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The impact of the building envelope on the energy efficiency of residential tall buildings in Saudi Arabia


Noura Ghabra

Philip Oldfield


In this paper, the authors explored the hypothesis that the most common approach to improve a building’s energy efficiency in the hot climate of Saudi Arabia, which focuses on engineering parameters, is not sufficient and architectural design parameters should be adopted to reduce cooling loads. In order to investigate this hypothesis, 27 sets of dynamic thermal simulations were compared. The best and worst combinations of glazing ratio, wall and glazing type were identified in order to understand the most influential parameter impacting the cooling energy loads in the building. The findings demonstrated that the reliance on a prescriptive approach for building envelope ‘engineering parameters’ specifications does not achieve the required levels of energy efficiency, and the thoughtful consideration of the ‘design parameters’, such as shading elements, could have a significant impact on cooling energy loads.


Ghabra, N., Rodrigues, L. T., & Oldfield, P. (2017). The impact of the building envelope on the energy efficiency of residential tall buildings in Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies, 12(4),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 2, 2017
Online Publication Date Oct 11, 2017
Publication Date Dec 1, 2017
Deposit Date May 19, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 11, 2017
Journal International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies
Print ISSN 1748-1317
Electronic ISSN 1748-1325
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 4
Keywords Energy efficiency, Tall buildings, Residential, Façade design, Building envelope
Public URL
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