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Inclusive Design and Energy Efficiency in Sustainable Built Environment

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Green Building".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2024) | Viewed by 18679

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of the Built Environment, Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Interests: architecture; building science; resilient buildings; energy efficiency; environmental comfort; climate change; impacts of the built environment on health; inclusive and accessible design; lighting
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Sustainable Building Innovation Lab, School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, 124 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
Interests: urban microclimate; urban heat island; mitigation and adaptation; energy performance and benchmarking; indoor environmental quality
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue of Sustainability concerning inclusive and energy-efficient building design. The venue is a peer-reviewed open access journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of sustainability. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability.

Traditionally, efficiency and inclusivity in the built environment have been considered two distinct research, construction, and policy domains. The climate crisis and increased energy prices force governments to adopt energy efficiency measures and decarbonize the building sector. However, inclusive spaces and buildings are still considered a luxury, available only to citizens of the most developed countries.

The built environment often sets barriers to people who differ from the “standard”. An inclusive design is the human-centered design that is not based on the “standardized person”, but rather attempts to create environments that facilitate the diversity of the human condition. Future sustainable built environments need to be equitable, healthy, and energy-efficient to enable people’s participation in the community and secure their wellbeing.

The Sustainability Special Issue “Inclusive Design and Energy Efficiency in Sustainable Built Environment” aims to showcase research that closes the gap between energy efficiency and inclusivity, and explores the ways an efficient design could benefit the entirety of the human population, especially the most vulnerable groups. We welcome papers on:

  • energy efficiency in the built environment;
  • energy-efficient building systems;
  • climate change;
  • urban environment sustainability;
  • urban climate;
  • mitigation technologies;
  • wellbeing in the building environment;
  • sustainable design;
  • sustainable buildings;
  • enabling environments;
  • social inclusion;
  • user experiences;
  • inclusive design;
  • home modifications and assistive technology;
  • environmental psychology

The listed keywords suggest just a few of many possibilities. If you are uncertain about whether your paper fits into the scope of this Special Issue, please contact the Guest Editors.

Dr. Konstantina Vasilakopoulou
Prof. Dr. Priya Rajagopalan
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. Sustainability 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 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

  • energy efficiency in the built environment
  • energy-efficient building systems
  • climate change
  • urban environment sustainability
  • urban climate
  • mitigation technologies
  • wellbeing in the building environment
  • sustainable design
  • sustainable buildings
  • enabling environments
  • social inclusion
  • user experiences
  • inclusive design
  • home modifications and assistive technology
  • environmental psychology

