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Procedures and Methodologies for the Control and Improvement of Energy-Environmental Quality in Construction

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2020) | Viewed by 40544

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Special Issue Editors

Department of Planning, Design and Technology of Architecture, Sapienza University of Rome, Via Flaminia 72, 00196 Rome, Italy
Interests: building physics; building services engineering; building simulation; renewable energy technologies; indoor environmental quality; thermal and acoustic comfort; energy efficiency; zero energy buildings
Department of Planning, Design & Technology of Architecture, Sapienza University of Rome, Via Flaminia 72, 00196 Rome, Italy
Interests: building physics; building services engineering; building simulation; renewable energy technologies; indoor environmental quality; open data & energy analytics; energy efficiency; zero energy buildings; power-to-X solutions; buildings, district and national energy systems
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The energy and environmental performance of buildings is of primary interest, since the building sector is responsible for a large amount of energy consumption and related emissions. Building renovation to improve the above-mentioned performance as well as ensuring a better built environment is crucial.

For this purpose, “Procedures and Methodologies for the Control and Improvement of Energy-Environmental Quality in Construction” require reliability, robustness, and easy adoption at a building and an urban scale.

This Special Issue aims at providing the state-of-the-art on procedures and methodologies developed to improve energy and environmental performance through building renovation.

Building physics experts, building technology researchers, and urban environment scholars are warmly invited to contribute to this Special Issue by sharing their original works in the field.

Prof. Dr. Francesco Mancini
Dr. Benedetto Nastasi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Thermal and acoustic comfort
  • Simulation and experiments
  • Performance assessment
  • Building renovation
  • Sustainable cities

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Editorial

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2 pages, 166 KiB  
Editorial
Procedures and Methodologies for the Control and Improvement of Energy-Environmental Quality in Construction
Energies 2021, 14(9), 2353; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14092353 - 21 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 948
Abstract
Building performance from an energy and an environmental point of view is fundamental due to the large amount of GHG emissions related to the building sector [...] Full article

