Passive and renewable low carbon strategies for residential buildings in hot humid climates

  • Yahya Al Shamsi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The building sector alone accounts for almost 40% of the total energy demand, whereas people spend more than 80% of their time indoors. Reducing the energy demand in buildings is crucial to the achievement of a sustainable building environment. At the same time, it is important not to deteriorate people’s health, well-being and comfort in buildings. Thus, designing healthy and energy efficient buildings is one of the most challenging tasks. The housing industry in Oman overlooked the energy consumption of buildings and their adverse impact on the climate. This led to an increased energy consumption and its associated CO2 emissions. Hence, this research aims to experimentally evaluate the key elements and strategies required to increase the adoption of lifetime low-carbon domestic buildings in Oman, that will provide the most benefits towards a more sustainable energy future. In order to achieve the aims stated above, a comprehensive, multi-stage study has been conducted, involving the review of the status of low carbon buildings in the GCC countries and in Oman compared to the global scale. The technical viability of low-energy codes and standards for domestic buildings in the Sultanate of Oman were then examined in order to identify the factors resulting in increased energy consumption. These factors include a regulatory framework, market support, as well as the wellness and awareness of the society with respect to sustainability. Thereafter, the research identified the main elements of the operational deficiency interfering with the adoption of low carbon buildings. This covered the status of the housing stock typology in Oman, building energy consumption characteristics and usage patterns, occupant behaviours, regulation and government support. Accordingly, a roadmap was suggested for low carbon strategy to help the country overcome the adverse effects of energy usage in domestic buildings. In this context, each stage of this research utilised a specific methodology including public survey analyses, site visits, modelling analyses and expert consultation using an analytical approach. Furthermore, the research methodology incorporated a comparative analysis for the samples of the buildings including conventional and low carbon buildings in the Sultanate of Oman using descriptive, qualitative and spatial analyses for these case studies.In addition, the study reviewed the key features characterising the energy efficiency of low carbon buildings in the hot humid climate through the assessment of a set of energy efficiency measures (EEMs) for residential buildings in the selected climate. These EEMs involved the building envelope, building shape, orientation, materials, glazing, insulation, shading, natural ventilation, daylight and the application of renewables. Subsequently, a low carbon domestic building design template was established that supports architects, civil engineers and building professionals in the design of sustainable homes for the selected climate, context and cultural requirements. The template was designed to evaluate the overall building energy consumption based on building physics and the operation pattern and provided the energy evaluation for the proposed design in order to maximise energy savings. Then, the template was tested on the energy use of viable housing prototypes employing the criteria of the established template.This study contributes to the body of knowledge within this field by offering a low carbon domestic framework for the design of low energy residential buildings in Oman. It proves that it is possible to reduce the energy consumption of residential buildings due to the application of each EEM by 3.7% to 18.2%. Furthermore, the research identified the possible lower and zero cost EEMs which can be implemented in the context of Oman. The findings are broadly applicable to other regions with similar climatic conditions and cultural constraints, such as those of the Middle East and the GCC countries. The results showed that different sets of actions are required to achieve the building energy performance in the researched country’s case study.
Date of Award29 Nov 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorStephen Lo (Supervisor) & Sukumar Natarajan (Supervisor)

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