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Buildings, Volume 7, Issue 3 (September 2017)

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Cover Story The assessment of rocking and overturning response of rigid blocks under earthquakes is a complex [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Outdoor Characterization of Phase Change Materials and Assessment of Their Energy Saving Potential to Reach NZEB
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 55; doi:10.3390/buildings7030055
Received: 7 April 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 17 June 2017 / Published: 22 June 2017
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Abstract
Phase change materials (PCM) are very promising materials for improving energy efficiency in buildings, especially in hot weather conditions. In spite of the growing attention paid to the integration of PCM into buildings, there are few studies on PCM evaluation under real operating
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Phase change materials (PCM) are very promising materials for improving energy efficiency in buildings, especially in hot weather conditions. In spite of the growing attention paid to the integration of PCM into buildings, there are few studies on PCM evaluation under real operating conditions. This lack of data often does not allow accurate calibration and validation of building simulation models. This work aims to characterize a commercial PCM panel by RUBITHERM®. The panel was laid on the floor of a test box exposed outdoors, and the experimental data were used to validate a PCM software tool implemented in IDA Indoor Climate and Energy software. A reference office building model with characteristics prescribed by Italian regulations (STD) was provided with three PCM with melting points of approximately 21 °C, 24 °C and 26 °C, laid on the floor office. The building energy performance obtained was compared to the energy performance of a reference building prescribed by the new Italian building energy performance regulation (NZEB) for three cities in Italy (Trento, Rome and Palermo). The results showed that energy savings obtained from implementing PCM in the STD building were not sufficient to reach the NZEB reference value for all cities. Only the use of night ventilation was able to assist in reaching NZEB. PCM with a 21 °C melting point showed the best annual energy saving performance in all cities. Temperature range and temperature peaks experienced by PCM in the day/night cycle can explain the behavior of these materials in the various cities and seasons as latent and sensible heat storage systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Thermal Analysis and Energy-Efficient Solutions to Preserve Listed Building Façades: The INA-Casa Building Heritage
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 56; doi:10.3390/buildings7030056
Received: 1 May 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 17 June 2017 / Published: 27 June 2017
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Abstract
Energy efficiency of building heritage derived from pre-regulation period is one of the most debated topics in Europe. Building façades, through opaque walls and thermal bridges, are a major source of transmission heat losses and require sustainable and consistent solutions. Aiming to achieve
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Energy efficiency of building heritage derived from pre-regulation period is one of the most debated topics in Europe. Building façades, through opaque walls and thermal bridges, are a major source of transmission heat losses and require sustainable and consistent solutions. Aiming to achieve an energy demand reduction, thermal features of building façades were evaluated by field measurements and simulations for one INA-Casa listed apartment building built in the 1950s. Non-destructive insulating solutions have been proposed and a comparison between transmission heat loss coefficient in the current situation and the designed intervention was made. Results show that before the renovation, opaque walls and thermal bridges respectively contributed to 25% and 44% of total transmission heat loss in the case-study building façade. After the renovation, total impact was reduced up to 70% depending on whether high performance windows were replaced; in particular, the impact of opaque walls and thermal bridges were reduced by 66% and 82%, respectively. Interventions performed primarily on the internal layer of the façade with insulation elements, when appropriately designed, strengthen the negative effects of thermal bridges in junctions. Findings show that an accurate insulation design allows for both more efficient conditions and the preservation of the heritage-listed buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Passive Strategies for Building Renovation in Temperate Climate)
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Open AccessArticle Exploratory Factors Influencing Building Development Costs in New Zealand
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 57; doi:10.3390/buildings7030057
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 3 June 2017 / Accepted: 15 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
Identification of costs drivers and their influence level on building development costs play a key role in the development of construction models and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of any project. Forty-five indicators influencing building development costs in New Zealand are explored by
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Identification of costs drivers and their influence level on building development costs play a key role in the development of construction models and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of any project. Forty-five indicators influencing building development costs in New Zealand are explored by literature review and pilot interviews. These indicators are grouped into seven categories. The determination and ranking of the cost drivers are carried out by a questionnaire survey distributed to key professionals working in New Zealand’s construction industry. Structural equation modeling (SEM) software was employed for analysis of the collected data. One of the key advantages of this powerful software is to provide the p-value according to the structure of the research model. Findings of this study indicate that the property market and construction industry factor, statutory and regulatory factor, and socio-economic factors are major factors affecting building development costs in New Zealand. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Seismic Reinforcement of a R.C. School Structure with Strength Irregularities throughout External Bracing Walls
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 58; doi:10.3390/buildings7030058
Received: 13 April 2017 / Revised: 24 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
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Abstract
The effect of irregularities due to the non-uniform distribution of material properties on structural elements of a significant real case is here investigated. Mechanical tests performed on a typical Italian reinforced concrete (r.c.) school building built in the 1960s showed irregularity in the