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 4761 KiB  
Article
Interaction between Thermal Conditions and Ventilation in Kindergartens in Melbourne, Australia
by Brett Munckton and Priyadarsini Rajagopalan
Sustainability 2024, 16(3), 1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16031186 - 31 Jan 2024
Viewed by 519
Abstract
Kindergartens are important community facilities that introduce children to a classroom learning environment. The research aimed to examine current practices in kindergarten heating, cooling, and ventilation and investigate how IAQ and thermal comfort interact with each other at five selected kindergartens in Melbourne. [...] Read more.
Kindergartens are important community facilities that introduce children to a classroom learning environment. The research aimed to examine current practices in kindergarten heating, cooling, and ventilation and investigate how IAQ and thermal comfort interact with each other at five selected kindergartens in Melbourne. This research used field measurements to investigate indoor air quality (IAQ) and thermal conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic and used CO2 concentration levels as an indicator of IAQ. The research found that high CO2 levels above recommended maximums were reached in operational kindergartens. The highest level identified during class time was 1908 ppm. Conditions outside recommended levels for thermal comfort were also recorded. A kindergarten operating with the use of both mechanical and natural ventilation was found to have lower CO2 levels than the kindergartens relying solely on mechanical ventilation. However, thermal comfort was compromised in this kindergarten. The data collected in kindergartens in their natural settings offered insights into the actual ventilation conditions in these facilities and provided baseline data for developing pandemic-resilient kindergartens. The findings are relevant to kindergartens in other countries that have dynamic window/door-opening behavior. Full article
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22 pages, 2730 KiB  
Article
Sustainability Transition Framework: An Integrated Conceptualisation of Sustainability Change
by Emina Kristina Petrović
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010217 - 26 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1059
Abstract
Responding to calls for climate action, this article develops and introduces a Sustainability Transition Framework (STF), which is a high-level interpretation of the complex dynamics dominating the current historical moment characterised by an aspiration for accelerated climate action and challenges with implementing change. [...] Read more.
Responding to calls for climate action, this article develops and introduces a Sustainability Transition Framework (STF), which is a high-level interpretation of the complex dynamics dominating the current historical moment characterised by an aspiration for accelerated climate action and challenges with implementing change. This STF brings together and integrates a set of theories about change which were developed in different disciplines and not commonly discussed at the same time. The four key theories are: (1) sustainability transitions, transition management and related theories which consider the necessary change in sociotechnical regimes; (2) diffusion of innovation theory, which provides a high-level overview of patterns with uptake of innovation; (3) a change curve which explains complex emotional experiences when facing organisational change; and (4) a conceptualisation of the style cycle, which is commonly used in the history of art and architecture. These are visually depicted and integrated into a novel STF diagram. The STF presents one of the most comprehensive integrations of currently available knowledge on how change happens, which is essential for accelerated climate action. The STF helps understand individual or social group experiences. Through an improved understanding of the sustainability transition, the STF empowers climate action. Full article
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23 pages, 2095 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Interior Designers’ Attitudes toward Sustainable Interior Design Practices: The Case of Jordan
by Mousa S. Mohsen and Rana Matarneh
Sustainability 2023, 15(19), 14491; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151914491 - 05 Oct 2023
Viewed by 3496
Abstract
Interior designers play a pivotal role in shaping the built environment and catalyzing positive change through the adoption of sustainable design practices. This study centers on the analysis of prevailing attitudes held by interior designers in Jordan towards sustainable interior design practices. Through [...] Read more.
Interior designers play a pivotal role in shaping the built environment and catalyzing positive change through the adoption of sustainable design practices. This study centers on the analysis of prevailing attitudes held by interior designers in Jordan towards sustainable interior design practices. Through a comprehensive methodology involving a literature review and a three-part questionnaire, the research explores the benefits, challenges, and integration of sustainability principles. The study highlights substantial awareness (85%) of sustainable interior design’s environmental impact and resource preservation. Additionally, 81% acknowledge its enduring significance and 89% recognize its diverse benefits. While 61% exhibit familiarity and 27% claim professional experience. Among sustainability indicators, energy efficiency scores 4.25, resource efficiency 4.27, and “Design aligns with laws and regulations by the Ministry of Labor” ranks highest at 4.37. This study significantly augments our understanding of sustainable interior design by introducing a comprehensive evaluation framework that encompasses the three sustainability dimensions. It equips decision makers with a robust tool to