We live in a world of limited resources. Let that be water, oil or coal.
With a large number of population of the developing counties still relying on non- renewable, pollution generating energy source, we are at the verge of exhausting them along with poisoning the world. Qatar, the small middle eastern country that rose to fame instantly with the discovery of natural gas remains on the list of United Nations developing counties despite a whopping Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of $129,726 since the high-speed development and economic growth made Qatar also top the world on carbon emission per capita among others. Vernacular architecture of Qatar was developed over years based on location, topography, climate and social factors such as religion, tradition and privacy. From the tightly packed group of houses with courtyards and shaded verandah, globalization of the 20th century bought western architectural principles, materials and technology changing the basic urban fabric of its capital. High-rise or skyscraper that were first conceived in the United States, soon became an icon of globalism and contemporary cities around the world.
Qatar, as any other emerging country embraced this development without much thought into traditional or vernacular settlements. Hence densely packed, thick wall, naturally ventilated, pedestrian oriented community transformed to imposing futuristic green houses. According to world data, energy consumption of Qatar is 36.53 billion kilowatt-hours, 99.
5% of which is generated from fossil fuels. Between 2000 and 2010, Qatar’s electricity consumption grew from approximately 8.0 billion kilowatt-hours to 20.5 billion kilowatt-hours (U.S Energy Information Administration, 2014.
Indeed, buildings accounting for 58% of the total electricity consumption of Qatar (Kahramaa, 2014). Also about 65% of Qatar’s electricity is consumed by cooling systems in all types of buildings. What is the indoor acceptable comfort levels and has it changed over time? While the world is getting warmer satisfactory standards have risen. This is an important question when studying and implementing vernacular design in today’s world. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) suggest a range of 45-55% humidity and temperature range of 67 – 82°F to manage health effects and illness.
Research Question and Objectives In a small country that covers an area of 11,586 km² (4,473 sq mi) with a subtropical dry climate accompanied by hot and humid summer, generations lived with passive design strategies before technology hit. With the annual energy consumption at its peak, of which the major share are due to the huge cooling and ventilation burden. This research project identifies major key elements of vernacular architecture of the region that can be incorporated into modern high rise development. Using building energy modeling energy efficiency measures of various elements and techniques can be analyzed and compared.
With this information it is determined that with simple integration of vernacular with modern contemporary design can reduce the dependency on active systems which in turn reducing energy consumption keeping in mind the comfort and practicality issues with regard to the region. In the following chapter, a detailed review of literature including current scenario with respect to region, climate, comfort levels and various vernacular elements, methods and techniques are explained in depth. Literature review also includes modeling techniques and software used for the study and analysis. This is followed by methodology of study, case studies and energy modeling finding and discussion in detail.