Research

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18 pages, 2889 KiB  
Article
Effect of Thermal, Acoustic and Air Quality Perception Interactions on the Comfort and Satisfaction of People in Office Buildings
Energies 2021, 14(2), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14020333 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 3964
Abstract
Current research on human comfort has identified a gap in the investigation of multi-domain perception interactions. There is a lack of understanding the interrelationships of different physio-socio-psychological factors and the manifestation of their contextual interactions into cross-modal comfort perception. In that direction, this [...] Read more.
Current research on human comfort has identified a gap in the investigation of multi-domain perception interactions. There is a lack of understanding the interrelationships of different physio-socio-psychological factors and the manifestation of their contextual interactions into cross-modal comfort perception. In that direction, this study used data from a post occupancy evaluation survey (n = 26), two longitudinal comfort studies (n = 1079 and n = 52) and concurrent measurements of indoor environmental quality factors (one building) to assess the effect of thermal, acoustic and air quality perception interactions on comfort and satisfaction of occupants in three mixed-mode university office buildings. The study concluded that thermal sensation (TSV) is associated with both air quality (ASV) and noise perception (NSV). The crossed effect of the interaction of air quality and noise perception on thermal sensation was not evident. The key finding was the significant correlation of operative temperature (Top) with TSV as expected, but also with noise perception and overall acoustic comfort. Regarding the crossed main effects on thermal sensation, a significant effect was found for the interactions of (1) Top and (2) sound pressure levels (SPL30) with air quality perception respectively. Most importantly, this study has highlighted the importance of air quality perception in achieving occupants’ comfort and satisfaction with office space. Full article
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16 pages, 3187 KiB  
Article
Support Decision Tool for Sustainable Energy Requalification the Existing Residential Building Stock. The Case Study of Trevignano Romano
Energies 2021, 14(1), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14010074 - 25 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1721
Abstract
The control and improvement of energy-environmental quality in buildings are responsible for almost 40% of the emissions related to energy and processes, and are essential to achieve the commitment of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) United Nations (UN). This [...] Read more.
The control and improvement of energy-environmental quality in buildings are responsible for almost 40% of the emissions related to energy and processes, and are essential to achieve the commitment of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) United Nations (UN). This paper provides a support tool to planners and administrators of the territory for the identification of interventions aimed at the energy requalification of the existing Italian building heritage, mainly for residential use. The purpose of this tool is to reduce energy consumption by intervening on the building envelope with specific solutions that are identified through a matrix resulting from the study. In the first part of the study, an analysis was carried out on various factors such as the existing residential building, the building and construction types and the materials of the envelope typical of each construction period, which are critical for energy efficiency issues. In the second part of the study, the analysis of the state of the art of the insulating materials existing on the international and national market was carried out, in order to standardize the efficiency interventions of the building envelope. By exploiting the potential of the proposed matrix, and integrating it with Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, it would be possible to create a database containing information regarding the characteristics of the building envelope of the residential building stock and to identify a set of insulation interventions more suited to each specific case near Rome, Italy. Full article
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25 pages, 1002 KiB  
Article
Dynamic Approach to Evaluate the Effect of Reducing District Heating Temperature on Indoor Thermal Comfort
Energies 2021, 14(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14010025 - 23 Dec 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2259
Abstract
To reduce energy consumption for space heating, a coordinated action on energy supply, building fabric and occupant behavior is required to realize sustainable improvements. A reduction in district heating supply temperature is an interesting option to allow the incorporation of renewable energy sources [...] Read more.
To reduce energy consumption for space heating, a coordinated action on energy supply, building fabric and occupant behavior is required to realize sustainable improvements. A reduction in district heating supply temperature is an interesting option to allow the incorporation of renewable energy sources and reduce distribution losses, but its impact on the final users must be considered. This aspect is especially critical as most European countries feature an old building stock, with poor insulation and heating systems designed for high-temperature operation. In this study, a complete methodology is devised to evaluate the effect of district heating temperature reduction on the end users by modeling all the stages of the system, from the primary heat exchanger to the indoor environment. A dynamic energy performance engine, based on EN ISO 52016-1:2017 standard and completed with a heat exchanger model, is implemented, and its outputs are used to calculate thermal comfort indicators throughout the heating season. As a practical application, the method is used to evaluate different scenarios resulting from the reduction of primary supply temperature of a second-generation district heating network in Northern Italy. Several building typologies dating back to different periods are considered, in the conservative assumption of radiator heating. The results of the simulations show that the most severe discomfort situations are experienced in buildings built before 1990, but in recent buildings the amount of discomfort occurrences can be high because of the poor output of radiators when working at very low temperatures. Among the possible measures that could help the transition, actions on the primary side, on the installed power and on the building fabric are considered. The investigation method requires a limited amount of input data and is applicable to different scales, from the individual building to entire urban areas lined up for renovation. Full article
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18 pages, 3655 KiB  
Article
A New Generation of Thermal Energy Benchmarks for University Buildings
Energies 2020, 13(24), 6606; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13246606 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2161
Abstract
In 2008, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE TM46 UC) presented an annual-fixed thermal energy benchmark of 240 kWh/m2/yr for university campus (UC) buildings as an attempt to reduce energy consumption in public buildings. However, the CIBSE TM46 UC [...] Read more.
In 2008, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE TM46 UC) presented an annual-fixed thermal energy benchmark of 240 kWh/m2/yr for university campus (UC) buildings as an attempt to reduce energy consumption in public buildings. However, the CIBSE TM46 UC benchmark fails to consider the difference between energy demand in warm and cold months, as the thermal performance of buildings largely depends on the ambient temperature. This paper presents a new generation of monthly thermal energy benchmarks (MTEBs) using two computational methods including mixed-use model and converter model, which consider the variations of thermal demand throughout a year. MTEBs were generated using five basic variables, including mixed activities in the typical college buildings, university campus revised benchmark (UCrb), typical operation of heating systems, activities impact, and heating degree days. The results showed that MTEBs vary from 24 kWh/m2/yr in January to one and nearly zero kWh/m2/yr in June and July, respectively. Based on the detailed assessments, a typical college building was defined in terms of the percentage of its component activities. Compared with the 100% estimation error of the TM46 UC benchmark, the maximum 21% error of the developed methodologies is a significant achievement. The R-squared value of 99% confirms the reliability of the new generation of benchmarks. Full article