identify specific practices that bolster sustainability performance, further advancing the field. Furthermore, this study provides practical strategies for the application of sustainable interior design principles in the Jordanian context, emphasizing the need for hands-on training, interdisciplinary collaboration, policy development, and ongoing monitoring. These strategies aim to bridge the gap between awareness and practical experience, fostering a culture of sustainability within the interior design profession. The findings of this research resonate with existing literature on sustainability in the built environment, demonstrating a global shift towards sustainability as a fundamental approach rather than a passing trend. The introduced comprehensive evaluation framework equips decision makers with a robust tool to identify specific practices that bolster sustainability performance, further advancing the field of sustainable interior design in Jordan and beyond. Full article
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19 pages, 2213 KiB  
Article
Towards Assessing Embodied Emissions in Existing Buildings LCA—Comparison of Continuing Use, Energetic Refurbishment versus Demolition and New Construction
by Michael Storck, Simon Slabik, Annette Hafner and Ruben Herz
Sustainability 2023, 15(18), 13981; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151813981 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1423
Abstract
One of the main objectives facing climate protection targets is how to deal with the existing building stock. Refurbishment measures are essential to ensure sustainable urban transformation. Life cycle assessments (LCAs) enable refurbishment measures to be evaluated holistically at the environmental level. However, [...] Read more.
One of the main objectives facing climate protection targets is how to deal with the existing building stock. Refurbishment measures are essential to ensure sustainable urban transformation. Life cycle assessments (LCAs) enable refurbishment measures to be evaluated holistically at the environmental level. However, there is still no sufficient methodological basis for the uniform evaluation. This present paper proposes a new perspective for comparing the continuing use with refurbishment as well as the demolition and new construction of a building. Thus, two new indicators are presented and elaborated regarding refurbishment measures: sustained emissions and the avoidance potential. To verify and validate the newly developed methodology, we implement it as part of this case study. We compare the environmental impact of a building’s continuing use with refurbishment measures as well as demolition and a replacement building with functional equivalence. The results indicate the environmental benefits of refurbishment measures compared to other approaches towards existing buildings. Although new buildings typically possess a superior energy standard, nevertheless, irrespective of the major impact of operational energy, refurbishment measures appear to be the most viable option for dealing with existing buildings over their life cycle. Full article
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23 pages, 8611 KiB  
Article
Assessing Office Building Marketability before and after the Implementation of Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure Policies—Lessons Learned from Major U.S. Cities
by Luming Shang, Sofia Dermisi, Youngjun Choe, Hyun Woo Lee and Yohan Min
Sustainability 2023, 15(11), 8883; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15118883 - 31 May 2023
Viewed by 781
Abstract
An increasing number of U.S. cities require commercial/office properties to publicly disclose their energy performance due to the adoption of energy benchmarking and disclosure policies. This level of transparency provides an additional in-depth assessment of a building’s performance beyond a sustainability certification (e.g., [...] Read more.
An increasing number of U.S. cities require commercial/office properties to publicly disclose their energy performance due to the adoption of energy benchmarking and disclosure policies. This level of transparency provides an additional in-depth assessment of a building’s performance beyond a sustainability certification (e.g., Energy Star, LEED) and may lead less energy-efficient buildings to invest in energy retrofits, therefore improving their marketability. However, the research is scarce on assessing the impact of such policies on office building marketability. This study tries to fill this gap by investigating the impact of energy benchmarking policies on the performance of office buildings in four major U.S. cities (New York; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; and Chicago). We use interrupted time series analysis (ITSA), while accounting for sustainability certification, public policy adoption, and property real estate performance. The results revealed that in some cities, energy-efficient buildings generally perform better than less energy-efficient buildings after the policy implementation, especially if they are Class A. The real estate performances of energy-efficient buildings also exhibited continuously increasing trends after the policy implementation. However, due to potentially confounding factors, further analysis is required to conclude the policy impacts on energy-efficient buildings are more positive than those on less energy-efficient buildings. Full article
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16 pages, 2914 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Sighted and Visually Impaired Users to the Physical and Perceptual Dimensions of an Oasis Settlement Urban Park
by Samiha Boucherit, Luigi Maffei, Massimiliano Masullo, Djihed Berkouk and Tallal Abdel Karim Bouzir
Sustainability 2023, 15(8), 7014; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15087014 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1498
Abstract
