Challenges for Sustainable Building: Innovation, Development and Characterisation of New Material Products and Systems

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Civil Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2024 | Viewed by 1733

Special Issue Editors

Departamento de Tecnología de la Edificación, Escuela Técnica Superior de Edificación, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: construction and building materials; sustainability and circular economy; technological innovation in building; new measurement techniques applied to the building industry; energy efficiency
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Architecture, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Plaza Oñati 2, 20018 Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain
Interests: energy efficiency in buildings; energy monitoring of buildings; energy simulation of buildings; thermographic and air tightness analysis in buildings; diagnosis and energy optimisation of heritage buildings; development of instrumentation based on open source platforms (OSP) and the internet of things (IoT)
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Currently, the building sector evolved towards the development of new more sustainable and efficient construction systems. The development of new materials under the circular economy criteria that allow the recovery and revaluation of Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) is one of the great challenges facing the European Union at present.

For this reason, this Special Issue aims to provide a space for building research committed to the sustainability and efficient management of natural resources, promoting the development of more efficient materials and construction systems with a lower carbon footprint and that allow progress towards net-zero-emission building (NZEB).

Dear Colleagues, we strongly encourage you to participate and promote research in Building Engineering via this Special Issue.

Some of the main topics that apply to this Special Issue are:

  • Management of Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW);
  • Energy efficiency in building;
  • Development of new building systems and products;
  • Introduction of technological innovations in building construction;
  • Development of new monitoring and measuring equipment in building/construction;
  • Construction and building materials;
  • Composite materials for building engineering;
  • Development and energy efficiency in building facilities;
  • Hygrothermal comfort and indoor air quality.

Dr. Daniel Ferrández Vega
Dr. Alexander Martín Garín
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • construction and building materials
  • construction and demolition waste
  • energy efficiency
  • comfort
  • new measuring equipment in building