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The effect of irregularities due to the non-uniform distribution of material properties on structural elements of a significant real case is here investigated. Mechanical tests performed on a typical Italian reinforced concrete (r.c.) school building built in the 1960s showed irregularity in the distribution of compression strength in columns, even though the construction is featured by substantially symmetric distribution of the frames. Extreme scenarios in the distribution of irregularities in compression strength of concrete columns are analyzed, with the hypothesis of rigid or deformable slabs. The seismic analysis showed the influence of the response due to the irregular distributions of concrete strength. A proposal of equivalent “material eccentricity” is shown to account for the mentioned irregularity. Furthermore, the practical solution of reinforcement to mitigate the effects of irregularities is also described. It consists of couple of external r.c. walls stiffened by r.c. buttresses added to the building, connected by transverse slabs. An extensive reduction of material eccentricity is achieved, together with a relevant improvement in seismic capacity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traditional and Innovative Approaches in Seismic Design)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Energy Optimized Envelope for Cold Climate Indoor Agricultural Growing Center
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 59; doi:10.3390/buildings7030059
Received: 11 March 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 2 July 2017
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Abstract
This paper presents a study of the development of building envelope design for improved energy performance of a controlled indoor agricultural growing center in a cold climate zone (Canada, 54° N). A parametric study is applied to analyze the effects of envelope parameters
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This paper presents a study of the development of building envelope design for improved energy performance of a controlled indoor agricultural growing center in a cold climate zone (Canada, 54° N). A parametric study is applied to analyze the effects of envelope parameters on the building energy loads for heating, cooling and lighting, required for maintaining growing requirement as obtained in the literature. A base case building of rectangular layout, incorporating conventionally applied insulation and glazing components, is initially analyzed, employing the EnergyPlus simulation program. Insulation and glazing parameters are then modified to minimize energy loads under assumed minimal lighting requirement. This enhanced design forms a base case for analyzing effects of additional design parameters—solar radiation control, air infiltration rate, sky-lighting and the addition of phase change materials—to obtain an enhanced design that minimizes energy loads. A second stage of the investigation applies a high lighting level to the enhanced design and modifies the design parameters to improve performance. A final part of the study is an investigation of the mechanical systems and renewable energy generation. Through the enhancement of building envelope components and day-lighting design, combined heating and cooling load of the low level lighting configuration is reduced by 65% and lighting load by 10%, relative to the base case design. Employing building integrated PV (BIPV) system, this optimized model can achieve energy positive status. Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC), are discussed, as potential means to offset increased energy consumption associated with the high-level lighting model. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Thermal and Economic Analysis of Renovation Strategies for a Historic Building in Mediterranean Area
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 60; doi:10.3390/buildings7030060
Received: 4 May 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 3 July 2017
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Abstract
Around 30% of the European building stock was built before 1950, when no regulations about energy efficiency were in force. Since only a small part of them has been renovated by now, the energy performance of this building stock is on average quite
[...] Read more.
Around 30% of the European building stock was built before 1950, when no regulations about energy efficiency were in force. Since only a small part of them has been renovated by now, the energy performance of this building stock is on average quite poor, resulting in a significant impact on the energy balance of European countries, as confirmed by data published by ISTAT (Italian National Statistical Institute). However, energy retrofit in historic edifices is a quite demanding issue as any intervention must take into account the need to preserve existing building materials and appearances while also allowing reversibility and low invasiveness. As an example, in these buildings it is not possible to apply an ETICS (External Thermal Insulation Composite System), since this would alter the historic and architectural value of the façade. On the other hand, internal insulation would have the drawback of reducing the net useful floor area, which also implies a loss of economic value. Moreover, internal insulation may induce overheating risks and mold formation. In this paper, all these issues are investigated with reference to an existing historic building located in southern Italy, showing that a retrofit strategy aimed at energy savings and cost-effectiveness is still possible if suitable materials and solutions are adopted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Passive Strategies for Building Renovation in Temperate Climate)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Analysis of Cylindrical Granular Material Silos under Seismic Excitation
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 61; doi:10.3390/buildings7030061
Received: 27 March 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 2 July 2017 / Published: 6 July 2017
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Abstract
Silos generally work as storage structures between supply and demand for various goods, and their structural safety has long been of interest to the civil engineering profession. This is especially true for dynamically loaded silos, e.g., in case of seismic excitation. Particularly thin-walled
[...] Read more.
Silos generally work as storage structures between supply and demand for various goods, and their structural safety has long been of interest to the civil engineering profession. This is especially true for dynamically loaded silos, e.g., in case of seismic excitation. Particularly thin-walled cylindrical silos are highly vulnerable to seismic induced pressures, which can cause critical buckling phenomena of the silo shell. The analysis of silos can be carried out in two different ways. In the first, the seismic loading is modeled through statically equivalent loads acting on the shell. Alternatively, a time history analysis might be carried out, in which nonlinear phenomena due to the filling as well as the interaction between the shell and the granular material are taken into account. The paper presents a comparison of these approaches. The model used for the nonlinear time history analysis considers the granular material by means of the intergranular strain approach for hypoplasticity theory. The interaction effects between the granular material and the shell is represented by contact elements. Additionally, soil–structure interaction effects are taken into account. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traditional and Innovative Approaches in Seismic Design)
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Open AccessArticle Performance and Compatibility of Phosphonate-Based Superplasticizers for Concrete
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 62; doi:10.3390/buildings7030062
Received: 15 May 2017 / Revised: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 4 July 2017 / Published: 7 July 2017
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Abstract
The paper deals with the effectiveness of an innovative phosphonate-based superplasticizer (PNH) for ready mixed concrete. Concrete specimens were manufactured by considering a constant initial workability, equal to 220 mm slump at the end of the mixing procedure. Workability was measured at 0,
[...] Read more.
