Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in Construction and Building Materials

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309). This special issue belongs to the section "Building Materials, and Repair & Renovation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 May 2024 | Viewed by 7833

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Manufacturing and Civil Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Interests: building materials; sustainability; energy efficiency

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Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, KU Leuven University, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
Interests: construction and building materials; concrete technology; sustainable materials; computational materials science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

With growing concerns over climate change and the depletion of natural resources, the construction industry has recognized the urgent need for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly practices. This Special Issue delves into the latest advancements, challenges, and opportunities in the realm of energy-efficient and sustainable construction and building materials. With a strong emphasis on energy-efficient practices and environmental responsibility, this Special Issue explores key topics such as phase change materials (PCMs), sustainable building materials, concrete innovations, and thermal insulation.

The selected articles and studies within this Special Issue highlight recent research and developments in energy-efficient building design, showcasing the potential of phase change materials (PCMs), proper thermal insulation, and innovative building envelope design to optimize thermal performance and reduce energy consumption. Furthermore, the importance of sustainable building materials derived from renewable sources, recycled materials, and low-carbon alternatives are also emphasized in this Special Issue.

Dr. Mohammad Hajmohammadian Baghban
Dr. Davoud Tavakoli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Buildings is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 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

  • phase change material (PCM)
  • sustainable building materials
  • green concrete
  • energy-efficient buildings
  • sustainability
  • building envelope
  • thermal insulation

