Wall insulation measures for residential villas in Dubai: A case study in energy efficiency

Wilhelm Alexander Friess, Kambiz Rakhshanbabanari, Tamer A. Hendawi, Sahand Tajerzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past decade Dubai’s energy demand has increased in sync with the rapid urban development
and population growth of the UAE. In particular the residential villa stock has grown by more than
300% from 20,000 villas in 2000 to over 60,000 villas in 2009. In order to limit energy consumption, the
local authorities introduced building legislation (2001 and 2003) that prescribes minimum insulation
levels for external walls and roofs. The resulting constructive solutions focus on the use of a mid-plane
insulated prefabricated block to attain the prescribed maximum wall U value (0.57W/m2 K), however
the reinforced concrete frame typically remains non-insulated, and thus introduces significant thermal
bridges in the building envelope. This work investigates the impact of this thermal bridging effect on
the building’s energy consumption by modeling (hourly simulation using DesignBuilder/EnergyPlus) the
energetic performance of a series of typically applied insulation strategies, both for buildings in the initial
design stage, and in retrofit mode. The simulation model is calibrated against collected consumption data
and experimental infiltration measurements of the actual building. Simulation results show that with
appropriate external wall insulation strategies alone, energy savings of up to 30% are realized
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Energy efficiency
  • Sustainability
  • Insulation
  • Thermal bridge
  • Energy simulation


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