The paper deals with the effectiveness of an innovative phosphonate-based superplasticizer (PNH) for ready mixed concrete. Concrete specimens were manufactured by considering a constant initial workability, equal to 220 mm slump at the end of the mixing procedure. Workability was measured at 0, 30, and 60 min to evaluate the workability retention performances of the innovative superplasticizer. Compressive tests at 1, 7, and 28 days were carried out to evaluate the influence of the phosphonate-based superplasticizer on concrete setting and hardening. The concrete mixes were designed by considering 13 different cements to assess the superplasticizer-cement compatibility. The PNH-based admixture showed a better performance in terms of water reduction and workability retention with respect to napthalenesulphonate based admixtures (NSF); however, a higher dosage of PNH with respect to polycarboxylate ethers (PCEs) was needed to get the same initial fluidity. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Experimental In-Plane Evaluation of Light Timber Walls Panels
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 63; doi:10.3390/buildings7030063
Received: 27 March 2017 / Revised: 6 July 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
In general, the satisfactory seismic performance of timber buildings can be partially attributed to the material characteristics of the wood itself and to the lightness of its own structure. The aim of this paper is to analyze the in-plane behavior of light timber
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In general, the satisfactory seismic performance of timber buildings can be partially attributed to the material characteristics of the wood itself and to the lightness of its own structure. The aim of this paper is to analyze the in-plane behavior of light timber walls panels through a series of monotonic and cyclic tests, and to evaluate how the sheathing material and the fixation to the base influence the overall response of the wall. Five tests are presented and discussed while the reliability of an analytical method to predict the response of the walls is studied. The sheathing material revealed to be important in the overall response of the wall. Moreover, the type of fixation to the base also revealed to be important in the in-plane response of timber walls. In-plane stiffnesses, static ductility, energy dissipation and damping ratio have been quantified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seismic Performance of Timber Platform Frame Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Integrating Scenarios into Life Cycle Assessment: Understanding the Value and Financial Feasibility of a Demountable Building
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 64; doi:10.3390/buildings7030064
Received: 13 June 2017 / Revised: 6 July 2017 / Accepted: 12 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Although life cycle assessment offers insight into the long-term value of our building stock, it has become impossible to model with certainty the service life of a building. What if new lifestyles make reality diverge from the expected service life? What if the
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Although life cycle assessment offers insight into the long-term value of our building stock, it has become impossible to model with certainty the service life of a building. What if new lifestyles make reality diverge from the expected service life? What if the building is decommissioned very early or forced to accommodate new functions? Would the same design decisions have been made or would an alternative have been preferred? In reaction to this challenge, the present paper proposes to integrate scenario planning and life cycle assessment. Therefore, it discusses from where scenario planning originates and how it appeared hitherto in architectural design and life cycle assessment. Thereafter, it explores how assessors can profit from scenarios when raising awareness and co-creating alternatives. Subsequently, a methodological framework for effective scenario development is proposed. To illustrate the added value of scenario integrated life cycle assessments, four divergent scenarios are developed for evaluating the financial feasibility of demountable building element reuse. With this simple case study is shown how more relevant and nuanced assessment outcomes are obtained when divergent scenarios are adopted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessArticle Economic-Environmental Indicators to Support Investment Decisions: A Focus on the Buildings’ End-of-Life Stage
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 65; doi:10.3390/buildings7030065
Received: 29 May 2017 / Revised: 6 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 21 July 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this paper is to propose a methodology for supporting decision making in design activities; in case of new projects or retrofitting of existing buildings. A multidisciplinary approach is adopted; involving Real Estate Appraisal and Economic Evaluation of Project and Building
[...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to propose a methodology for supporting decision making in design activities; in case of new projects or retrofitting of existing buildings. A multidisciplinary approach is adopted; involving Real Estate Appraisal and Economic Evaluation of Project and Building Environmental Design. It is proposed a methodology for selecting the preferable solutions among technological options; considering both economic and environmental aspects; in terms of global performance. Assuming the principles of Life Cycle Thinking and Circular Economy focus is posed at the end-of-life stage. Attention is paid on disposal costs and residual value as relevant items enable to orient investment decisions. This is done through an approach for quantifying environmental indicators related to Life Cycle Assessment (Standard ISO 14040:2006); and economic indicators adopting the Life Cycle Costing (Standard ISO 15686:2008). The paper proposes a conjoint “economic-environmental indicator”. An application of Global Cost calculation is illustrated; including monetized environmental impacts (Embodied energy and Embodied carbon); disposal/dismantling costs and residual value. The result of the Global Cost calculation is expressed through a “synthetic economic-environmental indicator” in order to select; between two different technologies; the most viable solution for a multifunctional building glass façade project; in Northern Italy. The study demonstrates that the initial investment decisions depend on the design solutions; since the early stages; related to the whole building life cycle considering conjointly the construction-management phases and the end-of-life stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Effect of Material Variability and Mechanical Eccentricity on the Seismic Vulnerability Assessment of Reinforced Concrete Buildings
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 66; doi:10.3390/buildings7030066
Received: 11 April 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
The present paper deals with the influence of material variability on the seismic vulnerability assessment of reinforced concrete buildings. Existing r.c. buildings are affected by a strong dispersion of material strengths of both the base materials. This influences the seismic response in linear
[...] Read more.
