Lessons Learned from the First Passivhaus Building in Qatar

May Khalfan

Energy efficient models have become the path to reduce energy consumption and Greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment in many developed countries. According to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), new buildings constructed within the European Union (EU) countries are expected to be nearly zero energy buildings (nZEBs) by 2020, while new public buildings are expected to adhere to this target by 2018. The Passivhaus approach has been identified by several researchers as a possible roadmap to achieve nZEBs. The meticulous engineering and high standards of the Passivhaus building fabric, in addition to the high comfort levels, are the main reasons behind the success and widespread of the standard. Recently, in 2013 the Passivhaus principles have been applied to an experimental residential project in the hot and arid climate of Qatar. The project is composed of two identical buildings, one built according to the Passivhaus standard and the other according to normal practices in the country. The thermal performance and comfort levels of both buildings were assessed through dynamic simulation and on-site measurements. Results indicated that at least 50% reduction in annual operational energy, water consumption, and CO2 emissions were achieved in the Passivhaus model in comparison to the standard model. This paper aims to highlight the lessons learned through the Passivhaus project; first by exhibiting the Passivhaus criteria that have been met, second by showcasing the outcomes of the project, and third by displaying the barriers and difficulties that have been associated with building according to the standard in Qatar. Finally, recommendations and general guidelines are suggested towards a possible adoption of the Passivhaus standard in Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries

Keywords

Passivhaus ; Hot and Arid Climates; Energy and Thermal Comfort

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