The electricity consumption per capita in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the highest in the world. The built environment accounts for 70% of the energy consumption, with the residential sector leading the way. Most of the energy is used in cooling to mitigate the local extreme hot climate. A condition further exacerbated by the lack of an energy building code until 2010. Hence, the existing building stock of which the residential sector is a major component is a prime target for an energy efficient retrofit. Hence, this paper explores the opportunities for building energy efficiency retrofitting in an existing representative residential unit in Al Ain city, UAE. First, thermal leakage through the building envelope is audited through infrared thermography. Then, building envelope upgrades are tested through simulation. The results indicate potential annual electricity savings up to 48.6% through building envelope insulation primarily leading to a 50% reduction of CO2 emissions. Further, integration of PV panels may contribute up to 75% of the house energy needs and carries a 4 year payback period.