Exploring energy retrofitting strategies and their effect on comfort in a vernacular building in a dry Mediterranean climate

Andrea Lozoya-Peral, Carlos Perez-Carraminana, Antonio Galian-Garrigos, Angel Benigno Gonzalez-Aviles, Stephen Emmitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)


This research explores the energy behaviour of a traditional house on the Mediterranean coast of south-eastern Spain. The objective of the work is to determine the optimal passive strategies for rehabilitating a traditional house, improving its energy savings and comfort, considering the characteristics of the warm semi-arid Mediterranean climate. The main novelty of this article is that it demonstrates that the limits imposed by current regulations, based on globalised climate strategy approaches, undermine the energy efficiency capacity that passive solutions in vernacular architecture already employed. The methodology used consists of a systematised multi-objective study of various energy rehabilitation strategies. Four strategies were studied: raising the thermal insulation of enclosures, improving thermal insulation and solar control glazing with movable shading devices, increasing the size of windows and introducing the use of natural ventilation enhanced by ceiling fans. The results show that simultaneous improvement of these parameters reduces cooling and heating requirements by up to 87%, reducing the energy consumption of air conditioning systems. Indoor temperatures are also maintained within the comfort limits set by regulations for 91% of hours per year without the need for air conditioning systems. This results in a passive energy-efficient and comfortable house almost all year round. This work offers an alternative solution to the comfort standards of current Spanish regulations and demonstrates the need to adapt Fanger’s analytical method for comfort estimation. The research concludes that the comfort criteria of current energy regulations should be modified to better adapt the design criteria to the dry Mediterranean climate.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1381
Number of pages30
Issue number6
Early online date26 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

This research received an external grant from the Colegio Territorial de Arquitectos de Alicante (CTAA).

Data Availability Statement
The data presented in this study are available on request from the corresponding author.


  • energy efficiency
  • nearly zero energy buildings
  • simulation
  • sustainable rehabilitation
  • thermal comfort
  • warm semi-arid dry Mediterranean climate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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