Archetype-based energy and material use estimation for the residential buildings in Arab Gulf countries

Sahin Akin, Chibuikem Chrysogonus Nwagwu, Niko Heeren, Edgar Hertwich, Archetype-based energy and material use estimation for the residential buildings in Arab Gulf countries, Energy and Buildings, Volume 298, 2023,


Residential buildings account for a significant portion of global energy and material use, particularly in developing countries such as those in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) where rising income, urbanization, and construction material use have led to increased energy use. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, resource efficiency strategies in residential buildings are crucial. To better capture and reduce regional CO2 emissions rooted in residential building stocks in the developing world, country-specific studies are crucial and should consider building-specific factors and their effects on the environment. This paper explores the characteristics of residential buildings in all GCC countries, where arid climatic conditions and urbanization create a high energy demand, particularly for cooling. Using a five-stage bottom-up archetype development methodology, the authors created 153 multi-scale archetype models for the GCC region considering each residential building stocks’ cultural, historical, technological, climatic, and economic conditions. The simulations conducted using the BuildME tool revealed the energy and material intensity of six typology groups of buildings, including apartments, villas, skyscraper flats, Arabic-traditional houses, vernacular houses, and informal houses. The archetypes were used to investigate resource use rates across various administrative levels, climate regions, typologies, cohorts, and countries. The findings were discussed in the nexus of occupant behaviors, cultural lifestyles, demographics, extreme climate conditions, and building standards across various administrative levels, typologies, cohorts, and countries in the GCC. According to the results, residential buildings in Kuwait have the highest energy use per capita, and Saudi Arabia has the highest energy use overall. Also, the cooling loads represent the largest energy demand in all GCC countries, ranging from 58% in Oman to 75% in Bahrain, and 63% for the entire region. The study’s insights into the high residential material use patterns and trends across the GCC countries, with SAU leading other GCC countries in residential material demand, and Oman having the highest material use per capita. The results can help identify opportunities to cut emissions and develop resource-efficient construction practices and tailored policies targeting the resource efficiency of buildings in regions with high energy burdens caused by residential buildings.

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