The present paper deals with the influence of material variability on the seismic vulnerability assessment of reinforced concrete buildings. Existing r.c. buildings are affected by a strong dispersion of material strengths of both the base materials. This influences the seismic response in linear and nonlinear static analysis. For this reason, it is useful to define a geometrical parameter called “material eccentricity”. As a reference model, an analysis of a two storey building is presented with a symmetrical plan but asymmetrical material distribution. Furthermore, an analysis of two real buildings with a similar issue is performed. Experimental data generate random material distributions to carry out a probabilistic analysis. By rotating the vector that defines the position of the center of strength it is possible to describe a strength domain that is characterized by equipotential lines in terms of the Risk Index. Material eccentricity is related to the Ultimate Shear of non-linear static analyses. This relevant uncertainty, referred to as the variation of the center of strength, is not considered in the current European and Italian Standards. The “material eccentricity” therefore reveals itself to be a relevant parameter to considering how material variability affects such a variation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traditional and Innovative Approaches in Seismic Design)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle An Analysis of the Influence of Property Tax on Housing Prices in the Apulia Region (Italy)
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 67; doi:10.3390/buildings7030067
Received: 11 July 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 27 July 2017
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Abstract
In this research, the socio-economic determinants of housing market values have been examined, highlighting their respective contributions to the formation of the property prices and, in particular, verifying the property tax liability. The property tax is a factor that could determine, through modest
[...] Read more.
In this research, the socio-economic determinants of housing market values have been examined, highlighting their respective contributions to the formation of the property prices and, in particular, verifying the property tax liability. The property tax is a factor that could determine, through modest fluctuations, the revival of the property demand, generating positive effects also on the construction sector, which has been currently affected by the negative real estate contingency. The functional correlations of housing prices with the main socio-economic variables considered (i.e., housing rents, household incomes, household consumptions, property taxes, population and mean population age) have been explained through an econometric analysis implemented with an innovative methodology that uses multi-objective genetic algorithms. The analysis is contextualized to the Apulia region in the South of Italy, and the population of the sample studied consists of 258 individuals, corresponding to the municipalities of the region. In particular, the data collected for each variable considered refer to two different moments, that is, the year 2011 and the year 2015, in order to take into account the fiscal tightening that has occurred in Italy in this period of time. The elaborations carried out have allowed us to enucleate interesting functional relationships between property prices and the explanatory variables considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Redesign of a Rural Building in a Heritage Site in Italy: Towards the Net Zero Energy Target
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 68; doi:10.3390/buildings7030068
Received: 5 April 2017 / Revised: 16 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
In order to achieve the ambitious objective of decarbonising the economy, it is mandatory, especially in Europe and in Italy, to include the retrofitting of existing buildings. In a country where a large share of existing buildings have heritage value, it is important
[...] Read more.
In order to achieve the ambitious objective of decarbonising the economy, it is mandatory, especially in Europe and in Italy, to include the retrofitting of existing buildings. In a country where a large share of existing buildings have heritage value, it is important to design effective retrofit solutions also in historical buildings. In this context, the paper describes the experience of re-design of an existing rural building located in Sicily, inside the ancient Greeks' “Valley of the Temples”. An energy audit was performed on the building, and its energy uses were thoroughly investigated. A building model was developed in the TRNSYS environment and its performances validated. The validated model was used for redesign studies aimed towards the achievement of the Net Zero Energy Building target. The best performing solutions to be applied to a case study like the Sanfilippo House were those regarding the management of the building, as in the case of the natural ventilation and the energy systems setpoints, that would allow a large impact (up to 10% reductions in energy uses) on the energy performances of the building with no invasiveness, and those with very limited invasiveness and high impact on the energy efficiency of the building, as in the lighting scenario (up to 30% energy uses reduction). The most invasive actions can only be justified in the case of high energy savings, as in the case of the insulation of the roof, otherwise they should be disregarded. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Rocking and Kinematic Approaches for Rigid Block Analysis of Masonry Walls: State of the Art and Recent Developments
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 69; doi:10.3390/buildings7030069
Received: 12 April 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
The assessment of the rocking and overturning response of rigid blocks to earthquakes is a complex task, due to its high sensitivity to the input motion, variations in geometry and dissipation issues. This paper presents a literature review dealing with classical and advanced
[...] Read more.
