Analysis of critical climate related factors for the application of zero-energy homes in Saudi Arabia

Farajallah Alrashed*, Muhammad Asif

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


The Saudi construction industry is led by housing sector that imposes enormous energy and environmental challenges for the country. The housing sector is growing rapidly and is responsible for 52% of the total national electricity consumption. In order to promote sustainable development it is vital for Saudi Arabia to adopt sustainable housing practices such as zero-energy homes (ZEHs). The concept is new to Saudi Arabia though a number of ZEHs have already been developed around the world. One of the most significant challenges facing the application of ZEHs in Saudi Arabia is uncertainty about their adaptability in local climate. The present work aims to investigate this uncertainty, mainly focusing on the four climatic factors related to the application of ZEHs including air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and global solar radiation. This is fulfilled by reviewing climatic condition of Saudi Arabia and the concept of ZEHs and examining some of these homes built across the globe in climates similar to the Saudi climatic zones. In this respect, five ZEHs globally developed in climates matching with the five main Saudi climatic zones have been investigated as case studies. A typical-virtual home has been designed on the basis of a questionnaire survey. With the help of the Integrated Environmental Solution 〈Virtual Environment〉 software a modelling exercise has been carried out to compare its energy performance at the five selected international locations with their corresponding Saudi locations. This comparison is based upon the maximum and mean power demand. Furthermore, to cater for the differences in climatic conditions between the Saudi locations and their counterpart global locations, a sensitivity analysis for the studied locations has been undertaken for the four climate factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1395-1403
Number of pages9
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date17 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • building energy simulation
  • renewable energy
  • Saudi climatic zones
  • Saudi housing
  • sensitivity analysis
  • zero-energy home


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