Mapping Emirati Housing Typologies: Exploring the Impact of Design and Urban Form on Energy Performance

  • Milos Mirkovic

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The study shows that native-born neighborhoods occupy a large portion of Abu Dhabi's landscape, with 55.2% of the total land designated for development. Geospatial analysis mapping the evolution and physical characteristics of Abu Dhabi's Emirati neighborhood has been detailed in the first section of the study. The second part focuses on building energy performance of Emirati Villas. Building energy is directly connected to the surrounding microclimate and to architectural and urban/landscape characteristics, such as shading, vegetation, materials, orientation, building layout, building typology and building clustering/density. The research analyses (i) the different urban and architectural forms which characterize Abu Dhabi's Emirati neighborhoods, (ii) the different parameters in the assessment of existing building performance and (iii) the potential parameters for designing a sustainable villa typology for Emiratis and policies promoting its implementation. Results show how building energy can be reduced through architectural building design, zone loads, landscape, and building clustering or arrangement. Building energy demand can be reduced up to 13% by using building materials with better thermal properties, as suggested by Estidama, an initiative by UAE government to reduce energy consumption. Shading devices or overhangs could result in further reduction, around 12%. Similarly, alterations to building form, layout, and orientation improved building performance by 5.4%. On the other hand, attached villas showed 11.1% reduction in energy consumption compared to detached villas. Using more efficient house equipment can result up to 16% in energy savings, while using AC temperature more responsibly can reduce the energy by 14%. Surrounding vegetation, if placed with perfect orientation, can also reduce cooling demand by 7.5%. When all alterations are made together, the baseline villa shows a total energy reduction of 67%. Alternatively, at larger scale, optimum clustering lowers energy consumption by 15.7%. Results in general reveal that architecture and urban design have important roles in enhancing energy performance of buildings.
Date of AwardMay 2017
Original languageAmerican English


  • Mapping; Emirati Housing Typologies: Urban Form
  • Energy Performance
  • Estidama
  • Energy Consumption
  • United Arab Emirates.

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