Integrating passive cooling techniques for sustainable building performance in hot climates with reference to the UAE

M. A. Haggag, S. K. Elmasry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Citations (Scopus)


On-going development in many parts of the United Arab Emirates has consequences on the urban environment. The use of glazed facades in modern buildings has come with an increased operational cost due to the higher solar gain. However, such strategies have increased in popularity mainly in the local building industry. Thus, improving the ecological performance of buildings and minimizing the impact of urban development on the natural environment are the main concerns for developers and stakeholders in the country at present. These goals have been acknowledged by national and international architectural firms and building developers such as Foster & Partners, Creative Kingdom and Mirage Mille; which have been incorporating ecological and sustainable approaches in significant projects such as Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, and Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, where various concepts and techniques have been used to promote energy-efficiency in the buildings and avoid increased cooling loads. The use of passive cooling techniques including natural ventilation, thermal mass, shading devices, and responsive landscaping have been adopted in significant projects to maintain the new vision of the country towards building sustainability. Other cooling techniques such as green roofs and green façades have also been practised recently in a number of projects across the country. This paper investigates alternative passive strategies for reducing energy consumption in contemporary building design and construction in the UAE. Four techniques are examined in the study: natural ventilation, thermal mass, shading strategy and green walls, and are illustrated in three case studies: Masdar City, Madinat Jumeirah, and Liwa International School in the cities of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain respectively. The design and performance of these projects are analyzed and evaluated, with emphasis on passive and sustainable strategies. The study concludes that sustainable building practices in the UAE in terms of cooling load reduction have been acknowledged not only in traditional buildings, but also in a number of significant contemporary projects. The study also demonstrates the potential benefits of passive cooling strategies to minimize the negative impact on the natural environment, and finally it proposes guidelines for architects and developers on passive design and construction strategies as pertains to the UAE environment.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Development and Planning V
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781845645441
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event5th International Conference on Sustainable Development and Planning, SDP 2011 - New Forest, United Kingdom
Duration: Jul 12 2011Jul 14 2011


Other5th International Conference on Sustainable Development and Planning, SDP 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityNew Forest


  • Green wall
  • Low energy building performance
  • Passive cooling techniques
  • Sustainability
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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