majority were constructed between 1920 and 1970, with
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Soft-story wood-frame buildings have been recognized as a disaster preparedness problem for decades. There are tens of thousands of these multi-family three- and four-story structures throughout California and other cities in the United States. The majority were constructed between 1920 and 1970, with many being prevalent in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The NEES-Soft project was a five-university multi-industry effort that culminated in a series of full-scale soft-story wood-frame building tests to validate retrofit philosophies proposed by (1) the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) P-807 guidelines and (2) a performance-based seismic retrofit (PBSR) approach developed within the project. Four different retrofit designs were developed and validated at full-scale, each with specified performance objectives, which were typically not the same. This paper focuses on the retrofit design using cross laminated timber (CLT) rocking panels and presents the experimental results of the full-scale shake table test of a four-story 370 m2 (4000 ft2) soft-story test building with that FEMA P-807 focused retrofit in place. The building was subjected to the 1989 Loma Prieta and 1992 Cape Mendocino ground motions scaled to 5% damped spectral accelerations ranging from 0.2 to 0.9 g. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seismic Performance of Timber Platform Frame Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle The Implications of Climate Zones on the Cost-Optimal Level and Cost-Effectiveness of Building Envelope Energy Renovation and Space Heat Demand Reduction
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 39; doi:10.3390/buildings7020039
Received: 14 February 2017 / Revised: 26 April 2017 / Accepted: 3 May 2017 / Published: 10 May 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (8156 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The cost-optimal level of energy performance for buildings shall be identified according to the European directive of 2010. The Swedish building stock needs comprehensive knowledge and an overall strategy for the cost-optimal level of renovation. This paper studies the contribution of Swedish climate
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The cost-optimal level of energy performance for buildings shall be identified according to the European directive of 2010. The Swedish building stock needs comprehensive knowledge and an overall strategy for the cost-optimal level of renovation. This paper studies the contribution of Swedish climate zones to the cost-optimal level of renovation on a multi-story residential building in Sweden from the building owner perspective. The building space heat demand is simulated for four Swedish climate zones. The net present profit (NPP) method is defined and used in this study in order to analyze the cost-optimal level and the cost-effective renovation of building envelope components (e.g., attic floor, basement walls, exterior walls and windows). The implication of different discount rates is studied, as well. The results show that the optimum renovation of the building envelope offers 51% more energy savings for space heating when the building is in a northern climate zone compared to a southern zone. The study suggests that different renovation strategies for the building stock renovation need to be identified, separately, for each climate zone. The NPP analysis identifies the minimum required investment and maximum achievable energy savings that are needed to have a cost-effective renovation. The broad range of studied climate zones provides the opportunity to apply the obtained results to other climate zones by either interpolation or extrapolation of NPPs for the buildings with similar characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Refurbishment and Energy Performance)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Measures for Managing Issues in Post-Disaster Housing Reconstruction
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 29; doi:10.3390/buildings7020029
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 23 March 2017 / Published: 28 March 2017
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Abstract
After large scale disasters, reconstruction is often initiated by stakeholders to minimize disaster impacts and to mitigate a recurrence. For most reconstruction programmes, priority is given to reconstruction of permanent housing in consideration of the multiplying effects of housing reconstruction on social and
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After large scale disasters, reconstruction is often initiated by stakeholders to minimize disaster impacts and to mitigate a recurrence. For most reconstruction programmes, priority is given to reconstruction of permanent housing in consideration of the multiplying effects of housing reconstruction on social and economic recovery and the development of community resilience. However, numerous challenges arise during implementation which have reportedly been poorly managed and this has resulted in the ineffectiveness of housing reconstruction programmes and the failure of housing interventions to achieve their intended goals. In previous, related research, the issues affecting the implementation of housing reconstruction programmes were identified and a conceptual framework proposed. This study systematically reviews the academic literature, case studies and working papers in order to identify measures that have been applied by managers of reconstruction programmes to overcome these previously identified issues. The measures identified will be used to develop the previously proposed conceptual framework and thus to enable data collection through an experts’ opinion survey. Findings from the experts’ opinion survey will, in turn, be used to deduce best practice measures for managing permanent housing reconstruction programmes. This study is intended to aid policy making by providing stakeholders with good practice measures for managing issues in post-disaster housing reconstruction. In addition, it improves the knowledge base by presenting current housing reconstruction management practices and recommending how they can be improved for better community recovery and resilience building after large-scale disasters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Strengthening Masonry Arches with Lime-Based Mortar Composite
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 49; doi:10.3390/buildings7020049