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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25 pages, 16473 KiB  
Article
Collaborative Optimized Design of Glazing Parameters and PCM Utilization for Energy-Efficient Glass Curtain Wall Buildings
by Xinrui Zheng, Yan Liang, Haibin Yang, Yingyan Zeng and Hongzhi Cui
Buildings 2024, 14(1), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings14010256 - 17 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 674
Abstract
Glass curtain walls (GCWs) have become prevalent in office buildings, owing to their lightweight and modular characteristics. However, their lower thermal resistance, compared to opaque walls, results in increased energy consumption. Incorporating phase-change materials (PCMs) provides a viable solution through which to address [...] Read more.
Glass curtain walls (GCWs) have become prevalent in office buildings, owing to their lightweight and modular characteristics. However, their lower thermal resistance, compared to opaque walls, results in increased energy consumption. Incorporating phase-change materials (PCMs) provides a viable solution through which to address the susceptibility of GCWs to external conditions, thus enhancing thermal performance and mitigating energy concerns. This study delves into the influences of the glazing solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), the glazing heat transfer coefficient (U-value), and PCM thickness on the energy performance of buildings. Using Design Builder (DB) software version 6.1.0.006, a multi-story office building was simulated in different climatic zones in China, covering the climatic characteristics of severe cold, cold, hot summer and warm winter, cold summer and winter, and mild regions. The simulation results quantitatively elucidated the effects of the glazing parameters and the number of PCMs on thermal regulation and energy consumption. A sensitivity analysis identified the glazing SHGC as the most influential factor in energy consumption. Additionally, by employing Response Surface Methodology (RSM), the researchers aimed to achieve a balance between minimal building energy consumption and economic cost, ultimately determining an optimal design solution. The results demonstrated significant energy savings, ranging from 20.16% to 81.18%, accompanied by economic savings, ranging from 15.78% to 79.54%, across distinct climate zones in China. Full article
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0 pages, 1483 KiB  
Article
Studying the Compressed Mechanical Characteristics of a Novel Carbon-Free Plaster Using ANSYS Software
by Mohammed Aqeel Albadrani and Ahmed D. Almutairi
Buildings 2023, 13(11), 2871; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13112871 - 16 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 840
Abstract
Eco-friendly plasters offer several advantages, including sustainability, nontoxicity, and low cost. These plasters are made with sustainable materials, such as natural fibers and starches. These materials can have different mechanical properties compared to traditional plasters, which are made with gypsum and cement. Due [...] Read more.
Eco-friendly plasters offer several advantages, including sustainability, nontoxicity, and low cost. These plasters are made with sustainable materials, such as natural fibers and starches. These materials can have different mechanical properties compared to traditional plasters, which are made with gypsum and cement. Due to the increased attention being paid to environmental issues, efforts are still being made to switch out the conventional plaster of gypsum and cement for an eco-friendlier alternative to minimize toxicity, increase effectiveness, and lower cost. In this study, the effect of novel plaster behavior under pressure on mechanical properties was investigated. The plaster investigated was an eco-friendly carbon-free BSCO plaster. A range of experimental techniques were used, such as compression testing for confirmation using ANSYS 2023 R1 software, which set ergonomic and user-friendly standards as a minimum requirement, with the overarching goal of creating stronger, lighter, and more reasonably priced structures. The results showed that eco-friendly Bilateral Specialized Company (BSCO) plasters could have comparable mechanical properties to traditional plasters. Additionally, it is suggested that eco-friendly and carbon-free plasters can be a viable alternative to traditional plasters in a variety of applications. Researchers and civil engineers can both gain from this scientific paper’s potential to replace conventional stucco with an ecologically friendly alternative that has more effective mechanical qualities. Full article
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14 pages, 1492 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Phase Change Materials on the Physical and Mechanical Properties of Concrete Made with Recycled Aggregate
by Zhiyou Jia, Sandra Cunha, José Aguiar and Pengfei Guo
Buildings 2023, 13(10), 2601; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13102601 - 15 Oct 2023
Viewed by 754
Abstract
With the world’s population increasing, the issue of energy consumption has become increasingly prominent, particularly during the building operation phase, where substantial energy is required for heating and cooling. Presently, the energy necessary for buildings is sourced mainly from the combustion of fossil [...] Read more.
With the world’s population increasing, the issue of energy consumption has become increasingly prominent, particularly during the building operation phase, where substantial energy is required for heating and cooling. Presently, the energy necessary for buildings is sourced mainly from the combustion of fossil fuels, leading to not only energy scarcity but also severe environmental pollution and ecological damage. Furthermore, rapid urbanization has generated a lot of construction and demolition waste. To address these challenges, one promising approach is the incorporation of phase-change materials in recycled aggregate from construction and demolition waste to replace the raw materials of concrete. In this study, the phase-change material suitable for the thermal comfort requirements of buildings was selected and combined with recycled aggregate to replace the natural aggregate in concrete. All the materials used were characterized and three compositions were prepared. From the results, the workability of concrete increased with the phase-change materials added. Regarding water absorption performance, the incorporation of functionalized recycled aggregate presented a small water absorption performance. However, the mechanical performance decreased with the phase-change materials used. This work provides data for the application of phase-change materials in green concrete. Full article
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16 pages, 7014 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Thermal Performance of Fly Ash Foam Concrete Containing Phase Change Materials (PCMs)
by Purev-Erdene Bat-Erdene, Sanjay Pareek, Eddie Koenders, Christoph Mankel, Max Löher and Peng Xiao
Buildings 2023, 13(10), 2481; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13102481 - 29 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 687
Abstract
The aim of this study was to assess the characteristics of fly ash foam concrete containing two varying temperature ranges of microencapsulated phase change materials (PCMs): PCM28D (26–30 °C) and PCM43D (41–45 °C). In total, five different fly ash foam concrete samples were [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to assess the characteristics of fly ash foam concrete containing two varying temperature ranges of microencapsulated phase change materials (PCMs): PCM28D (26–30 °C) and PCM43D (41–45 °C). In total, five different fly ash foam concrete samples were prepared, and the unit weight of cement was substituted with varying percentages of PCM (0%, 10% and 30%). As a result, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) analysis revealed that PCM43D-30% exhibited a heat storage capacity of 45.32 °C and 37.89 °C with 42.87 J/g and 41.01 J/g in its liquid and solid phases, respectively. Furthermore, thermocycle analysis indicated that PCM43D-30% maintained the temperature within the stated phase change range for a duration of 7 h. In conclusion, the incorporation of PCMs (28D and 43D) in fly ash foam concrete shows promise in reducing indoor temperature fluctuations, thereby improving energy efficiency. The improved thermal performance can be suitable for various applications such as inner and outside walls of energy-efficient construction designs. Full article
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23 pages, 12187 KiB  
Article
Embodied Energy in the Production of Guar and Xanthan Biopolymers and Their Cross-Linking Effect in Enhancing the Geotechnical Properties of Cohesive Soil
by M. Ashok Kumar, Arif Ali Baig Moghal, Kopparthi Venkata Vydehi and Abdullah Almajed
Buildings 2023, 13(9), 2304; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13092304 - 10 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1551
Abstract
Traditional soil stabilization techniques, such as cement and lime, are known for their menacing effect on the environment through heavy carbon emissions. Sustainable soil stabilization methods are grabbing attention, and the utilization of biopolymers is surely one among them. Recent studies proved the [...] Read more.
Traditional soil stabilization techniques, such as cement and lime, are known for their menacing effect on the environment through heavy carbon emissions. Sustainable soil stabilization methods are grabbing attention, and the utilization of biopolymers is surely one among them. Recent studies proved the efficiency of biopolymers in enhancing the geotechnical properties to meet the requirements of the construction industry. The suitability of biopolymer application in different soils is still unexplored, and the carbon footprint analysis (CFA) of biopolymers is crucial in promoting the biopolymers as a promising sustainable soil stabilization method. This study attempts to investigate the out-turn of cross-linked biopolymer on soils exhibiting different plasticity characteristics (Medium & High compressibility) and to determine the Embodied carbon factor (ECF) for the selected biopolymers. Guar (G) and Xanthan (X) biopolymers were cross-linked at different proportions to enhance the geotechnical properties of soils. Atterberg’s limits, Compaction characteristics, and Unconfined Compressive Strength were chosen as performance indicators, and their values were analyzed at different combinations of biopolymers before and after cross-linking. The test results have shown that Atterberg’s limits of the soils increased with the addition of biopolymers, and it is attributed to the formation of hydrogels in the soil matrix. Compaction test results reveal that the Optimum Moisture Content (OMC) of biopolymer-modified soil increased, and Maximum Dry Density (MDD) reduced due to the resistance offered by hydrogel against compaction effort. Soils amended with biopolymers and cured for 14, 28, and 60 days have shown an appreciable improvement in Unconfined Compressive Strength (UCS) results. Microlevel analysis was carried out using SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) and FTIR (Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy) to formulate the mechanism responsible for the alteration in targeted performance indicators due to the cross-linking of biopolymers in the soil. The embodied energy in the production of both Guar and Xanthan biopolymers was calculated, and the obtained ECF values were 0.087 and 1.67, respectively. Full article
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23 pages, 6636 KiB  
Article
Shrinkage and Consolidation Characteristics of Chitosan-Amended Soft Soil—A Sustainable Alternate Landfill Liner Material
by Romana Mariyam Rasheed, Arif Ali Baig Moghal, Sai Sampreeth Reddy Jannepally, Ateekh Ur Rehman and Bhaskar C. S. Chittoori
Buildings 2023, 13(9), 2230; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13092230 - 31 Aug 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1184
Abstract
Kuttanad is a region that lies in the southwest part of Kerala, India, and possesses soft soil, which imposes constraints on many civil engineering applications owing to low shear strength and high compressibility. Chemical stabilizers such as cement and lime have been extensively [...] Read more.
Kuttanad is a region that lies in the southwest part of Kerala, India, and possesses soft soil, which imposes constraints on many civil engineering applications owing to low shear strength and high compressibility. Chemical stabilizers such as cement and lime have been extensively utilized in the past to address compressibility issues. However, future civilizations will be extremely dependent on the development of sustainable materials and practices such as the use of bio-enzymes, calcite precipitation methods, and biological materials as a result of escalating environmental concerns due to carbon emissions of conventional stabilizers. One such alternative is the utilization of biopolymers. The current study investigates the effect of chitosan (biopolymer extracted from shrimp shells) in improving the consolidation and shrinkage characteristics of these soft soils. The dosages adopted are 0.5%, 1%, 2%, and 4%. One-dimensional fixed ring consolidation tests indicate that consolidation characteristics are improved upon the addition of chitosan up to an optimum dosage of 2%. The coefficient of consolidation increases up to seven times that of untreated soil, indicating the acceleration of the consolidation process by incorporating chitosan. The shrinkage potential is reduced by 11% after amendment with 4% chitosan and all the treated samples exhibit zero signs of curling. Based on the findings from consolidation and shrinkage data, carbon emission assessments are carried out for a typical landfill liner amended with an optimum dosage of chitosan. In comparison to conventional stabilizers like cement and lime, the results indicate that chitosan minimized carbon emissions by 7.325 times and 8.754 times, respectively. Full article
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Review

