The Impact of Building Orientation, Opening to Wall Ratio, Aspect Ratio and Envelope Materials on Buildings Energy Consumption in the Tropics

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
As the coming years will witness a noticeable depletion of many resources, significant increase in the planet's temperature and unprecedented increase in the Green house gases (GSG) emissions, the importance of curbing energy consumption is now more obvious that ever. Office Buildings sector is considered as one of the major emitters of the GHGs gasses due to the enormous amount of energy it consumes through the buildings life cycles. In hot and humid climates such as the UAE's providing cooling for the internal spaces all over the year is a major challenge. And as new regulations and laws regarding buildings energy consumption will be set in the coming few years, finding architectural passive solutions that would lessen the consumption to comply with the new regulations is essential. This research is using a survey followed by a computer modeling method to achieve an aim of providing architects with techniques that reduce energy consumption in office buildings. In order to get reliable results that would be helpful for the construction industry in the country, the researcher has ensured that the virtual environment created in the modeling process imitates a typical UAE office buildings environment. A long survey that included office buildings located on Sheikh Zayed Road‐the main business spine of the city‐ was performed. Architectural and mechanical drawings for the surveyed buildings were obtained and the architectural and materials characteristics of each office space such as floor area, wall to floor ratio, glass opening sizes and external walls area‐ were measured and registered. The survey results have shown that offices of Dubai can be classified according to their architectural shape into two major categories: One external wall rectangular offices and corner offices. Built on the average values obtained from the survey results, simulation models were developed and modeled in IES<VE>. By hanging the architectural parameters and materials data in the simulated models, simulating the new scenarios and compare the results, an overview of the impact of each factor on the thermal performance of office buildings in Dubai was obtained. The research has found that passive design techniques have a great influence on buildings energy consumption. Significant reduction of the consumption was noticed when the orientation and the opening to wall percentages were modified. To understand the previous results, the survey has analyzed the sources of heat and found out that solar radiation penetrating the spaces through the glass opening is responsible of around 55% of its energy consumption, followed by the conduction through the envelopes materials and radiation of the internal sources. In conclusion, this research has found that adopting inexpensive and simple passive design techniques has a major impact of office spaces energy consumption. If these ideas were taken in consideration by architects during the design process, buildings will more environmentally responsible and consequently carbon dioxide emissions will be reduces.
building orientation, energy consumption, tropics, green house gases, office buildings, passive solutions, buildings environment, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), thermal performance, passive design, carbon dioxide emissions