Energy Efficient Refurbishment for Existing Office Building in UAE

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
UAE has witnessed a rapid economic growth in last two decades resulting in construction of large number of new buildings. With pace of new constructions slowing down following global financial crisis of 2008, focus now has shifted to efficient management of the large pool of existing buildings. One of the key components of efficient building management is to reduce operational energy consumption. Improving energy efficiency of the buildings by sustainable refurbishments can result in substantial reduction of operational energy consumption. Though energy efficient refurbishments have been successfully used to over past few decades in Europe, North American and other developed nations, the concept in relatively new in UAE and rest of Middle East region. The aim of the current study is to investigate feasibility of sustainable refurbishment intervention in existing built stock in UAE in an environment friendly and economically viable manner. The main principles of sustainable refurbishment are to improve the living conditions and to provide user-friendly spaces, increasing flexibility of the whole building and its parts according to the current and future needs of the inhabitants. The other principles are to decrease the energy use and related operational expenses while to increase use of environment-friendly materials and renewable energy sources. In order to determine the feasibility of energy efficient refurbishments in the region, a case study approach was adopted in which a representative set of office buildings were considered for the study. Upon preliminary screening a B+G+5 storey office building built in mid nineties was chosen as base building for the study. The building was simulated using IES-VE 6.2 (Integrated Environmental Solution) tool and annual energy consumption was estimated. Accuracy of the simulation of determined by comparing estimated energy consumption with actual as-measured utility bills. In the next phase of the study, base model was modified by incorporating appropriate refurbishment techniques and resulting energy consumption was determined by simulation. Only passive refurbishment techniques were considered for the study while active techniques have been excluded. The results from the simulation suggests that net saving in cooling loads up to 11.79 %, 9.89 %, 3.11 % and 12.96% can be achieved by application of external insulation, glazing replacement, roof retrofit and external shading respectively. The suggested passive refurbishment strategies collectively results in 29.91 % reduction in annual cooling load and 14.90 % reduction in annual operational energy consumption. Economic analysis of the refurbishment strategies suggests that net pay back period varies between 8.7 to 10 years, which is considered to be acceptable period.
office buildings, United Arab Emirates (UAE), building management, energy efficiency, energy consumption