There is international pressure for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are blamed as the main cause of climate change. The countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region heavily rely on fossil fuel as the main energy source for buildings. The concept of nearly zero energy buildings (nZEB) has been defined and standardized for some developed countries. While most of the developing countries located in the MENA region with hot and tropical climate lack building energy efficiency standards. With pressure to improve energy and environmental performance of buildings, nZEB buildings are expected to grow over the coming years and employing these buildings in the MENA region can reduce building energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Therefore, the paper focuses on: (a) reviewing the current established nZEB standards and definitions for countries in the hot and warm climate of Europe, (b) investigate the primary energy consumption for current existing buildings in the MENA region, and (c) establishing a standard for nZEB and positive energy buildings in kWh/m2/year for the MENA region using a building simulation platform represented using Autodesk Insight 360. The result of the simulation reveals high energy use intensity for existing buildings in the MENA region. By improving building fabric and applying solar photovoltaics (PV) in the base model, significant reductions in primary energy consumption was achieved. Further design improvements, such as increasing the airtightness and using high efficiency solar PV, also contributed to positive energy buildings that produce more energy than they consume.
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- passive design
- renewable energy;
- energy performance simulation;
- energy positive buildings;