Evaluating the impact of energy efficiency building codes for residential buildings in the GCC

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10 Citations (Scopus)


In arid climates, almost half of the urban peak load of energy demand is used to supply cooling and air‐conditioning in the summertime. The pressure placed on energy resources to satisfy inhabitants’ indoor comfort requirements is mounting due to accelerated urbanisation rates in developing countries and has led countries such as those in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to establish sustainable building codes to enhance their environmental performance. Using the exten-sive parametric energy simulations provided by DesignBuilder, this study addresses the potential of applying different GCC energy efficiency measures to reduce annual energy consumption and carbon emissions in a typical residential dwelling in the Kingdom of Bahrain. To do so, first, a base case validation simulation model was generated, followed by four design scenarios addressing the minimum requirements for Bahrain’s Energy Conservation Code, Abu Dhabi’s ESTIDAMA 1, Saudi Arabia’s code, and Kuwait’s building code. Then, a feasibility study was conducted using the simple payback period (SPP) and lifecycle cost (LCC) analysis. Overall energy and carbon emission (CO2) reduction showed the potential for building sustainable codes to improve building environmental performance throughout the year. In terms of energy performance and CO2 reduction, Abu Dhabi’s ESTIDAMA 1 code recorded the best energy savings at a 24.4% and a 26.3% reduction in carbon emissions, followed by the Saudi code with a 14.6% annual energy savings and 12.3% less carbon emissions. Regarding the economic analysis, although the SPP indicates the Bahraini code offered payback in just under two years for subsidised energy and half a year for unsubsidised, the LCC analysis suggests that applying Abu Dhabi’s ESTIDAMA 1 code was the most feasible, followed by the Saudi building code. Consequently, the study suggests a comprehensive evaluation of the rela-tionship between the sustainable building codes and their economic feasibility in order to enhance and promote the wide application in the GCC based on the code’s capabilities and their benefits for residential households and the overall economy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8088
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Arid climate
  • Energy consumption
  • Energy efficiency measures
  • GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council)
  • Lifecycle cost (LCC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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