Inclusive design (ID) is a design process that ensures that all people, particularly marginalized groups, can use the environment. Inclusive design (ID) in architecture is based on accurate data related to user experiences where the users’ perception of the built environment demonstrates the [...] Read more.
Inclusive design (ID) is a design process that ensures that all people, particularly marginalized groups, can use the environment. Inclusive design (ID) in architecture is based on accurate data related to user experiences where the users’ perception of the built environment demonstrates the optimal facilitation of their expectations, needs, and demands. Despite this, in studies about inclusive design and multisensory architecture, the perspective of visually impaired people (VIP) is still lacking, especially in accessing public spaces. To address this gap, this study aims to investigate how sighted and visually impaired people perceive an oasis settlement urban park’s physical environment and verify the similarities and differences between these two categories. The research was conducted by applying two approaches, one qualitative based on a series of field surveys and the other quantitative relying on in situ measurements of the physical dimensions of the environment. The main findings of this study show that visually impaired people deserve special consideration due to their varying abilities to perceive the surrounding environment. Furthermore, the results indicate that auditory environments are more perceptible to the visually impaired than the sighted. In contrast, findings from the analysis of the perceived restorativeness scale (PRS-11) show that sighted users of the park have a slightly higher average score than visually impaired users regarding its components of Fascination, Being-Away, Coherence, and Scope. According to the Semantic Differential Scale of Multi-Variable Evaluation of the Park Environment, there are no significant differences between park users’ perceptions of the park’s nature and the thermal environment. The conclusion suggests that to ensure users’ well-being, it is crucial to understand the different individual needs among groups of users and come up with innovative and all-inclusive solutions. Full article
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18 pages, 4663 KiB  
Article
Thermal Loads Map and Overall Energy Analysis Depending on Low-Effort Parameters Change: A Commercial Building Case Study
by Raniero Sannino
Sustainability 2023, 15(8), 6899; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15086899 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1030
Abstract
Starting from the second half of 2022, the energy market, in particular, the European natural gas supply, passed through an eventful period. The sanctions imposed on Russia because of the Ukrainian war rearranged the steadiness of the natural gas suppliers to the continent, [...] Read more.
Starting from the second half of 2022, the energy market, in particular, the European natural gas supply, passed through an eventful period. The sanctions imposed on Russia because of the Ukrainian war rearranged the steadiness of the natural gas suppliers to the continent, and major concerns arose regarding the reduction in primary energy consumption, particularly for heating and cooling purposes. This study proposes a method for mapping the heating and cooling loads of a building as a function of effortlessly changeable boundary conditions (i.e., heating/cooling temperature set-point, infiltration rate and work shift); the simulation of the building thermal loads as well as the final and primary energy estimation was carried out with DesignBuilder, an Energyplus-based software, with a dynamic calculation approach. Thermal load maps provide an immediate picture of the achievable energy savings and represents an effective tool for energy monitoring; in addition, the maps can support energy managers and policymakers for rapidly complying with unexpected scenarios. The mapping method has been applied to a non-residential building and the results showed that energy savings up to 40% could be reached, ensuring an adequate indoor thermal comfort. Finally, the final and primary energy analysis showed the benefit of switching from fossil fuel boilers to electric heat pumps for space heating due to a minimum primary energy saving of 70%. Full article
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25 pages, 4208 KiB  
Article
Home Indoor Environmental Quality and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
by Sima Alizadeh, Catherine E. Bridge, Bruce H. Judd and Valsamma Eapen
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 2899; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15042899 - 06 Feb 2023
Viewed by 3215
Abstract
Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) has been found to influence children’s health and behaviour, particularly conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This research aimed to ascertain whether housing IEQ impacted the symptoms of ADHD and its related behaviours. This study involved 435 [...] Read more.
Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) has been found to influence children’s health and behaviour, particularly conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This research aimed to ascertain whether housing IEQ impacted the symptoms of ADHD and its related behaviours. This study involved 435 parents of children and adolescents (aged 5–17) with ADHD residing in Australia. We utilised an online survey tool comprising the home version of the ADHD Rating Scale for Children and Adolescents and the Housing Environmental Quality Assessment Tool. The findings revealed that all the housing IEQ factors were associated with both the diagnosis and the severity of the symptoms. The results indicated that, for over one in ten children with ADHD (13.3%), the diagnosis was impacted by a collective contribution of air quality, acoustic quality, lighting quality, and the thermal comfort within their home. The air quality and the thermal comfort predicted a 4% variance in the severity of inattention. Additionally, air and lighting qualities predicted a 9.7% variance in the severity of hyperactivity-impulsivity, and all the factors of air quality, acoustic quality, lighting quality, and thermal comfort predicted a 10.9% variance in the severity of combined ADHD. In conclusion, this research provided insights into the importance of housing features and suggests that improving the housing indoor environmental quality, mainly thermal comfort, air, and lighting quality, could positively correlate with alleviating ADHD symptoms and severity among children and adolescents. Therefore, ensuring an appropriate indoor environmental quality should be prioritised in housing design, modification, and building, especially for those with ADHD. Full article
