Research Topic

New Materials and Design of the Building Enclosure

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Buildings account for about 40% of the global energy consumption and contribute over 30% of the global CO2 emissions, and a large proportion of this energy is used for thermal comfort. Improvements in the materials and design of the building enclosure including both opaque regions and windows are ...

Buildings account for about 40% of the global energy consumption and contribute over 30% of the global CO2 emissions, and a large proportion of this energy is used for thermal comfort. Improvements in the materials and design of the building enclosure including both opaque regions and windows are contributing to the reduction in energy use. The improvements typically pertain to reduced heat transfer and air/vapor infiltration across the building enclosure. This special issue on advanced materials and design of the building enclosure invites submissions of original research on advances in building materials, design and construction. Examples of topics related to energy efficiency that are of interest include, but are not limited to:

• Case studies of advanced materials and technologies like vacuum panels, phase-change materials, nano-structures and “smart” materials that are being included in new or retrofit construction projects.
• Laboratory-based research that evaluates new materials or systems for identifiable use in buildings.
• Simulations and modeling of new systems proposed for specific use in buildings.
• Advanced window materials, design and evaluation.
• Design and commissioning of high performance buildings.
• Retrofits that employ advanced materials or design.

Unintended heat gains and losses across the building envelope/enclosure (thermal bridges) need to be identified and eliminated. These defects result in uncomfortable conditions for occupants and wasted energy. Thermal insulation, thermal mass, moisture management and controlled ventilation (air tightness) have been used successfully in the past to control utility loads. New and emerging technologies that control radiative transport, alter heat-flow characteristics, or apply optimized control of the interior environment (smart systems) with attention to indoor air quality are being developed to improve building energy performance. Papers describing these developments and their application are invited for review and inclusion in this special edition. Authors with proposed articles on topics beyond those listed above are encouraged to contact the editors.


Keywords: Building energy efficiency, Advanced insulation materials, Advanced window technologies, Smart materials and systems, Building energy simulations, High performance buildings, Durability of materials, Durability of enclosure systems, Retrofit/rehabilitation case studies, Heat and moisture management in building enclosures


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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