Building Simulation

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 1123–1144 | Cite as

Thermal behavior and energy saving analysis of a flat with different energy efficiency measures in six climates

  • El-Hadi Drissi Lamrhari
  • Brahim Benhamou
Research Article Building Thermal, Lighting, and Acoustics Modeling


This article aims at studying the impact of many construction parameters of a flat on its energy performance and thermal comfort. The studied parameters are: the envelope thermal insulation, the orientation, the floor level, the ground coupling, the roof and the external walls absorption coefficient and the controlled mechanical ventilation. The TRNSYS based numerical study is performed in six different climates ranging from cold to desert one. The numerical model has been validated against experimental results obtained from summer and winter long term monitoring campaigns of the flat located in the Marrakech city, Morocco. The apartment’s heating and cooling loads as well as thermal discomfort indexes are calculated for the possible eleven configurations combining the studied parameters. The results show that high thermal insulation of the walls leads to an apparent summer overheating with an increase in the flat’s total thermal load by up to 18% in all the considered climates, except for the cold one. It was found that the walls’ light thermal insulation resulting from the cavity wall technique is sufficient to reach an acceptable level of thermal comfort thus preventing summer overheating. Similarly, thermal insulation of the slab-on-grade floor was found to perform an increase in thermal load for hot and moderate climates by at least 67%. The best combination of all the studied energy efficiency measures for each climate conditions was evaluated via comparison to a reference case that represents the actual apartment.


thermal performance energy saving thermal insulation ground coupling overheating thermal discomfort 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



This study is a part of the RafriBat project financially supported by the PARS grant from the Hassan II Academy of Sciences and Techniques, Morocco.


