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New Advances in Indoor Acoustics and Thermal Comfort for Sustainable Buildings

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "G: Energy and Buildings".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 8030

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica, Energetica, Gestionale e dei Trasporti, Università degli Studi di Genova, sez. Termoenergetica e Condizionamento, Via all’Opera Pia 15a, 16145 Genoa, Italy
Interests: phase change materials; acoustics; power generation; mechanical engineering; waste energy recovery
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Guest Editor
Canada Research Chair in Building Science, BeTOP Lab, Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science, Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada
Interests: energy-efficient buildings; nearly zero-energy buildings; energy storage; advanced materials; nanotechnologies; phase change materials; climate change; resilient buildings
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Nowadays, the concept of “sustainable building” is gaining more and more interest. The European plan on climate change, the general situation about global pollution and the anthropogenic greenhouse effect, as well as the increased comfort expectations of the occupants of buildings are all driving towards the idea of urban development aiming to fight climate change.

The United Nations’ estimate that by 2050 about 70% of the world’s population will live in cities means that a correct design of urban environments is more necessary than ever: this is needed in order to minimize the consumption of water and energy, as well as to create living spaces that are both comfortable and free of pollution, be it acoustic, aquatic or in the air.

Designing only in accordance with current regulations means designing a building that is already obsolete from a thermo-acoustic point of view. Standards related to the insulation of nZEB and passive houses, which are already compliant with or able to meet future requirements, are of course highly recommended.

The advent of new, sustainable and highly efficient thermo-acoustic insulating materials, the development of modern numerical methods and software for the computer-aided design of the whole-building physics, as well as state or local incentives for increasing building efficiency are all aspects that make this Special Issue a real opportunity to showcase cutting edge and pioneering scientific research on these topics.

Dr. Davide Borelli
Prof. Dr. Umberto Berardi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com 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. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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

  • thermal comfort
  • indoor acoustics
  • sustainable buildings
  • new materials
  • building retrofitting

