The State of Energy Efficiency Policies in Middle East Buildings

Karim Elgendy

Energy use in buildings accounts globally for nearly 40% of global energy consumption and 36% of total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. These percentages are almost equally split in two halves between the industrialized countries and the rest of the world (Price et al., 2005).

Our buildings use energy in two ways; first, to keep our interior environment comfortable through cooling, ventilation, and heating our spaces; second, to power the appliances that we have come to depend on such as home appliances, lighting systems,computers, and other office equipments.  To reduce this high percentage of energy use and the resultant carbon dioxide emissions, both sources of energy use in buildings must be addressed. The first energy use can be addressed by improving the building envelope’s efficiency in order to reduce the need to condition its spaces (cooling, heating, and ventilating). This method of conserving energy use includes a vast array of passive low energy design strategies that depend on the building’s environment and context. The second energy use can be addressed by improving the efficiency of appliances and equipment used inside buildings including improving the efficiency of lighting and dissemination of improved stoves for cooking in rural areas. Continue reading The State of Energy Efficiency Policies in Middle East Buildings

The First Low Energy House in Jordan

Aqaba House, Copyrights Joseph Zakarian, Jo Magazine

UPDATED – Jordan’s first low energy house in Aqaba is a residential project designed with the intention of creating a prototypical low-cost energy efficient building that achieves substantial energy use reductions without incurring additional construction costs.

After launching a design competition for a prototypical energy efficient house the house owner – a Jordanian environmental researcher- in collaboration with the Jordanian Center for the Study of the Built Environment, chose to proceed with a practical low energy design with an architecture that resonates with local aesthetics.

The competition’s winning scheme by the Dutch architect Florentine Visser, was based on a 3-floor design that included the many spaces required by the owner’s brief (including 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a car garage, and a basement) in a house with a total area of approximately 420 sqm.

In her approach to designing an energy efficient house, the  house’s architect used a combination of passive low energy design strategies and efficient active systems. Passive strategies are strategies that use design to reduce the need for heating and cooling. In the context of the Middle East passive design mostly refers to passive cooling strategies since the cooling requirements of middle eastern buildings far exceed their heating requirements.

Active systems, on the other hand, are mechanical systems such as heating, ventilation, and Air conditioning units (HVAC) efficient active systems use less energy to heat, ventilate, or cool buildings.

Most successful low energy buildings use a combination of passive strategies, active systems, and renewable energy generation to reduce their energy use ,with some buildings achieving the ultimate target of net zero energy, which essentially means that a building -or a  development- generates all the energy that it consumes.

Continue reading The First Low Energy House in Jordan