The assessment of the rocking and overturning response of rigid blocks to earthquakes is a complex task, due to its high sensitivity to the input motion, variations in geometry and dissipation issues. This paper presents a literature review dealing with classical and advanced approaches on rocking motion with particular reference to masonry walls characterized by a monolithic behavior. Firstly, the pioneering work of Housner based on the concept of the inverted pendulum is discussed in terms of the most significant parameters, i.e., the size and slenderness of the blocks, the coefficient of restitution and ground motion properties. Free and restrained rocking blocks are considered. Then, static force-based approaches and performance-based techniques, mostly based on limit analysis theory, are presented to highlight the importance of investigating the evolution of the rocking mechanisms by means of pushover curves characterized by negative stiffness. From a dynamic perspective, a review of probabilistic approaches is also presented, evaluating the cumulative probability of exceedance of any response level by considering different earthquake time histories. Some recent simplified approaches based on the critical rocking response and the worst-case scenario are illustrated, as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traditional and Innovative Approaches in Seismic Design)
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Open AccessArticle Masonry’s Resistance to Driving Rain: Mortar Water Content and Impregnation
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 70; doi:10.3390/buildings7030070
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 3 August 2017 / Published: 9 August 2017
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Abstract
Alongside well-researched themes such as water and moisture, the service life and function of masonry veneers are often compromised by precipitation combined with poor design considerations, execution, and selection of materials. Little research has been carried out on the subject of the impact
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Alongside well-researched themes such as water and moisture, the service life and function of masonry veneers are often compromised by precipitation combined with poor design considerations, execution, and selection of materials. Little research has been carried out on the subject of the impact of mortar consistency on masonry’s resistance to driving rain. Water-repellent (WR) impregnation is typically considered a quick fix when problems occur. Wall-panels of 1 m2 built with different flow table values for the mortar have been tested in a driving rain chamber, where both time-lapse videos and the measuring of penetrated water are used to evaluate performance. Subsequently, the panels were impregnated with the most common types of WR products and re-tested. The analysis shows that changing the mortar mix from dry to wet can decrease the penetration of driving rain by a factor of ten. The test results presented in this article show that mortar with low water content gives a porous interfacial transition zone (ITZ), thereby increasing the rate of water penetration. The tested WRs are found to be ineffective in increasing masonry’s resistance to high pressure driving rain. The results, combined with what is already known about WR treatments on masonry, call for careful consideration before applying such treatment. This proves especially true in countries with much driving rain followed by frequent freeze-thaw cycles. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessment Method for Combined Structural and Energy Retrofitting in Masonry Buildings
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 71; doi:10.3390/buildings7030071
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 3 August 2017 / Published: 11 August 2017
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Abstract
The retrofitting of existing masonry buildings is now a crucial problem for Europe. Indeed, structural safety and energy efficiency should represent the target of any renovation. The proposal of a new synthetic performance parameter is presented and discussed. Following this approach, in this
[...] Read more.
The retrofitting of existing masonry buildings is now a crucial problem for Europe. Indeed, structural safety and energy efficiency should represent the target of any renovation. The proposal of a new synthetic performance parameter is presented and discussed. Following this approach, in this paper, after a review of the main studies available in the literature, a proposal of a new performance parameter approach is presented and discussed. It is capable of taking into account both the structural and thermal aspects of masonry retrofitting. An emblematic set of reinforcements and energy improvements for masonry walls is examined. An example, generalized formulas, and a simultaneous evaluation of the role of multiple structural and thermal parameters on masonry buildings are proposed, with a view to optimize several categories of costs related to the intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traditional and Innovative Approaches in Seismic Design)
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Open AccessArticle Computational Colour Matching of Laminated Photovoltaic Modules for Building Envelopes
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 72; doi:10.3390/buildings7030072
Received: 8 June 2017 / Revised: 8 August 2017 / Accepted: 11 August 2017 / Published: 18 August 2017
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Abstract
The widespread adoption of photovoltaics (PV) in architecture as a source of renewable energy is often limited due to poor visual acceptance. We propose the use of coloured frontglass manufactured by digital ceramic printing to cover the PV cells, thus concealing the latter
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The widespread adoption of photovoltaics (PV) in architecture as a source of renewable energy is often limited due to poor visual acceptance. We propose the use of coloured frontglass manufactured by digital ceramic printing to cover the PV cells, thus concealing the latter while admitting sufficient light to produce electricity. The apparent colour of the PV laminate is a combination of the transparent colour on glass and the colour of the PV cells, which is difficult to predict. In this paper we compare 1400 unknown PV laminate colours with 320 known façade colours from the NCS Exterior Set to find potential matches. We use an image-based approach in which photographs are compared computationally by CIE ΔE colour difference. For a barely discernible ΔE < 3.5, this yielded 20 unique matches between the candidate and target sample sets, increasing to 74 matches for an obvious difference of ΔE ≤ 10. A subset of these computed matches was then visually confirmed by untrained volunteer observers, with average deviations of ΔE ≈ 5 between computed and visual matches, and a similar tolerance for the visual matches based on standard deviation. We conclude that our image-based computational approach enables a rapid and comprehensive matching of large sets of printed glass colours, which would be impractical with human subjects, yet delivers matches consistent with the latter’s observations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Affordable Housing Program in Papua New Guinea: A Case of Port Moresby
