Beyond Zero: Advancements and Prospect for the Next Generation of Net-Zero Energy/Emission Buildings

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309). This special issue belongs to the section "Building Energy, Physics, Environment, and Systems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 1019

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of Energy, Politecnico di Torino, 10129 Turin, Italy
Interests: strategies and technologies to achieve a decarbonized building stock

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Guest Editor
ENSAPVS—Ecole Nationale Supérieured'Architecture Paris Val de Seine, EVCAU, Paris, France
Interests: biobased materials; architecture; IEQ; MCDM; carbon neutrality; nZEB; energy retrofitting

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Guest Editor
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Piazzale Vincenzo Tecchio 80, 80125 Naples, Italy
Interests: passionate about optimizing energy systems and management strategies for zero energy buildings and communities; modelling and techno-economic assessment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Energy, Information Engineering and Mathematical Models, University of Palermo (UNIPA), 90128 Palermo, Italy
Interests: renewable energy systems; seasonal thermal energy storage; integrated hybrid energy solutions; neural network applications; environmental and economical assessment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The building sector continues to be a pivotal player in the ongoing energy and sustainability transition. On one hand, there is a persistent increase in the overall energy demand of buildings. On the other hand, scientific and technological advancements are yielding excellent results in enhancing building energy efficiency. The aspiration for a building stock with minimal energy consumption and environmental impact has experienced periodic comebacks over several decades. Concepts such as zero-energy building (ZEB), carbon-neutral building, positive energy building (PEB), or zero-emission building have been explored over the years, maintaining their relevance. However, the evolution of these concepts, aligned with recent policies and future scenarios, remains a pressing and contemporary concern.

Against this backdrop, this Special Issue aims to delve into the perspectives of high-energy-performance buildings that will shape sustainable development and transition in the forthcoming years.

To accomplish these objectives, the Special Issue seeks to:

  • Explore novel definitions of zero-energy/zero-emission buildings.
  • Understand how passive solutions, sustainable envelope components, and emerging renewable technologies can be integrated into buildings.
  • Analyze the influence and potential of districts in fostering energy sharing and flexibility.
  • Investigate the application of AI-based technologies in supporting the design of sustainable buildings.
  • Examine whether the goal of achieving net-zero energy/emission is a utopian ideal or a realistic possibility.

This Special Issue invites contributions that critically engage with these themes, providing insights and advancements that contribute to the discourse on the future of zero-energy, low-impact buildings. We welcome rigorous research, innovative methodologies, and practical applications that address the challenges and opportunities in this dynamic field. Researchers and practitioners are encouraged to submit papers that deepen our understanding of the complexities involved and pave the way for sustainable and energy-efficient building practices in the years to come.

Dr. Matteo Bilardo
Dr. Francesca Contrada
Dr. Giovanni Francesco Giuzio
Dr. Stefania Guarino
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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


  • zero-energy buildings
  • low-impact construction
  • net-zero energy
  • carbon-neutral design
  • innovative building practices
  • future building scenarios
  • artificial intelligence in building design

Published Papers (1 paper)

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16 pages, 858 KiB  
A Comparative Study on Discrepancies in Residential Building Energy Performance Certification in a Mediterranean Context
by Ioannis Vardopoulos, Mattheos Santamouris, Antonis A. Zorpas, Giovanni Barone, Christos Italos and Constantinos Vassiliades
Buildings 2024, 14(4), 1009; - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 755
Energy Performance Certification (EPC) systems are pivotal in addressing the global energy challenge, particularly in the building sector. This study evaluates the efficacy of the EPC offered by the Simplified Building Energy Model interface designed to indicate compliance with the Cypriot building regulations, [...] Read more.
Energy Performance Certification (EPC) systems are pivotal in addressing the global energy challenge, particularly in the building sector. This study evaluates the efficacy of the EPC offered by the Simplified Building Energy Model interface designed to indicate compliance with the Cypriot building regulations, widely known as iSBEM-Cy Version 3.4a, by examining a typical residential unit in Cyprus. Data on construction features and electromechanical systems were collected, and actual monthly electricity and oil bills were analyzed to determine the total primary energy consumption. Various factors were considered, including energy efficiency and operational parameters for heating, cooling, lighting, auxiliary systems, and domestic hot water. The building energy performance was simulated using iSBEM-Cy, allowing for comparison with real-world energy consumption. Notable discrepancies were observed, particularly in cooling, with deviations reaching 377.4%. Conversely, domestic hot water consumption exhibited minimal variance at 7%, while heating and lighting showed moderate discrepancies (24.3% and −113.9%, respectively). This study underscores the need for rigorous evaluations to shape effective EPC and provides insights into building energy performance in Mediterranean Cyprus. This research contributes to the broader discourse on sustainable construction practices by aligning simulation results with real-world energy consumption. Full article
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