Keywords: energy technology, thermal insulation, energy codes, building energy simulation, cost benefit analysis, thermal performance, reinforced concrete frames, residential buildings, hot climates, heat transfer coefficient, energy conservation
The effect of reinforced concrete frames on the thermal performance of residential villas in hot climates
This paper investigates the impact of reinforced concrete (RC) frames and structures on the thermal performance of a typical residential villa in Kuwait. In the approach, a simplified method to calculate the effective overall heat transfer coefficient and the overall thermal resistance of a construction was used in conjunction with a comprehensive building energy simulation program (ESP-r), to predict the impact of RC on the thermal performance of the villa when subjected to different constraints. It was found that for the worst case, the calculated overall thermal resistance of walls incorporating RC was lower by 64% than the minimum value stipulated in the code. On the other hand, the reductions attained in the air-conditioning peak power requirement, due to improved application of thermal insulation on RC structures, ranged from 3% to 12%. The cost benefit analysis indicated that thermal insulation of RC structures of residential buildings, lead to substantial savings for the government, mainly due to the high subsidy on the cost of electricity.