A study of energy conservation in the existing apartment buildings in Makkah Region, Saudi Arabia
Despite great development in residential buildings that Saudi Arabia has witnessed over the last two decades, there is still a lack of understanding and of evaluating the thermal performance aspects of the buildings. The rapid developments that took place in such a short time have ignored environmental considerations and produced exotic buildings that have poor thermal performance. The existing residential building stock built during the economic boom of the 70's and afterwards is having problems balancing between a comfortable indoor climate and reasonable usage of energy. To resolve this issue, the thermal performance of these buildings needs to be improved. But, in the absence of proper knowledge about the performance of these buildings, any proposed suggestions will be a matter of speculations. The research aims to address the notion of energy conservation in existing apartment building in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It is concerned with identifying the thermal characteristics and the quality of indoor environment in this building type as well as investigating the behaviour of the occupants and their domestic energy demands. This background sets the base to test energy saving measures and to review their effectiveness and their applicability. The study provides information for the parties with direct relation to this issue, authority and policy makers, building professionals, and occupants to assist them in understanding the current situation and promote the selection of the most appropriate strategy. In this study, a comprehensive fieldwork survey, that comprises social survey of 600 apartments and physical measurement survey for eight case studies, have been performed. Thermal performance of the different building components and their dynamic interaction has been simulated thoroughly by a computer program for building energy analysis VisualDOE-2.5). The simulation has been employed to theoretically predict the thermal roles of building components and the impact the occupants have as building users. The program tested strategies for potential energy savings. The simulation model has demonstrated a 19% and 31% reduction in cooling load as a result of applying insulation materials and shading device in respective order. The findings have been integrated to highlight the problems of energy conservation issues in existing apartment buildings, producing recommendations and suggestions for further research avenues to complement work.