Parametric analysis of environmentally responsive strategies for building envelopes specific for hot hyperarid regions

Alex Cicelsky, Isaac A. Meir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The deep hot hyper-arid valley between Israel and Jordan presents unique design and construction challenges for energy conservation and thermal comfort. Winters are relatively mild, summers extremely hot during the day, with night air temperature remaining above 25°C. Such conditions present real challenges in this sparsely populated yet rapidly developing region. Development depends on the ability to provide acceptable indoor environments at a low energy investment. Potential solutions were investigated through a parametric analysis including physical and operational elements aiming at establishing benchmarks for free running, low energy buildings under extreme conditions. First, building performance was simulated for a limited number of parameters. Additional operational and physical parameters were introduced and results compared. Data were analyzed to determine the best performing options for building assemblies. Permutations investigated confirmed that conventional building systems did not allow for free running operation and that mechanical systems for heating and cooling were needed. This research concluded that it is imperative to extensively insulate building envelopes in order for them to be free running in winter. Extensive shading is needed in the transition seasons to allow for free running operation and avoid overheating. Completely shaded buildings, high efficiency window systems and levels of insulation above those currently employed when simulated with summer climate conditions had significantly lower energy consumption requirements than other building designs. The research showed that energy efficiency in this region depends on a combination of extensive insulation, full shade, high performance windows, air tightness and seasonal operation of window shutters utilized together.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)279-302
Number of pages24
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Desert architecture
  • Insulation
  • Thermal mass

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Parametric analysis of environmentally responsive strategies for building envelopes specific for hot hyperarid regions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this