Received: 13 April 2017 / Revised: 1 June 2017 / Accepted: 8 June 2017 / Published: 13 June 2017
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Abstract
In recent decades, many strengthening interventions on masonry elements were performed by using fiber reinforced polymers (FRPs). These advanced materials proved to be effective to increase the load-carrying capacity of masonry elements and to improve their structural behavior, avoiding the most critical failure
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In recent decades, many strengthening interventions on masonry elements were performed by using fiber reinforced polymers (FRPs). These advanced materials proved to be effective to increase the load-carrying capacity of masonry elements and to improve their structural behavior, avoiding the most critical failure modes. Despite the advantages of this technique compared to more traditional methods, FRP systems have disadvantages related to their low resistance to high temperatures, impossibility of application on wet surfaces, low permeability, and poor compatibility with masonry supports. Therefore, composite materials made of a fiber textile embedded in an inorganic matrix were recently proposed as alternatives to FRPs for strengthening historic masonry constructions. These composite materials are easier to install, have higher resistance to high temperatures, and permit higher vapor permeability than FRPs. The inorganic matrix is frequently a cement-based mortar, and the composite materials made of a fiber textile embedded in a cement-based mortar are usually identified as FRCM (fabric reinforced cementitious matrix) composites. More recently, the use of natural lime mortar as an inorganic matrix has been proposed as an alternative to cement-based mortars when historic compatibility with the substrate is strictly required, as in case of restoration of historic buildings. In this paper, the effectiveness of a fabric made of basalt fibers embedded in lime mortar matrix (Basalt-FRLM) for the strengthening of masonry arches is investigated. An experimental investigation was performed on 1:2 scaled brick masonry arches strengthened at the extrados with a layer of Basalt-FRLM and tested under vertical load. The results obtained are compared with previous results obtained by the authors by testing masonry arches strengthened at their extrados with FRCM and FRP composites. This investigation highlights the effectiveness of Basalt-FRLM in increasing load-currying and the displacement capacities of masonry arches. The Basalt-FRLM-strengthened arch exhibited higher displacement capacity when compared to arches strengthened with polymeric and cementitious matrix composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traditional and Innovative Approaches in Seismic Design)
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Review

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Open AccessReview A Review of Daylighting Strategies in Schools: State of the Art and Expected Future Trends
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 41; doi:10.3390/buildings7020041
Received: 29 March 2017 / Revised: 10 May 2017 / Accepted: 11 May 2017 / Published: 13 May 2017
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Abstract
The study of daylight conditions within educational buildings has been a topic of interest since the nineteenth century in western countries, and European ones in particular. Although it has been argued that providing a view outside—or even using daylight instead of more stable
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The study of daylight conditions within educational buildings has been a topic of interest since the nineteenth century in western countries, and European ones in particular. Although it has been argued that providing a view outside—or even using daylight instead of more stable and manageable artificial light—could reduce students’ performance without providing a pleasant and healthy environment, nowadays it seems that a large consensus upon the need to design well daylit spaces is being reached. This paper reviews how the research community has tackled the task of understanding and solving the complex relationships amongst local climate, users’ needs and design constraints in school buildings by showing the different approaches used and technological solutions suggested. The reported case studies, based either on experimental measurements or on simulations, highlight the need of a comprehensive approach to the topic to fully understand the non-trivial requirements of a daylit educational environment. Full article
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Open AccessReview A Co-Citation Analysis on Thermal Comfort and Productivity Aspects in Production and Office Buildings
Buildings 2017, 7(2), 36; doi:10.3390/buildings7020036
Received: 15 January 2017 / Revised: 20 April 2017 / Accepted: 25 April 2017 / Published: 1 May 2017
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Abstract
In this work, the literature about the relationship between thermal comfort and productivity in workplaces is reviewed and explored by means of a co-citation analysis—i.e., a factor analysis applied to the mutual citations of the most relevant contributions. A structure of three main
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In this work, the literature about the relationship between thermal comfort and productivity in workplaces is reviewed and explored by means of a co-citation analysis—i.e., a factor analysis applied to the mutual citations of the most relevant contributions. A structure of three main clusters of papers describing the relationships between workers’ thermal comfort and productivity were identified according to the factor analysis and then confirmed with a multidimensional scaling. Results indicate that comfortable indoor thermal conditions can have beneficial impacts on workers’ well-being and productivity, such as higher operational rates, lower production losses, fewer sick leaves, and reduced health related costs. Some authors proposed analytical and empirical expressions for the quantification of the impact of thermal comfort on productivity; nevertheless, due to the broad spectrum of activities and their applicability, the literature is still far from reaching a general consensus on the potential impact of comfort/discomfort on productivity and proposed models can vary significantly in the different studies. Full article
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