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Employing Innovative Strategies to Achieve Greater Energy Efficiency in the Middle East

Employing Innovative Strategies to Achieve Greater Energy Efficiency in the Middle East

From eSociety, December 2018

Fifteen teams. Eleven countries. Ten contests. One goal.

University students competed in the Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME) 2018 in November with the goal of developing and promoting innovative building and energy-efficient techniques and ideas to benefit the Middle East region.

Teams hailed from the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, U.S., France, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Taiwan.

The team’s projects were to focus on addressing the regional sustainable living needs in the region’s challenging climate—high temperatures and humidity and dust conditions.

The Middle East’s hot and dry climate challenges energy-efficient design and requires passive strategies to keep out the heat as well as using low-relative humidity to its full advantage, said ASHRAE Vice President Farooq Mehboob, Fellow/ Life Member ASHRAE.

Mehboob was a member of the energy efficiency jury for the competition. He said the students applied diverse strategies in the 15 net zero contest houses.

Strategies included:

  • Green Walls to improve micro climate

  • Orientation to avoid sun and face prevailing wind

  • Angled south walks to shade façade

  • Ventilated cavity in double façade arrangement including shaded roofs

  • Motorized openings for natural ventilation when weather permits

  • Using waste heat from solar panels for hot water

  • Wind chimneys

  • Radiant cooling

  • Walls with cool thermal storage capability

  • Sky radiant cooling

  • Varying room sizes using motorized walls to alter room area according to usage

  • Daylighting

  • LED lights embedded in cowlings which tracked occupants

  • Indirect Direct Evaporative cooling

Mehboob said the hands-on experience in a living lab is a rewarding opportunity for students over the two-year-project.

“The exposure to ideas is the best learning experience it produces changes in thinking which would be otherwise impossible to replicate,” he said.

Mehboob said he was amazed by the amount of research and design effort that went into every project.

He said he was impressed by the ideas put in practice, especially a factory that was made of 12 elements that were manufactured in the U.S. and shipped to Dubai were it was assembled and operational in two days.