Jordan is highly dependant on imported non-renewable energy resources. In recent years the country suffered economical difficulties, which forced the government to lift subsides on these resources. Electricity prices increased rapidly as well resulting in an overall burden on the cost of living. The demand for energy is increasing steadily with population growth. Hence the need for alternative solutions to amend such difficulties faced by the government and citizens.
Passive design strategies and renewable energy resources has become more popular in recent years. The country as a whole is moving towards a more cost-energy efficient living. Jordan has a favourable climate for solar dependant technologies, since it has very high number of sunshine hours.
Jordan’s diurnal air temperature variations and low humidity make it possible to achieve good indoor comfort by applying a climate conscious design. These applications require advanced knowledge among different stakeholders, engineers, government, and users, as well as a change in some building techniques.
Climate conscious design needs government incentives and enforcement of new buildings codes. This will reduce energy use and increase thermal comfort among other treatments such as insulation and orientation.
1.1.1-Climate in Jordan
Jordan has a diverse climate that can be divided into nine zones or into three major climatic regions depending on their attitude.
Figure 1: Climate Characteristics of Jordan
The Rift Valley in the West:
It includes Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, Wadi Araba, and Aqaba.
Altitude below 600 m
The eastern Highlands:
Mountainous and hilly regions
Altitudes of 600 to 1600 m
Densely populated region
It includes the capital Amman other colder regions, Ajloun, Al-Mujeb, Karak, and Shoubak.
The eastern Desert:
Climate varies between day and night also between summer and winter.
Summer temperatures exceed 40°C
Winter is bitter and cold humid and windy
Each region needs different treatments to deal with its own weather aspects. There is no one fits all treatment. Each area needs its own building and energy code.
Amman is densely populated where () of the entire population is according to Jordan’s Department of Statistics (). Average temperatures in Amman ranges from 7.0°C to 26.0°C from January to July.
1.1.2-Passive Design Strategies
Passive design uses architecture to harvest energy from the environment it makes it possible for a more comfortable interior environment paired with low energy use. This can be accomplished based on building use and weather conditions, that allow passive systems to run without the use of active systems. Active systems are always needed as back up since we cannot rely entirely on passive strategies. Most buildings with such systems either depend on passive systems, Active systems, or a combination of both.
The greatest barrier facing hybrid system design is the lack of knowledge and the familiarity with designing conventional buildings. This is an issue that will be overcome with time since such systems have gained more and more awareness in recent years.
1.1.3-Near Zero Energy Residential Buildings
A near zero energy building is one were passive design strategies are applied to decrease Energy use intensity as much as possible, and minimise the reliance on active systems. It also creates a platform for the application of renewable energy technologies if possible to reach net zero energy use.
If buildings are designed with considerations of climate and energy use from the start this will make the application of renewable energy technologies more beneficial. Using conventional building methods maybe more familiar but it will make it almost impossible to reach net zero energy.
1.1.4-Energy Use Intensity ( EUI)
EUI is a measure of total annual energy used in a building divided by the gross floor area the lower the number the better the building is. EUI units are kBtu/ft2, kWh/ft2, kWh/m2, and MJ/m2 . What makes it so popular is that is compares energy performances for different buildings easily.
An EUI target is usually set this target can be defined by the designer or an attempt to follow a certain standard. This target also depends on the building type, since energy intensities differ from one type to the other. This target will easily show the designer how well his design compares to other EUI baselines. After accomplishing a desirable target the building energy performance can be labeled and scored by different standards ex. ASHRAE, or ENERGY STAR.
EUI energy performance comparisons can be limited by climate or different building types. Results are restricted to comparable climates and similar building types only. Even if two identical buildings are to be compared we still have other issues to consider such as occupancy densities, and different locations within one city.
There is a growing database on EUI values for each building type, which makes it a very valuable tool. The fact is it is easily understood and applicable any designer can use it.
The main objectives of this study is to develop a residential building prototype suitable for a hot arid climate using passive design strategies to minimise energy consumption, and to prepare a suitable platform for allowing the addition of active systems.
The concept is to lower EUI as much as possible using ,energy efficient standards, and local materials with new building techniques. To minimise undesirable heat losses or gains.
This design is specifically set in Amman, Jordan and it may not perform successfully in other locations due to physiographical and climate differences. The concept ,although, remains applicable anywhere but with different considerations.