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16 pages, 3004 KiB  
Article
Compatibility of Sustainable Facility Management and Building Information Modeling Applications: The Role of Naming Conventions
by John D. Foster, Jess W. Everett and William T. Riddell
Sustainability 2023, 15(2), 1482; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15021482 - 12 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1525
Abstract
This research focuses on data transfer from Sustainable Facility Management (SFM) to Building Information Modeling (BIM) applications—specifically BUILDER SMS to Autodesk Revit—where the BIM models are created for existing buildings. BIM models were created for ten existing buildings to support initial data transfer [...] Read more.
This research focuses on data transfer from Sustainable Facility Management (SFM) to Building Information Modeling (BIM) applications—specifically BUILDER SMS to Autodesk Revit—where the BIM models are created for existing buildings. BIM models were created for ten existing buildings to support initial data transfer based on different object parameters: (a) alphanumeric identifier (five buildings); and (b) name (five buildings). The identifier is randomly assigned by BUILDER SMS. The name is derived from the cardinal direction for exterior components and room names for interior components. The comparison of the methods was accomplished by observing times to ensure data compatibility, complete Revit models, and transfer data from BUILDER SMS to Revit. The name method was faster regarding data compatibility, but no statistical evaluation could be made. The identifier method resulted in shorter model completion times, but the difference was not statistically significant. It was also faster for first-time data transfer, but, again, no statistical evaluation could be made. The difference in total effort required by the methods was not large. Furthermore, the first data transfer for either method can transfer the other parameter, i.e., a name-based data transfer can add the identifier to the Revit model and an identifier-based transfer can add the name. The name method may be slightly better than the identifier method because object names follow an intuitive and logical standard naming convention (specified in the SFM application). The process of ensuring data compatibility by manually entering object names may be less error-prone compared to manually entering alphanumeric identifiers; however, that was not demonstrated here as all of the resulting models were error-free regarding data transfer. The methods described provide useful insights for other SFM/BIM transfer scenarios, such as other applications and models generated during the design phase. Full article
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23 pages, 8370 KiB  
Technical Note
Designing Lightweight Stadium Roofing Structures Based on Advanced Analysis Methods
by Faham Tahmasebinia, Eason Chen, Andy Huang and Jesse Li
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 3612; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043612 - 16 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2964
Abstract
The current structural engineering practical standards are unable to offer an universal structural design standard for long-spanning lightweight stadium roofing structures. As such, the design procedure of a particular stadium roof is not replicable to another. This research aims to present a novel [...] Read more.
The current structural engineering practical standards are unable to offer an universal structural design standard for long-spanning lightweight stadium roofing structures. As such, the design procedure of a particular stadium roof is not replicable to another. This research aims to present a novel design procedure for lightweight stadium roofing structures considering the Lakhwiya stadium the Optus Stadium and the CommBank Stadium as experimental cases. Using the finite element analysis (FEA) software Strand7, the cases will be modelled and analysed. Varying load cases and combinations such as ultimate strength (ULS) and serviceability limit states (SLS) based on the Australian Standard AS1170.0:2002 will be calculated and subsequently applied. Linear static analysis will then be undertaken where critical members will be identified within the model. Based on this, preliminary member sizing and design feasibility checks will be conducted in order to ensure structural stability and compliance to the Australian Steel Structure code AS4100:2020. A linear buckling analysis is also conducted based on the selected sizes from the initial stage to determine critical loads. Advanced analysis including non-linear buckling computation is comprehensively managed. Some of the crucial parameters such as maximum displacement, maximum/minimum principal stresses, critical buckling loads, as well as load factors are examined. The main novelty of this study is to determine a clear road map to design stadium roofing systems subjected to a combination of different types of the loading. Full article
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