Resilience of green buildings to uncertainty in operation patterns

  • Noura Alkaabi

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The energy consumed by buildings during the operation phase consistently differs from one estimated during the design phase. The discrepancy in energy performance is commonly observed across building types, including green-certified buildings. Recent studies conducted on typical commercial and residential buildings indicate that the uncertainty in building design and operation factors plays a major role in the observed performance gap. However, such analyses did not include green-certified buildings, leaving the reasons behind the inconsistency in their performance unexplored. The aim of the current research is to develop a modeling framework to quantify the impact of uncertainty in technical and operational parameters on green-certified building performance. The framework consists of 1) developing a building energy model of a typical non-green building, 2) creating an alternative model of the building after implementing a green-building certification specifications, and 3) conducting an uncertainty analysis on building design and operation patterns, quantifying the resulting impacts on energy use. The framework is illustrated through a case study of a prototype commercial building in the UAE, simulated before and after adopting the specifications of the Pearl Rating System (PRS) of the Estidama building code. Results show that Estidama practices reduce energy consumption by an average of 17% in addition to increasing the resilience of the building to uncertainty in its design and operation parameters. In contrast, the findings show that extreme cases of inefficient operation can completely offset the observed savings, motivating the need to expand the scope of current codes to include performance-based metrics of building assessment.
    Date of AwardMay 2019
    Original languageAmerican English


    • Green building rating system; energy efficiency; building energy modeling; uncertainty analysis; design; operation.

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