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13 pages, 3713 KiB  
Article
In Situ Monitoring of Drying Process of Masonry Walls
Energies 2020, 13(23), 6190; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13236190 - 25 Nov 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1536
Abstract
The in situ hygro-thermal behavior of a wet masonry wall during its drying process is presented in this paper. The considered wall is a part of a basement of a historic building that was subjected to renovation works. The building is located in [...] Read more.
The in situ hygro-thermal behavior of a wet masonry wall during its drying process is presented in this paper. The considered wall is a part of a basement of a historic building that was subjected to renovation works. The building is located in the City of Łowicz (Poland). The drying process was implemented by applying the thermo-injection method and a novel prototype of the drying device used for this method. The dedicated acquisition system was developed to in situ monitor parameters of the drying process. The air temperature and relative humidity in various locations in the basement, temperatures and moisture contents at several points of the wet wall as well as the electrical parameters of the drying device were registered. Based on variations of the monitored parameters, the hygro-thermal behavior of the wall during drying was studied. After 6 days of drying, the wall temperature in the drying zone was increased to approximately 40–55 °C, while the moisture content was reduced to the mean level of 3.76% vol. (2.35% wt.). These wall parameters allowed for effective impregnation of the wall with the hydrophobic silicone micro-emulsion, which created horizontal and vertical waterproofing. Moreover, the specific energy consumption during the drying process defined as energy consumption divided by the mean volumetric moisture content drop (MC) between the initial and final state in the wall and by the length of the dried wall section was estimated to be 11.08 kWh/MC%/m. Full article
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27 pages, 9039 KiB  
Article
Thermo-Fluid Dynamics Analysis of Fire Smoke Dispersion and Control Strategy in Buildings
Energies 2020, 13(22), 6000; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13226000 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2176
Abstract
Smoke is the main threat of death in fires. For this reason, it becomes extremely important to understand the dispersion of this pollutant and to verify the influence of different control systems on its spread through buildings, in order to avoid or minimize [...] Read more.
Smoke is the main threat of death in fires. For this reason, it becomes extremely important to understand the dispersion of this pollutant and to verify the influence of different control systems on its spread through buildings, in order to avoid or minimize its effects on living beings. Thus, this work aims to perform thermo-fluid dynamic study of smoke dispersion in a closed environment. All numerical analysis was performed using the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) software. Different simulations were carried out to evaluate the influence of the exhaust system (natural or mechanical), the heat release rate (HRR), ventilation and the smoke curtain in the pollutant dispersion. Results of the smoke layer interface height, temperature profile, average exhaust volumetric flow rate, pressure and velocity distribution are presented and discussed. The results indicate that an increase in the natural exhaust area increases the smoke layer interface height, only for the well-ventilated compartment (open windows); an increase in the HRR accelerates the downward vertical displacement of the smoke layer and that the 3 m smoke curtain is efficient in exhausting smoke, only in the case of poorly ventilated compartments (i.e., with closed windows). Full article
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20 pages, 8754 KiB  
Article
Bioclimatic Architecture and Urban Morphology. Studies on Intermediate Urban Open Spaces
Energies 2020, 13(21), 5819; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13215819 - 06 Nov 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3423
Abstract
This paper deals with the interactions between biophysical and microclimatic factors on the one hand with, on the other, the urban morphology of intermediate urban open spaces, the relationship between environmental and bioclimatic thermal comfort, and the implementation of innovative materials and the [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the interactions between biophysical and microclimatic factors on the one hand with, on the other, the urban morphology of intermediate urban open spaces, the relationship between environmental and bioclimatic thermal comfort, and the implementation of innovative materials and the use of greenery, aimed at the users’ well-being. In particular, the thermal comfort of the open spaces of the consolidated fabrics of the city of Rome is studied, by carrying out simulations of cooling strategies relating to two scenarios applied to Piazza Bainsizza. The first scenario involves the use of cool materials for roofs, cladding surfaces, and pavement, while the second scenario, in addition to the cool materials employed in the first scenario, also includes the use of greenery and permeable green surfaces. The research was performed using summer and winter microclimatic simulations of the CFD (ENVI-met v. 3.1) type, in order to determine the different influences of the materials with cold colors, trees, and vegetated surfaces on the thermal comfort of the urban morphology itself. Meanwhile, the comfort assessment was determined through the physiological equivalent temperature (PET) calculated with the RayMan program. The first scenario, with the use of cool materials, improves summer conditions and reduces the urban heat island effect but does not eliminate thermal discomfort due to the lack of shaded surfaces and vegetation. The second scenario, where material renovations is matched with vegetation improvements, has a slightly bad effect on winter conditions but drastically ameliorates the summer situation, both for direct users and, thanks to the strong reduction of the urban heat island effect, to urban inhabitants as a whole. Full article
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28 pages, 5046 KiB  
Article
Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) in Historical Buildings: Opportunities and Constraints
Energies 2020, 13(14), 3628; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13143628 - 14 Jul 2020
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 4426
Abstract
In this work, we investigate the potential of using last generation photovoltaic systems in traditional building components of historical buildings. The multifunctional photovoltaic components also open new application and implementation horizons in the field of energy retrofitting in historical buildings. Some of the [...] Read more.
In this work, we investigate the potential of using last generation photovoltaic systems in traditional building components of historical buildings. The multifunctional photovoltaic components also open new application and implementation horizons in the field of energy retrofitting in historical buildings. Some of the Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) solutions lend themselves optimally to solving the problems of energy efficiency in historical buildings. For the next few years, Italian legislation foresees increasing percentages of energy production from renewable sources, including historical buildings. The opportunities and constraints analysed are presented through a specific approach, typical of building processes for innovative technological BIPV solutions on historical buildings. Full article
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25 pages, 3925 KiB  
Article
How the Italian Residential Sector Could Contribute to Load Flexibility in Demand Response Activities: A Methodology for Residential Clustering and Developing a Flexibility Strategy
