Improving Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in Office Buildings in Hot Climates

Cooling Energy

To offset the effects of increased energy consumption for cooling in buildings,

Santamouris (1999) addressed some significant solutions. These can be outlined as


  • • Improvement of ambient microclimate in the urban environment—this involves the use of more appropriate materials, increased use of green areas, use of cool sinks for heat dissipation, appropriate layout of urban canopies.
  • • Adaptation of urban buildings to specific environmental conditions—efficiently incorporate energy saving measures and counterbalance major changes of the urban environment including radiative, thermal, moisture, and aerodynamic effects. This incorporates appropriate sizing and placing of the building openings, enhance air flow and natural ventilation, improve daylight availability, and use of passive cooling techniques to decrease cooling energy consumption and improve thermal comfort.
  • • The use of more efficient advanced air conditioning systems for individual buildings and optimize them to operate in urban conditions. This involves systems with optimized COP curves for the specific temperature and humidity conditions, systems using advanced inverters, intelligent control, etc.
  • • The use of centralized or semi-centralized production, and management and distribution cooling networks, (district cooling), together with the use of demand side management actions like local or remote cycling.

Lam (2000) has investigated the energy performance of commercial buildings in Hong Kong using computer simulation (DOE-2). The study tested a generic office building that was developed to represent information acquired from a large number of buildings based on a survey. It correlated the overall thermal transfer value (OTTV) concept with other key building design parameters. The findings showed that air-conditioning accounts for 60 % of the total building energy consumption and improving the chiller COP of generic office buildings from 3 to 5 can reduce the total building electricity use by 16 %.

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