Enhancing green building rating of a school under the hot climate of UAE; Renewable energy application and system integration

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Similar to many fast growing countries, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) witnessed fast population and urbanization growth. The building sector accounts for a major share of its electricity consumption, reaching up to 70%. To encourage sustainable development and reduce energy consumption and emissions, the government introduced a sustainability initiative called "Estidama", which employs the use of the Pearl Building Rating System (PBRS). Government buildings, which constitute 20% of the built environment, aim to lead the way, and are therefore required to attain a high level of achievement, based on their PBRS ranking (minimum of two out of five pearls). Schools, led by Abu Dhabi Educational Council (ADEC), are governmental buildings and aim to attain a higher level of achievement (three out of five pearls). The ADEC plans to build one hundred schools to be built by 2020, through its Future Schools Program. Over half of the schools have been completed, but only 20% reached the targeted rating (of three out of five pearls). The Renewable Energy (RE) application in the UAE is minimal, although it represents 25% of the local rating code. The objective of this paper is to explore the sustainable performance of one representative school that did not reach the desired green rating level, with the objective to assess opportunities for an enhanced performance. This is done through testing the performance and the application of three RE systems comprising of photovoltaics (PV) array, an absorption cooling system and a geothermal cooling system through Transient Systems Simulation (TRNSYS) software. Cumulatively, implementation of these options results in RE potentially contributing to 19% of the school's annual energy consumption, enhancing the school's performance by up to 14 additional credit points, and reaching the target level of achievement (a three pearl rating). Furthermore, system integration of RE into the existing school were also considered. Results indicate the significant potential of integrating RE systems in future schools in hot climatic contexts, for an improved energy performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2465
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


  • Building energy performance
  • Geothermal
  • Green building rating system
  • Photovoltaic
  • Schools
  • Solar absorption chiller
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Fuel Technology
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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