Investigating the Impact of Space Layout on the Energy Performance and Lighting Strategies – A Case Study of a Private School in the UAE

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Sustainable development of the built environment is one of the major focuses in the modern world. However, the building sectors consume a huge amount of energy globally, as a result, environmental managers are constantly working towards solving this issue. Over the past few years, UAE has been the home for numerous impactful movements towards sustainability and environmental conservation. But being a country with extremely hot summers dominating the climate, UAE’s building sectors are facing immense challenges. Schools and educational buildings are a major part of the country’s building sector, with a growing number of schools are built every year. Despite several studies being published on schools and their energy performances, a knowledge gap remains on how early design decisions on space layouts can impact the final energy performance. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the impact of space layout on daylight and energy performance of UAE schools. For this purpose, a private school in Al Ain city is selected as a case study. Considering this as the base case, seven alternative layouts of the selected school are generated using the Autodesk Revit space planning tool. Additionally, Revit and DIALux evo are used as simulation tools to simulate the daylighting performances, whereas IES VE is used for energy simulation. The computer simulations are performed in two phases; firstly, the daylight and annual energy performances are simulated. The result of this first phase determined the best layout, which exhibits a 6.9% reduction in total annual energy consumption compared to the base case. Next, this best layout is further improved and an additional reduction of 1.65% on annual energy consumption is recorded. The results of the simulations reveal that the design of a space layout and the allocation of different spaces have direct impacts on the energy performance of school buildings. Finally, the results conclude that it is important to balance the daylight and cooling load performances in order to achieve the maximum reduction in energy consumption. This study provides valuable data on the significance of space layouts and their appropriate analysis in the early stages of design.
space layout, building energy performance, energy simulation, UAE private schools, United Arab Emirates (UAE), sustainable development, built environment, energy consumption