  1. Al-ajmi FF, Hanby V I (2008). Simulation of energy consumption for Kuwaiti domestic buildings. Energy and Buildings, 40: 1101–1109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Al-Sallal KA (1998). Sizing windows to achieve passive cooling, passive heating, and daylighting in hot arid regions. Renewable Energy, 14: 365–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. ASHRAE (1997). Handbook of Fundamentals, Chapter 24: Thermal and water vapor transmission data. Atlanta, GA, USA: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.Google Scholar
  4. Asim M, Dewsbury J, Kanan S (2016). TRNSYS simulation of a solar cooling system for the hot climate of Pakistan. Energy Procedia, 91: 702–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aviram DP, Fried AN, Roberts JJ (2001). Thermal properties of a variable cavity wall. Building and Environment, 36: 1057–1072.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beckman WA, Broman L, Fiksel A, Klein SA, Lindberg E, Schuler M, Thornton J (1994). TRNSYS: The most complete solar energy system modeling and simulation software. Renewable Energy, 5: 486–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benhamou B, Bennouna A (2013). Energy performances of a passive building in Marrakech: Parametric study. Energy Procedia, 42: 624–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. BINAYATE (2015). Assessment of the buildings energy performance and control of the conformity with the Moroccan Thermal Regulation for Construction. Available at Accessed 30 May 30 2016. (in French)
  9. Bolattürk A (2008). Optimum insulation thicknesses for building walls with respect to cooling and heating degree-hours in the warmest zone of Turkey. Building and Environment, 43: 1055–1064.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Boumhaout M, Boukhattem L, Hamdi H, Benhamou B, Nouh FA (2017). Thermomechanical characterization of a bio-composite building material: Mortar reinforced with date palm fibers mesh. Construction and Building Materials, 135: 241–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Buratti C, Moretti E, Belloni E, Cotana F (2013). Unsteady simulation of energy performance and thermal comfort in non-residential buildings. Building and Environment, 59: 482–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Byrne A, Byrne G, Davies A, Robinson AJ (2013). Transient and quasi-steady thermal behaviour of a building envelope due to retrofitted cavity wall and ceiling insulation. Energy and Buildings, 61: 356–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. CSN EN 15251 (2007). Indoor environmental input parameters for design and assessment of energy performance of buildings— Addressing indoor air quality, thermal environment, lighting and acoustics contents. Available at Accessed 14 Sept 2017.
  14. Dabaieh M, Wanas O, Hgazy MA, Johansson E (2014). Reducing cooling demands in a hot dry climate: A simulation study for non-insulated passive cool roof thermal performance in residential buildings. Energy and Buildings, 89: 142–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ebrahimpour A, Maerefat M (2011). Application of advanced glazing and overhangs in residential buildings. Energy Conversion and Management, 52: 212–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fang Z, Li N, Li B, Luo G, Huang Y (2014). The effect of building envelope insulation on cooling energy consumption in summer. Energy and Buildings, 77: 197–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fanger PO (1970). Thermal Comfort: Analysis and Applications in Environmental Engineering. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.Google Scholar
  18. Farhanieh B, Sattari S (2006). Simulation of energy saving in Iranian buildings using integrative modelling for insulation. Renewable Energy, 31: 417–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Flory-celini C (2008). Modélisation et Positionnement de Solutions Bioclimatiques Dans Le Bâtiment Résidentiel Existant. PhD Thesis, Claude Bernard University, France. (in French)Google Scholar
  20. Givoni B (1976). Man, Climate and Architecture, 2nd Edn. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Givoni B (2011). Indoor temperature reduction by passive cooling systems. Solar Energy, 85: 1692–1726.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gong X, Akashi Y, Sumiyoshi D (2012). Optimization of passive design measures for residential buildings in different Chinese areas. Building and Environment, 58: 46–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hester N, Li K, Schramski JR, Crittenden J (2012). Dynamic modeling of potentially conflicting energy reduction strategies for residential structures in semi-arid climates. Journal of Environmental Management, 97: 148–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. IAE (2016). Energy Efficiency Indicators highlights. Available at Accessed 18 Aug 2017.
  25. ISO (2014). ISO 9869. Thermal Insulation—Building Elements In-situ Measurement of Thermal Resistance and Thermal Transmittance. Part 1: Heat Flow Meter Method. Available at Accessed 19 Dec 2017.
  26. Jaber S, Ajib S (2011). Optimum, technical and energy efficiency design of residential building in Mediterranean region. Energy and Buildings, 43: 1829–1834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kaynakli O (2012). A review of the economical and optimum thermal insulation thickness for building applications. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 16: 415–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Khabbaz M, Benhamou B, Limam K, Hollmuller P, Hamdi H, Bennouna A (2016). Experimental and numerical study of an earth-to-air heat exchanger for air cooling in a residential building in hot semi-arid climate. Energy and Buildings, 125: 109–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kolaitis DI, Malliotakis E, Kontogeorgos DA, Mandilaras I, Katsourinis DI, Founti MA (2013). Comparative assessment of internal and external thermal insulation systems for energy efficient retrofitting of residential buildings. Energy and Buildings, 64: 123–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Krüger E, González-Cruz E, Givoni B (2010). Effectiveness of indirect evaporative cooling and thermal mass in a hot arid climate. Building and Environment, 45: 1422–1433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kumar A, Suman BM (2013). Experimental evaluation of insulation materials for walls and roofs and their impact on indoor thermal comfort under composite climate. Building and Environment, 59: 635–643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kusuda T, Achenbach PR (1965). Earth temperature and thermal diffusivity at selected stations in the United States. ASHRAE Transactions, 71(1): 61–74.Google Scholar
  33. Mastouri H, Benhamou B, Hamdi H (2013). Pebbles bed thermal storage for heating and cooling of buildings. Energy Procedia, 42: 761–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mastouri H, Benhamou B, Hamdi H, Mouyal E (2017). Thermal performance assessment of passive techniques integrated into a residential building in semi-arid climate. Energy and Buildings, 143: 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. NM ISO 7730 (2010). Institut Marocain de Normalisation, Ergonomie des ambiances thermiques-Détermination analytique et interpretation du confort thermique par le calcul des indices PMV et PPD et par des criteres de confort thermique local. Available at ISO+7730. Accessed 19 Dec 2017. (in French)
  36. Ozel M (2013). Determination of optimum insulation thickness based on cooling transmission load for building walls in a hot climate. Energy Conversion and Management, 66: 106–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. RTCM (2014). Règlement Général de Construction Fixant Les Règles de Performance Énergétique de Constructions Au Maroc. Morocco, Bulletin officiel N°6306-2014. Available at Accessed 25 April 2017.
  38. Sadineni SB, Madala S, Boehm RF (2011). Passive building energy savings: A review of building envelope components. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 15: 3617–3631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sick F, Schade S, Mourtada A, Uh D, Grausam M (2014). Dynamic building simulations for the establishment of a moroccan thermal regulation for buildings. Journal of Green Building, 9: 145–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sobhy I, Brakez A, Benhamou B (2014). Effect of thermal insulation and ground coupling on thermal load of a modern house in Marrakech. In: Proceedings of the International Renewable and Sustainable Energy Conference, IRSEC 2014.Google Scholar
  41. Sobhy I, Brakez A, Benhamou B (2017). Analysis for thermal behavior and energy savings of a semi-detached house with different insulation strategies in hot semi arid climate. Journal of Green Building, 12: 78–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sobhy I (2017). Modélisation dynamique d’un bâtiment résidentiel à Marrakech et propositions pour améliorer ses performances énergétiques. PhD Thesis, Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco. (in French)Google Scholar
  43. Stazi F, Vegliò A, Di Perna C, Munafò P (2013). Experimental comparison between 3 different traditional wall constructions and dynamic simulations to identify optimal thermal insulation strategies. Energy and Buildings, 60: 429–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stazi F, Tomassoni E, Di Perna C (2016). Super-insulated wooden envelopes in Mediterranean climate: Summer overheating, thermal comfort optimization, environmental impact on an Italian case study. Energy and Buildings, 138: 716–732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Suehrcke H, Peterson EL, Selby N (2008). Effect of roof solar reflectance on the building heat gain in a hot climate. Energy and Buildings, 40: 2224–2235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Van Hooff T, Blocken B, Hensen JLM, Timmermans HJP (2014). On the predicted effectiveness of climate adaptation measures for residential buildings. Building and Environment, 82: 300–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yaşar Y, Kalfa SM (2012). The effects of window alternatives on energy efficiency and building economy in high-rise residential buildings in moderate to humid climates. Energy Conversion and Management, 64: 170–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Energy Processes Research Group at LMFE (URAC 27), Faculty of Science SemlaliaCadi Ayyad UniversityMarrakechMorocco
  2. 2.EnR2E laboratory, National Center of Studies and Research on Water and Energy (CNEREE)Cadi Ayyad UniversityMarrakechMorocco

Personalised recommendations