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 73; doi:10.3390/buildings7030073
Received: 8 July 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 17 August 2017 / Published: 18 August 2017
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Abstract
Providing affordable housing has been a long-standing issue for governments of most countries. In an attempt to address the issue, affordable housing programs have been introduced with the aim of improving household’s access to housing, as well as sustain their wellbeing. This paper
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Providing affordable housing has been a long-standing issue for governments of most countries. In an attempt to address the issue, affordable housing programs have been introduced with the aim of improving household’s access to housing, as well as sustain their wellbeing. This paper reports on a study of the activities of affordable housing program (AHP) in Papua New Guinea (PNG), using Port Moresby as a case. It also reports a potential strategy for improving effectiveness of the program. Data was collected from interviews involving private property developers, building contractors, and an official of the National Housing Corporation. Documents related to PNG housing sector and AHP were also reviewed. The results show that the criteria used for measuring housing affordability is lacking in PNG. Low-income households do not benefit from the AHP, which focuses mainly on homeownership scheme. Role of the public sector and private sector in the provision of affordable housing is not clear. Most private developers would like to supply more houses to the housing market. However, the developers face challenges such as shortages of secure land, high cost of materials for constructing houses, and lack of trunk infrastructure. If the aim is to improve effectiveness of the AHP, there is a need to develop criteria for measuring housing affordability and to introduce affordable housing schemes that meet low-income household’s preferences and demand. It is necessary to reduce housing costs by making more secure land available for development, providing trunk infrastructure, and sourcing building materials locally. The sustainability of AHP should be given due consideration during the planning and design phase. The findings could assist urban development managers and planners in designing a more effective AHP in PNG. Full article
Open AccessArticle Simplified Design of FRP-Confined Square RC Columns under Bi-Axial Bending
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 74; doi:10.3390/buildings7030074
Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 1 August 2017 / Accepted: 10 August 2017 / Published: 21 August 2017
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Abstract
Available guidelines do not provide design procedures for the general case of retrofitting reinforced concrete (RC) columns using fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) sheets subjected to simultaneous bi-axial flexural and axial loads. In many practical cases, columns essentially undergo simultaneous axial force and bi-axial
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Available guidelines do not provide design procedures for the general case of retrofitting reinforced concrete (RC) columns using fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) sheets subjected to simultaneous bi-axial flexural and axial loads. In many practical cases, columns essentially undergo simultaneous axial force and bi-axial bending moments, especially in in-situ construction. This paper suggests a simplified design method based on the equivalent uni-axial moment concept to calculate the required number of layers FRP sheets for retrofitting RC square columns. The proposed procedure is then verified against available bi-axial moment and axial force test data found in the literature. Results demonstrate that the proposed procedure is appropriate for practical applications with acceptable accuracy. It also appears that retrofitting RC square columns by longitudinal fiber arrangement is only effective for columns with tension-controlled behavior, while transverse and combined longitudinal-transverse arrangements are more effective in enhancing the load bearing capacity of both the compression- and tension-controlled columns. A design example will also be presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Clash Detection or Clash Avoidance? An Investigation into Coordination Problems in 3D BIM
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 75; doi:10.3390/buildings7030075
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 16 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 August 2017 / Published: 21 August 2017
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Abstract
Early collaboration is crucial if the final design is to be clash-free, and automation processes through Building Information Modelling (BIM) have the capacity to reduce clashes through 3D design coordination. Yet, current design practices are still dependent on clash detection and contemporary literature
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Early collaboration is crucial if the final design is to be clash-free, and automation processes through Building Information Modelling (BIM) have the capacity to reduce clashes through 3D design coordination. Yet, current design practices are still dependent on clash detection and contemporary literature presents several reasons for this. This paper investigates the root causes of clashes with respect to achieving “clash avoidance” as proposed in PAS 1192-2 design phase specifications for BIM in the UK. Empirical data from BIM coordinators around the world was collected and analyzed using explanatory sequential mixed-methods. It was found that: (i) isolated working was the prime cause of high occurrences of clashes linked to mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) 3D BIM systems; (ii) there is a link between non-BIM specific training (or the professional qualifications) of design practitioners with the high incidence of clashes; and (iii) the current structure of cloud-based common data environments (CDEs) does not facilitate clash avoidance and in fact, encourages isolated working in the early design stage by creating “digital information silos”. A conceptual framework for an open work in progress (OWIP) has been proposed to address this problem. These findings point to the need for more transparency during collaboration through CDE where designers from multidisciplinary backgrounds can engage in concurrent co-creation. This transparent and inclusive process could have consequences on how future architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals are trained. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Rethinking Design and Urban Planning for the Cities of the Future
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 76; doi:10.3390/buildings7030076
Received: 13 June 2017 / Revised: 15 August 2017 / Accepted: 22 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
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Abstract