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 1410 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Potential of Sr2+ for Improving the Post-Hardening Strength and Durability Characteristics of Cement Paste Composites
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(5), 1841; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14051841 - 23 Feb 2024
Viewed by 176
Abstract
This study investigates the effects of strontium ions on enhancing the post-hardening strength and durability characteristics of hydrated cement composites, exploring their potential use as a rehabilitation method for aging concrete structures. A 30% strontium nitrate solution served as the source of strontium [...] Read more.
This study investigates the effects of strontium ions on enhancing the post-hardening strength and durability characteristics of hydrated cement composites, exploring their potential use as a rehabilitation method for aging concrete structures. A 30% strontium nitrate solution served as the source of strontium ions. Cement paste specimens with a water-to-cement ratio of 0.5, cured for 28 days, were submerged in the 30% strontium nitrate solution to facilitate strontium ion penetration. Compressive and flexural strength tests were conducted on the specimens and compared to those cured in deionized water. Moreover, the durability performance, including surface abrasion resistance, water sorptivity, and porosity, was examined. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), and X-ray diffractometry (XRD) analyses were also carried out to investigate the microscopic morphology and chemical characteristics of the specimens. Results indicated that the strontium-treated specimens exhibited notable enhancements in both compressive and flexural strengths, especially in flexural strength. The specimens also demonstrated improved surface abrasion resistance, decreased water absorption, and a marked reduction in porosity. SEM analysis revealed a densified microstructure in the strontium-treated cement paste specimens, and EDS and XRD analyses showed changes in their morphology and chemical compositions and structures, indicating the formation of new types of hydrates. Accordingly, this study suggests that the strontium ion treatment method has significant potential for the maintenance and restoration of aging cementitious materials. Full article
20 pages, 7318 KiB  
Article
Influence of Particle Size on Compressed Earth Blocks Properties and Strategies for Enhanced Performance
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(5), 1779; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14051779 - 22 Feb 2024
Viewed by 339
Abstract
In the context of sustainable building development, Compressed Earth Blocks (CEBs) have garnered increasing attention in recent years owing to their minimal environmental and economic impact. However, owing to the inherent diversity of raw soil and the production process’s reliance on expertise, the [...] Read more.
In the context of sustainable building development, Compressed Earth Blocks (CEBs) have garnered increasing attention in recent years owing to their minimal environmental and economic impact. However, owing to the inherent diversity of raw soil and the production process’s reliance on expertise, the properties of these blocks are subjected to multifaceted influences. Among these, the significance of soil particle size variation often remains overlooked, leaving its impact ambiguous. This study endeavours to address this gap in existing research by delving into this aspect. Two distinct batches of CEBs were produced by adjusting the grain size curve of a single type of sieved soil with different maximum mesh openings: 2 mm for R1 CEBs and 12.5 mm for R2 CEBs. Experimental results reveal significant differences in thermophysical characteristics: on average, R1 blocks show superior thermal performance, boasting a 23% reduction in thermal conductivity compared to R2 blocks, and are lighter, with an 8% decrease in dry bulk density. Although no significant changes in mechanical parameters were observed, finer-structured R1 blocks showed a 25% greater tendency to absorb water due to changes in their porous structure. This study sheds light on the sensitivity of thermal parameters to changes in soil particle size and shows that blocks with finer particles exhibit poorer heat conduction and heat diffusion. Besides providing new insights into the literature, this research also provides a strategic approach to optimise the thermophysical properties of CEBs. By understanding the influence of particle size, researchers and practitioners can now develop strategies to enhance these properties and improve the overall performance of CEBs. Full article
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17 pages, 2177 KiB  
Article
Key Issues and Solutions in the Study of Quantitative Mechanisms for Tropical Islands Zero Carbon Buildings
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 1659; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14041659 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 366
Abstract
Faced with the challenges of global climate change, zero-carbon buildings (ZCB) serve as a crucial means to achieve carbon peak and carbon neutrality goals, particularly in the development of tropical island regions. This study aims to establish a ZCB technology system suitable for [...] Read more.
Faced with the challenges of global climate change, zero-carbon buildings (ZCB) serve as a crucial means to achieve carbon peak and carbon neutrality goals, particularly in the development of tropical island regions. This study aims to establish a ZCB technology system suitable for the unique climatic conditions of tropical islands. By employing methods such as energy flow boundaries, parametric design, and data-driven optimization algorithms, the research systematically analyzes the integrated mechanisms and optimization solutions for energy utilization, energy conservation, energy production, and intelligent systems. The study identifies and addresses key technical challenges faced by ZCB in tropical island regions, including the accurate identification of system design parameters, the precise quantification of the relationship between design parameters and building performance, and the comprehensive optimization of technical and economic goals for zero-carbon operational design solutions. The research results not only provide a comprehensive theoretical framework, promoting the development of architectural design theory, but also establish a practical framework for technology and methods, advancing the integration and application of ZCB technology. The study holds significant practical implications for the green transformation of the tropical island construction industry and the realization of national dual-carbon strategic goals. Future research should further explore the applicability of the technology system and the economic feasibility of optimized design solutions, promoting continuous innovation and development in ZCB technology. Full article
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16 pages, 4882 KiB  
Article
Initiative to Increase the Circularity of HDPE Waste in the Construction Industry: A Physico-Mechanical Characterization of New Sustainable Gypsum Products
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14020478 - 05 Jan 2024
Viewed by 487
Abstract
The annual production of plastic waste worldwide has doubled in just two decades, with approximately 390 million tonnes of plastic waste now being generated. In this context, the construction industry must move towards the development of new, more sustainable materials made under circular [...] Read more.
The annual production of plastic waste worldwide has doubled in just two decades, with approximately 390 million tonnes of plastic waste now being generated. In this context, the construction industry must move towards the development of new, more sustainable materials made under circular economy criteria. In this work, a physico-mechanical characterisation of gypsum composites with the incorporation of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) waste, replacing 2–4–6–8–10% by volume of the original raw material, has been conducted. The results show how the incorporation of these plastic wastes improves the water resistance of the gypsum material without additions, as well as producing a decrease in thermal conductivity and greater resistance to impact. On the other hand, it has been found that, as the percentage of recycled raw material added increases, the mechanical resistance to bending and compression decreases, leading to fracture due to a lack of cohesion between the matrix and the waste. Nevertheless, in all the cases studied, mechanical strengths higher than those established by the EN 13279-2 standard were obtained. Thus, the results confirm the viability of these secondary raw materials to be used in the development of new products for sustainable building, especially in the design of prefabricated panels for false ceilings. Full article
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