Energies 2020, 13(13), 3359; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13133359 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 3557
Abstract
This work aims at exploring the potential contribution of the Italian residential sector in implementing load flexibility for Demand Response activities. In detail, by combining experimental and statistical approaches, a method to estimate the load profile of a dwelling cluster of 751 units [...] Read more.
This work aims at exploring the potential contribution of the Italian residential sector in implementing load flexibility for Demand Response activities. In detail, by combining experimental and statistical approaches, a method to estimate the load profile of a dwelling cluster of 751 units has been presented. To do so, 14 dwelling archetypes have been defined and the algorithm to categorise the sample units has been built. Then, once the potential flexible loads for each archetype have been evaluated, a control strategy for applying load time shifting has been implemented. That strategy accounts for both the power demand profile and the hourly electricity price. Specifically, it has been assumed that end users access a pricing mechanism following the hourly trend of electricity economic value, which is traded day by day in the Italian spot market, instead of the current Time of Use (TOU) system. In such a way, it is possible to flatten the dwellings cluster profile, limiting undesired and unexpected results on the balancing market. In the end, monthly and yearly flexibility indexes have been defined along with the strategy effectiveness parameter. From calculations, it emerges that a dwelling cluster for the Italian residential sector is characterised by a flexibility index of 10.3% and by a strategy effectiveness equal to 34%. It is noteworthy that the highest values for flexibility purpose have been registered over the heating season (winter) for the weekends. Full article
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35 pages, 2939 KiB  
Article
Development of Weighting Scheme for Indoor Air Quality Model Using a Multi-Attribute Decision Making Method
Energies 2020, 13(12), 3120; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13123120 - 16 Jun 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 2765
Abstract
When planning the energy demand of ventilation, proper consideration should be given to the possible scenarios of indoor air quality and pollutant concentrations. The purpose of the present research is to create a practical method of prioritising indoor air pollutants, considering technical, economical [...] Read more.
When planning the energy demand of ventilation, proper consideration should be given to the possible scenarios of indoor air quality and pollutant concentrations. The purpose of the present research is to create a practical method of prioritising indoor air pollutants, considering technical, economical and health aspects, in the Indoor Air Quality model (IAQ). In order to find the global weights for the combined IAQindex model sub-elements (in practice, air pollutant concentrations), the Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) approach is used. The authors have approached the problem of a weighting scheme in a model such as the complex model of the IAQ related to making decisions with many criteria and with the Multi-Attribute Decision Making MADM approach (specifically MCDM). The basis of the MADM method is a decision matrix constructed rationally by the authors, which includes six attributes: actual indoor air carbon dioxide concentration, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) and formaldehyde HCHO concentration, and their anthropogenic and construction product emissions to the indoor environment. The decision model of IAQindex includes five alternatives (possible situations), and the combination of pollutant concentration attributes with additional emission attributes is related to the indoor environment under specific situation. For defining the weights of criteria, the authors provide objective approaches: (i) entropy-based approach considering measuring the amount of information, and (ii) CRITIC, a statistic-based approach. The value of the presented method, i.e., the determination of global weights for IAQ components, is shown as a practical application to determine IAQ and the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) index for an office building used as a case study. Full article
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21 pages, 2215 KiB  
Article
Air Enthalpy as an IAQ Indicator in Hot and Humid Environment—Experimental Evaluation
Energies 2020, 13(6), 1481; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13061481 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2717
Abstract
The authors studied the impact of indoor air humidity in the range of 60% to 90% on building user perception in the temperature range of 26 to 28 °C. The research thesis was put forward that the impact of humidity on indoor air [...] Read more.
The authors studied the impact of indoor air humidity in the range of 60% to 90% on building user perception in the temperature range of 26 to 28 °C. The research thesis was put forward that the impact of humidity on indoor air quality dissatisfaction of building users in a warm and humid indoor environment is greater than that indicated in thermal comfort models. The presented experiment examined the indoor air quality perception of n = 28 subjects in the test chamber of a nearly zero energy building under ten environmental conditions, together with a thermal comfort assessment. The authors developed an experimental relation for predicting building users’ satisfaction based on the Weber–Fechner law, where the predicted percentage of dissatisfied users (PD) is determined by means of air enthalpy (h), PD = f(h). The obtained results confirmed the sated thesis. Additionally, the intersection points of the experimental function and isotherms resulting from the Fanger model are presented, where the thermal comfort assessment starts to indicate lower user dissatisfaction results than experimental values. The authors recommend the experimental equation for humid air enthalpies in the range of 50 to 90 kJ/kg. The indoor air quality assessment based on the enthalpy value is simple and can be used to determine the overall Indoor Environmental Quality index of a building (IEQindex). Full article
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16 pages, 8227 KiB  
Article
Group Layout Pattern and Outdoor Wind Environment of Enclosed Office Buildings in Hangzhou
Energies 2020, 13(2), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13020406 - 14 Jan 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2364
Abstract
This paper presents a study of the effects of wind-induced airflow through the urban built layout pattern using statistical analysis. This study investigates the association between typically enclosed office building layout patterns and the wind environment. First of all, this study establishes an [...] Read more.
This paper presents a study of the effects of wind-induced airflow through the urban built layout pattern using statistical analysis. This study investigates the association between typically enclosed office building layout patterns and the wind environment. First of all, this study establishes an ideal site model of 200 m × 200 m and obtains four typical multi-story enclosed office building group layouts, namely the multi-yard parallel opening, the multi-yard returning shape opening, the overall courtyard parallel opening, and the overall courtyard returning shape opening. Then, the natural ventilation performance of different building morphologies is further evaluated via the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation software Phoenics. This study compares wind speed distribution at an outdoor pedestrian height (1.5 m). Finally, the natural ventilation performance corresponding to the four layout forms is obtained, which showed that the outdoor wind environment of the multi-yard type is more comfortable than the overall courtyard type, and the degree of enclosure of the building group is related to the advantages and disadvantages of the outdoor wind environment. The quantitative relevance between building layout and wind environment is examined, according to which the results of an ameliorated layout proposal are presented and assessed by Phoenics. This research could provide a method to create a livable urban wind environment. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

