Impact of building characteristics and occupants’ behaviour on the electricity consumption of households in Abu Dhabi (UAE)

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Energy and Buildings


© 2017 Elsevier B.V. The per capita consumption of electricity in Abu Dhabi is one of the highest in the world. Air cooling (AC) in the residential sector is responsible for much of this consumption. A preliminary energy survey of 36 residential units (18 villas and 18 flats) was carried out in Abu Dhabi, followed by a more detailed energy audit of 15 villas owned and occupied by Emirati citizens. The mean per capita use of electricity in villas was 16,874 ± 4421 kWh/ca/yr and the mean energy intensity was 349.1 ± 102.6 kWh/m2. AC and domestic water heating (DWH) systems operate 24 h/day in most rooms of 12 villas, including times of no occupancy, and at least 9–14 h/day in most rooms of the other three dwellings. Building characteristics of the villas audited do not meet minimum Estidama Pearl 1 requirements, and their orientation often maximizes exposure to solar radiation. Model simulations provided estimates of the large energy savings achievable by increasing the AC thermostat temperature to 24 °C, by switching off AC and DWH when these are not needed and by retrofitting villas with roof insulation. These results highlight the importance of occupants’ behaviour for energy conservation in the residential sector of Abu Dhabi.

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Author First name, Last name, Institution

L. Giusti, Zayed University
M. Almoosawi, Zayed University