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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20 pages, 4418 KiB  
Article
Modelling Porous Cementitious Media with/without Integrated Latent Heat Storage: Application Scenario
by Mona Nazari Sam, Jens Schneider and Holger V. Lutze
Energies 2023, 16(18), 6687; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16186687 - 18 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 662
Abstract
This paper presents a methodological approach for the evaluation of the thermal behavior of cementitious porous media with/without integrated latent-heat thermal energy storage (LHTES). To achieve this goal, the Lewis-Nielsen model has been calibrated to predict the insulation properties of mineralized foamed concretes. [...] Read more.
This paper presents a methodological approach for the evaluation of the thermal behavior of cementitious porous media with/without integrated latent-heat thermal energy storage (LHTES). To achieve this goal, the Lewis-Nielsen model has been calibrated to predict the insulation properties of mineralized foamed concretes. Two pore-related microstructural fitting parameters, A and Φm, are presented according to the available data in the literature. In this regard, new findings are implemented for the classification of pore structure and prediction of the homogenized thermal conductivity of two-phase cementitious foams with or without phase change materials. The calibration and predictive analyses have been extended to a wide range of experimental data, including variation of binder types, porosities, and latent components. The presented analytical approach appears to agree well with experimental results and can be employed in the design of two-phase mineral foam materials. Then, to assess the thermal behavior of the predicted insulating envelopes, a one-dimensional (1D) enthalpy-based model is used which combines Fourier’s law of heat conduction, the first law of thermodynamics, Lewis-Nielsen conductivities, and the mixture theory for LHTES additions. The results demonstrated the importance of volumetric heat capacity for the thermal inertia of building envelopes. Full article
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11 pages, 2311 KiB  
Article
Proposal of a Simplified Tool for Early Acoustics Design Stage of Classrooms in Compliance with Speech Intelligibility Thresholds
by Paolo Croce, Francesco Leccese, Giacomo Salvadori and Umberto Berardi
Energies 2023, 16(2), 813; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16020813 - 10 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1181
Abstract
The speech intelligibility properties of classrooms greatly influence the learning process of students. Proper acoustics can promote the inclusion of foreign students and children with learning or hearing impairments. While awareness of the topic is increasing, there is still no parameter that can [...] Read more.
The speech intelligibility properties of classrooms greatly influence the learning process of students. Proper acoustics can promote the inclusion of foreign students and children with learning or hearing impairments. While awareness of the topic is increasing, there is still no parameter that can describe all aspects of speech transmission inside a room. This complicates the design of classrooms and requires designers to have extensive knowledge of theory and experience. In the scientific and technical literature, there is a lack of predictive tools, easy to use by designers, which can guide the choices in the early design stages in order to move towards technical solutions able to ensure adequate levels of speech intelligibility. For this reason, in this paper, the most relevant speech intelligibility parameters found in the literature were collected and discussed. Among these, the Clarity index and Speech Transmission Index were singled out as the most effective ones, whose prediction can be made with relatively simple methods. They were then analyzed through their prediction formulas, and a tool was proposed to allow an easy estimation of the minimum total equivalent sound absorption area needed in a classroom. This tool greatly simplifies the early acoustics design stage, allowing the intelligibility of speech within a classroom to be increased without requiring much theoretical effort on the part of the designers. Full article
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16 pages, 1952 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Acoustic Comfort and Sound Energy Transmission in a Yacht
by Simon Kanka, Luca Fredianelli, Francesco Artuso, Francesco Fidecaro and Gaetano Licitra
Energies 2023, 16(2), 808; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16020808 - 10 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1490
Abstract
After being neglected for a long time, in the last years, ships have been recognized and studied as sound emitters. The sound energy they generate impacts the outside, but it can also affect the indoor quality of life if the environments are not [...] Read more.
After being neglected for a long time, in the last years, ships have been recognized and studied as sound emitters. The sound energy they generate impacts the outside, but it can also affect the indoor quality of life if the environments are not properly designed. In fact, acoustic comfort plays a pivotal role, particularly in recreational crafts. In the present work, room acoustics and acoustic camera measurements were performed, inside a 50 m length overall yacht, chosen as a case study in order to evaluate the acoustic comfort. The Italian classification procedure UNI 11367:2010 for buildings was applied, and results have been compared to other international comfort classes. However, all of these are based on prescription for standard buildings, and the present work highlights that they do not account for the effective ship’s acoustic issues: sound energy transfer from impacts over ceilings and sound energy leakage. While attention of shipbuilders in acoustic comfort is shown in the measured good reverberation times, the acoustic camera revealed sound energy leakages corresponding to hidden escape ways that have been poorly insulated. This compromises the standardized sound difference between contiguous compartments and also the thermal insulation, as leakage involves air passages. The present work attempts to evolve the classification procedure by also including, for the first time, the reverberation time, but future studies focused on finding correct standardized impact level noise for ship cases are needed. In fact, their values were very high and not comparable with those measured in actual buildings and for which reference values have been designed. Full article
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22 pages, 6651 KiB  
Article
Life Cycle Analysis of Innovative Technologies: Cold Formed Steel System and Cross Laminated Timber
by Ornella Iuorio, Antonio Gigante and Rosa Francesca De Masi
Energies 2023, 16(2), 586; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16020586 - 04 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1566
Abstract
Reducing the embodied and operational energy of buildings is a key priority for construction and real estate sectors. It is essential to prioritize materials and construction technologies with low carbon footprints for the design of new buildings. Off-site constructions systems are claimed to [...] Read more.
Reducing the embodied and operational energy of buildings is a key priority for construction and real estate sectors. It is essential to prioritize materials and construction technologies with low carbon footprints for the design of new buildings. Off-site constructions systems are claimed to have the potential to deliver a low carbon build environment, but at present there are a lack of data about their real environmental impacts. This paper sheds lights on the environmental performance of two offsite technologies: cold formed steel and cross laminated timber. Specifically, the environmental impacts of a CFS technology are discussed according to six standard impact categories, which includes the global warming potential and the total use of primary energy. The study is based on a detailed cradle to gate life cycle analysis of a real case study, and discusses the impacts of both structural and non-structural components of CFS constructions. As a useful frame of reference, this work compares the environmental impacts of 1 m2 of walls and floors of CFS technology with those of cross laminated timber, which is spreading as innovative off-site technology for the development of nearly zero energy buildings, and a conventional reinforced masonry technology, which is largely adopted in the Italian construction sector. The paper concludes with the necessity to optimize structural systems to reduce the overall embodied carbon impacts. Full article
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26 pages, 9645 KiB  
Article
Reliability Analysis and Economic Evaluation of Thermal Reflective Insulators
by Davide Borelli, Alessandro Cavalletti, Paolo Cavalletti and Luca Antonio Tagliafico
Energies 2022, 15(19), 7238; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15197238 - 01 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1093
Abstract
High-performance thermal insulators allow a dramatic reduction in the thickness of coatings, thanks to their low thermal conductivity. This study provides an overview about thermal insulation materials, with regards to heat reflective insulators in particular. Then, the numerical investigation method adopted to compute [...] Read more.
High-performance thermal insulators allow a dramatic reduction in the thickness of coatings, thanks to their low thermal conductivity. This study provides an overview about thermal insulation materials, with regards to heat reflective insulators in particular. Then, the numerical investigation method adopted to compute the thermal resistance associated with reflective insulators is introduced. This method has been used in turn to check the accuracy of the declared, measured performance of different, heat-reflective materials on the market. Many manufacturers of reflective insulators were available to provide information and a good agreement between the declared and expected thermal resistance has been found. The choice of a non-experimental approach is meant to check the validity of an already performed test on a reflective insulator using a predictive approach instead of standard, additional testing. Then, the insulation of five typical walls at three different sites in Italy has been simulated, showing that most of heat-reflective materials cannot achieve the maximum required transmittance. Interstitial condensation is likely to occur in specific cases, also because of the aluminum layers inside. The economic analyses showed comparable costs for both heat reflective and traditional insulators, and their cost effectiveness needs to be evaluated case by case. Full article
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19 pages, 1666 KiB  
Review
Energizing Sustainable Agriculture: Advances in Greenhouse Heating through Microwave-Based Technologies
by Francesco Cepolina, Federico Silenzi, Leonardo Cirillo, Corrado Schenone and Matteo Zoppi
Energies 2023, 16(23), 7843; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16237843 - 29 Nov 2023
Viewed by 660
Abstract
For the agricultural sector to develop sustainably in the future, progress toward more environmentally friendly technologies and methods is crucial. It is necessary to increase output while reducing the demand for energy, agrochemicals, and water resources. Although greenhouses can be utilized successfully for [...] Read more.
For the agricultural sector to develop sustainably in the future, progress toward more environmentally friendly technologies and methods is crucial. It is necessary to increase output while reducing the demand for energy, agrochemicals, and water resources. Although greenhouses can be utilized successfully for this purpose, significant technical advancements are required, especially when it comes to heating, to lower the use of fossil fuels and boost energy efficiency. Microwaves can warm plants without heating the entire greenhouse volume, which takes a significant amount of energy to compensate for heat loss in the outdoor environment. In this paper, through a thorough examination of the state of the art, a general overview of novel greenhouse heating systems based on radiation is reported. First, the strengths and weaknesses of microwave heating are discussed, and finally, the use of microwaves for soil sterilization is examined. All outcomes suggest these irradiation-based technologies can contribute significantly to energetically sustainable agriculture; moreover, they can be used to increase plant comfort. Full article
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