Energy Performance of Earth Sheltered Spaces in Hot-Arid Regions

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The issue of global warming and climate change has stirred an unprecedented campaign in the building industry to minimize its impact on the environment. Earth sheltered spaces represent the long-gone pattern of living and sheltering against dangerous and harsh environment. Nowadays and despite the stigma of negative thoughts associated with the underground spaces, people in America, Europe, Asia and Australia are still using these spaces. This research is focusing on the underground spaces energy performance in Abu Dhabi/ UAE, and its potentials for reducing the cooling load since the buildings in UAE are cooling dominant. The hypothesis of the research is that underground spaces consume less energy for cooling and heating load in comparison to the above ground conventional spaces. Soil temperatures are calculated using simplified heat equation developed by LABS, IES-VE software used for simulating a model of underground space configurations and compared to the same model base case of above ground space to assess the cooling and heating saving potentials. Additional measures are introduced to increase the percentage of energy saving and enhance performance through the incorporation of thermal insulation and introducing of day lighting. Simulation result shows high saving potentials of underground spaces when compared to the above ground in some configurations; furthermore, different saving percentages achieved for each configuration with regards to depth. Additional savings attained from thermal insulation and day lighting. The research shows that the calculation of soil temperature is essential in predicting the cooling/heating load of the underground spaces. The research concluded that underground spaces represent a practical solution to reduce the sum of cooling load consumed in conventional above ground buildings in areas with harsh climate as the case of Abu Dhabi/ UAE.
energy performance, hot-arid regions, global warming, climate change, environmental impact, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi, daylighting