Growth of urban areas and abandonment of rural areas are phenomena that increase quickly. The main consequences of urbanization are pollution, consumption of resources and energy, waste dumps, and junk yards. These aspects require a better planning and design of European urban metropolitan
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Growth of urban areas and abandonment of rural areas are phenomena that increase quickly. The main consequences of urbanization are pollution, consumption of resources and energy, waste dumps, and junk yards. These aspects require a better planning and design of European urban metropolitan areas, considering benefits, opportunities, costs and risks (B.O.C.R.), derivable by urban transformations and available resources. The paper consists of five parts. The first part contains some reflections on consequences of urban sprawl. In the second part, some possible kinds of cities are discussed (sustainable city, smart city, and compact city). The third part briefly describes a multicriteria decision-making approach known as the ‘analytic hierarchy process’ to deal with complex decisions. In the fourth part, alternative city models are analyzed (compact city, elevated city, green house city, and water city). Finally, in the fifth part, the criteria selected for the planning and design of the alternative city models are used for the prioritization of some European cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessArticle Combined Effects of Densified Polystyrene and Unprocessed Fly Ash on Concrete Engineering Properties
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 77; doi:10.3390/buildings7030077
Received: 18 June 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 22 August 2017 / Published: 25 August 2017
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Abstract
The present study evaluated the combined effects of two types of waste materials of expanded polystyrene (EPS) and unprocessed fly ash (FA) on different properties of concrete. A novel recycling technique of densifying waste EPS is used to produce a novel lightweight aggregate
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The present study evaluated the combined effects of two types of waste materials of expanded polystyrene (EPS) and unprocessed fly ash (FA) on different properties of concrete. A novel recycling technique of densifying waste EPS is used to produce a novel lightweight aggregate (LWA). This new technique has solved the problem of segregation in concrete by coating EPS particles with a natural binder of clay and cement. Nine different concrete mixtures with a water to cement ratio of 0.8 were used. The densified EPS and unprocessed FA were partially replaced with natural aggregate and Portland cement, respectively. The engineering properties, including workability, density, compressive strength, ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV), and water absorption (WA) were investigated at different curing times. According to the experimental results, there is a decrease in compressive strength and UPV with increasing this novel LWA content in concrete. However, by using a suitable mix design, the utilisation of these two waste materials in concrete using an appropriate recycling technique is possible. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Nonlinear Modelling of Curved Masonry Structures after Seismic Retrofit through FRP Reinforcing
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 79; doi:10.3390/buildings7030079
Received: 24 April 2017 / Revised: 19 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 29 August 2017
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Abstract
A reliable numerical evaluation of the nonlinear behaviour of historical masonry structures, before and after a seismic retrofitting, is a fundamental issue in the design of the structural retrofitting. Many strengthening techniques have been introduced aimed at improving the structural performance of existing
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A reliable numerical evaluation of the nonlinear behaviour of historical masonry structures, before and after a seismic retrofitting, is a fundamental issue in the design of the structural retrofitting. Many strengthening techniques have been introduced aimed at improving the structural performance of existing structures that, if properly designed and applied, provide an effective contribution to the preservation of their cultural value. Among these strategies, the use of fabric-reinforced polymeric (FRP) materials on masonry surface is being widely adopted for practical engineering purposes. The application of strips or 2D grid composite layers is a low invasive and easy to apply retrofitting strategy, that is able to improve both the in-plane and the out of plane behaviour of masonry elements also in the presence of complex geometries thanks to their flexibility. For this reason, these techniques are frequently employed for reinforcing masonry curved elements, such as arches and vaults. In this paper, taking advantage of an existing general framework based on a discrete element approach previously introduced by the authors, a discrete element conceived for modelling the interaction between masonry and FRP reinforcement is applied to different curved masonry vaults typologies. This model, already used for evaluating the nonlinear behaviour of masonry arches, is here employed for the first time to evaluate the effectiveness of FRP reinforcements on double curvature elements. After a theoretical description of the proposed strategy, two applications relative to an arch and a dome, subjected to seismic loads, with different reinforced conditions, are presented. The benefit provided by the application of FRP strips is also compared with that associated to traditional retrofitting techniques. A sensitivity study is performed with respect to the structure scale factor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traditional and Innovative Approaches in Seismic Design)
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Open AccessArticle Cap Rate as the Interpretative Variable of the Urban Real Estate Capital Asset: A Comparison of Different Sub-Market Definitions in Palermo, Italy
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 80; doi:10.3390/buildings7030080
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 27 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 5 September 2017
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Abstract
Real estate capital is in constant competition with other capital assets due to its different and complementary economic functions such as direct use, productive investment, and speculative investment. These features and the resulting opportunities cannot be easily deduced from direct observation of the