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22 pages, 3836 KiB  
Review
Reviewing the Potential of Phase Change Materials in Concrete Pavements for Anti-Freezing Capabilities and Urban Heat Island Mitigation
by Iman Asadi, Stefan Jacobsen, Mohammad Hajmohammadian Baghban, Mehdi Maghfouri and Mohammad Hashemi
Buildings 2023, 13(12), 3072; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13123072 - 09 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1239
Abstract
This study provides an overview of how phase change materials (PCMs) can improve the resistance of concrete pavement to freeze–thaw cycles and mitigate the urban heat island (UHI) effect. The investigation covers different types of PCMs and methods for integrating them into concrete [...] Read more.
This study provides an overview of how phase change materials (PCMs) can improve the resistance of concrete pavement to freeze–thaw cycles and mitigate the urban heat island (UHI) effect. The investigation covers different types of PCMs and methods for integrating them into concrete pavement, as well as the mechanical properties and compressive strength of concrete pavement when employing various PCMs. Prior studies have identified porous aggregates, microencapsulation, and pipelines containing liquid PCM as common approaches for PCM integration. Researchers have observed that the utilization of PCMs in concrete pavement yields favorable thermal properties, suggesting the potential for anti-freezing and UHI mitigation applications. However, the choice of PCM materials should be informed by local climate conditions. Full article
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