40 pages, 7764 KiB  
Review
Biometric Data as Real-Time Measure of Physiological Reactions to Environmental Stimuli in the Built Environment
Energies 2021, 14(1), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14010232 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 5229
Abstract
The physiological and cognitive effects of environmental stimuli from the built environment on humans have been studied for more than a century, over short time frames in terms of comfort, and over long-time frames in terms of health and wellbeing. The strong interdependence [...] Read more.
The physiological and cognitive effects of environmental stimuli from the built environment on humans have been studied for more than a century, over short time frames in terms of comfort, and over long-time frames in terms of health and wellbeing. The strong interdependence of objective and subjective factors in these fields of study has traditionally involved the necessity to rely on a number of qualitative sources of information, as self-report variables, which however, raise criticisms concerning their reliability and precision. Recent advancements in sensing technology and data processing methodologies have strongly contributed towards a renewed interest in biometric data as a potential high-precision tool to study the physiological effects of selected stimuli on humans using more objective and real-time measures. Within this context, this review reports on a broader spectrum of available and advanced biosensing techniques used in the fields of building engineering, human physiology, neurology, and psychology. The interaction and interdependence between (i) indoor environmental parameters and (ii) biosignals identifying human physiological response to the environmental stressors are systematically explored. Online databases ScienceDirect, Scopus, MDPI and ResearchGate were scanned to gather all relevant publications in the last 20 years, identifying and listing tools and methods of biometric data collection, assessing the potentials and drawbacks of the most relevant techniques. The review aims to support the introduction of biomedical signals as a tool for understanding the physiological aspects of indoor comfort in the view of achieving an improved balance between human resilience and building resilience, addressing human indoor health as well as energetic and environmental building performance. Full article
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