Improving Building Fabric Energy Efficiency in Hot-Humid Climates using Dynamic Insulation

Esam Elsarrag, Yousef Alhorr, Mohammed Salah-Eldin Imbabi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


New effective technologies and materials that have the potential to reduce energy demand with excellent energy efficiency and low environmental impact are urgently required in the Gulf region. Dynamic insulation, which functions by recycling fabric heat loss back to the building, has been established theoretically and proven in pilot projects. It sets the green, low carbon benchmark for thermal insulation in buildings.

This paper presents details of the Eco-Villa, its construction, how the performance of the villa was monitored, and the findings from the initial monitoring phase and the Dynamic Simulation Model (DSM). The villa was tested in two modes, bypass (static) and dynamic. The static U value of the external envelop wall was estimated at 0.24W/m2K in bypass mode. The theoretical dynamic U value changed from 0.24 to 0.05 W/m2K when the ventilation air flow was varied from 0 to 1litres/s/m2, with a further small reduction occurring when the flow rate increased beyond 1litres/s/m2. The design ventilation rate for the Eco-Villa was 0.8litres/s/m2, which yielded a theoretical dynamic U value of 0.063W/m2K compared to a measured U value of 0.125 W/m2K. The reduction in the fabric conduction gain was found to be 41% whereas the estimate from the DSM was 38%.

The results demonstrate the fabric energy efficiency improvements that can be achieved through the use of dynamic insulation. They show that the average air conditioning peak load demand was reduced in dynamic mode by 25% and that the villa consumed 5.0% less electrical energy for air conditioning. The results from the DSM suggest the annual cooling energy consumption would be reduced by 3.8%.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
JournalBuilding Simulation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Air quality
  • HVAC
  • energy efficiency
  • humid climates
  • dynamic insulation
  • ventilated facades


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