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Real estate capital is in constant competition with other capital assets due to its different and complementary economic functions such as direct use, productive investment, and speculative investment. These features and the resulting opportunities cannot be easily deduced from direct observation of the real estate markets, so some further insights need to be carried out in order to highlight the relationship between prices, rents and performances. This study aims at providing a multifaceted perspective of a specific urban real estate market to overcome the difficulties arising from opacities and informative asymmetries that hinder the decision of investors, by facilitating the comparison of different options such as capital value, income and performance. Within the mass appraisal approach, the study proposes a methodology for the analysis of the cap rate, intended as the expression of profitability and liquidity of the urban real estate capital asset. The methodology is based on a detailed survey of a sample of the housing market data, collected within a structured database, supported by statistical and territorial analyses of the sample, in order to display the range of cap rates featuring each sub-market, and the related distributions. The methodology is applied to a case study of nearly 1000 properties distributed in a vast urban area of the municipality of Palermo, Italy. The consistency of the relationships between the three variables has been tested with reference to two hypotheses about the sub-market definition, which has been carried out by cluster and by neighbourhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessArticle Characteristics of Equipment Planning for Multi-Crane Building Construction Sites
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 81; doi:10.3390/buildings7030081
Received: 30 July 2017 / Revised: 12 August 2017 / Accepted: 4 September 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
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Abstract
This paper purports to provide answers to the following questions with regard to multi-crane building construction sites: (1) Do such construction sites differ from smaller sites only in magnitude, or are there unique characteristics that stem from the size of the site and
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This paper purports to provide answers to the following questions with regard to multi-crane building construction sites: (1) Do such construction sites differ from smaller sites only in magnitude, or are there unique characteristics that stem from the size of the site and the multitude of cranes? (2) Is equipment planning for such projects similar to that of projects serviced by a small number of cranes? (3) How is equipment planning affected by the site’s surroundings? (4) Does the visibility of multiple cranes in the near and far surroundings of the project affect the approach to equipment planning? Answers to these questions were sought after through the investigation of several measures, based on case studies of mega building projects in Europe, all located in busy urban surroundings. On-site interviews focused on multiple research variables, of which four are used here: project planning stages, planning parties, plan formats, and the cranes on site. The study found that multi-crane sites are characterized by unique features; equipment planning for such sites differs significantly from that conducted for regular sites; the site-surroundings interface plays an important role in equipment and logistics planning for such sites; and the awareness of reputation plays a role in crane selection. The study’s main contribution is in reducing the knowledge gap that exists with regard to the unique determinants of equipment planning for multi-crane projects and to its importance to the success of such projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessArticle Research on Investment Risk Management of Chinese Prefabricated Construction Projects Based on a System Dynamics Model
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 83; doi:10.3390/buildings7030083
Received: 20 July 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 18 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
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Abstract
Prefabricated construction, a new direction for the future development of the Chinese construction industry, can maximize the requirements of “green”. As a new form of green building, prefabricated construction is of particular interest. On account of the immature development of the green building
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Prefabricated construction, a new direction for the future development of the Chinese construction industry, can maximize the requirements of “green”. As a new form of green building, prefabricated construction is of particular interest. On account of the immature development of the green building market in China, the investment risk for prefabricated construction is higher than for traditional architecture. Hence, it is especially important to improve its investment risk identification and management. This study adopts system dynamics and builds a risk identification feedback chart and risk flow chart, to comprehensively identify investment risks that projects in China may face and to process quantitative estimation of investment risk factors. Key factors influencing project investment risks are found, and corresponding measures are pointedly proposed. This paper may provide guidance and a reference for promoting the sound development of prefabricated construction in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessReview PCMs for Residential Building Applications: A Short Review Focused on Disadvantages and Proposals for Future Development
Buildings 2017, 7(3), 78; doi:10.3390/buildings7030078
Received: 17 July 2017 / Revised: 5 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 28 August 2017
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Abstract
Phase change materials (PCMs) offer great potential as a latent heat energy storage technique to provide energy efficient systems in new and existing residential buildings. Due to their unique characteristic of high storage densities and latent heat properties, PCMs provide opportunities for greater
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Phase change materials (PCMs) offer great potential as a latent heat energy storage technique to provide energy efficient systems in new and existing residential buildings. Due to their unique characteristic of high storage densities and latent heat properties, PCMs provide opportunities for greater energy storage in many applications for residential buildings. These applications include, but are not limited to, solar water heating, space heating/cooling, and waste heat recovery. This study reviews PCM systems in residential building applications, with a focus on their major disadvantages and concludes with proposals for future development. Several disadvantages of PCM use in the given application have been identified and include; super cooling, low thermal conductivity, phase segregation, fire safety, and cost. The issues caused by super cooling and phase segregation lead to thermal cycling degradation, limiting the useful lifecycle of the material. These issues could limit their potential in building applications, which require systems of a long lifespan. Low thermal conductivities can slow down the rate at which heat is distributed or absorbed from the building, which affect the occupants comfort and as well as the efficiency of the system. Ideas based on the current research on ways to limit these disadvantages are included in the study. This study also identifies that further research is required on novel maintenance ways for the PCM systems after they have been installed. Full article
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