Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Architectural Engineering

First Advisor

Kheira Anissa Tabet Aoul

Second Advisor

Dr. Rashed K. Al Shaali

Third Advisor

Moncef Krarti


The building sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has experienced a tremendous expansion in the last forty years due to population growth and economic development. Presently, the UAE has one of the world’s largest energy consumption per capita, with the building sector accounting for 70% of the consumed energy. In the last decade, the government intensified its efforts to implement stringent environmental regulations and schemes by mandating environmental policies and regulations. It introduced “Estidama”; the local sustainability framework, and the Pearl Building Rating System (PBRS) to promote the development of sustainable buildings. All governmental buildings must achieve a minimum of 2 out of a maximum of 5 Pearls. Among these, schools are dominant in numbers and target the dual intent to create a sustainable as well as a healthy learning environment. In this regard, Abu Dhabi Educational Council (ADEC) has targeted all new schools to go beyond the requirement and reach 3 Pearls by planning to build 100 new schools from 2010 to 2020. Presently, 53 schools had been built. However, only 10 of the built schools have achieved the desired target.

The objective of this research is to investigate the opportunities of enhancing the performance of ADEC schools that did not achieve the targeted Estidama level through a representative school prototype. Hence, an analysis of the Estidama performance of the school was carried out to identify the opportunities of enhancement, which showed a gap within the renewable energy systems. Next, a transient simulation tool TRNSYS, was used to assess and predict the performance of three renewable energy systems namely Photovoltaic System (PV), Solar Powered Absorption Chiller and Geothermal System. These systems were selected based on a literature review done to show their effective performances. Several parameters were optimized in each system to reach optimal performances. The photovoltaic system was sized to achieve 10% of the annual energy consumption and the solar absorption chiller targeted a cooling demand reduction of 10%. The geothermal system was sized to reach optimum values of delivered energy and outlet temperature of the ground heat exchanger. Finally, a simple payback period was done on the three systems to determine the economic feasibility of renewable energy in ADEC schools. Key findings revealed that the PV panels achieved the targeted 10% of the annual energy consumption producing 208849.32 kWh annually. The optimized solar absorption chiller system showed 19% annual cooling savings and 7.2% savings from the overall energy consumption of the school. The geothermal system findings implied 2.2% from the total energy consumption and 5.8% from the annual cooling consumption. The three renewable energy systems have shown collectively 19% savings of the annual energy consumption. The simple payback period for PV and solar absorption chiller was 3.5 years and for the geothermal system was 8 years. The proposed school design increased the credits of the school by 14 additional credit points and reached the targeted 3 Pearls. Finally, these results augur a great potential in integrating renewable energy systems in future ADEC schools for an improved energy performance.