A framework for low energy housing design satisfying socio-cultural aspects in the Kingdom of Bahrain
Among all GCC countries, Bahrain ranked the second in highest energy consumption per person after Kuwait and ranked sixth globally in CO2 emission per capita. As the population of Bahrain grows rapidly, energy consumption also increases. The residential buildings of Bahrain make up 76% of entire buildings and account for 50% of energy consumption. The air conditioners account for over 70% of electricity in a typical Bahraini house, and Bahraini residents pay only 11% of the actual cost of electricity. Therefore, there is a lack of public awareness of sustainable living and wasteful energy consumption among Bahraini residents. The analysis of traditional and modern houses in Bahrain showed significant differences in housing layouts, construction materials and construction methods. The conventional dwellings mainly rely on passive techniques to provide thermal comfort to the householders.
Moreover, the traditional houses emphasise on the privacy of occupants. And, the freedom of moving inside the house without being visualised from outside the house by strangers. The modern homes, however, use air conditioners; have large windows without shadings and exposed directly to the Sun radiation and the privacy is not emphasised. Hence, the houses became sealed no door for natural ventilation, highly depends on mechanical cooling devices which caused high energy consumption. In the long term, this can also cause health issues to the house residence.
Various research has been conducted, seeking to lower the energy consumption in Bahraini homes using renewable energy, bioclimate design, wind-induced natural ventilation for wind tower houses, smart energy management and solar panels. However, there is a lack of research in lowering energy consumption using architectural designs based on traditional houses with an emphasis on a design that suits the Bahraini climate and residence culture issues. Moreover, no research has been carried out on the current social requirements and architectural design trends in Bahrain. This study aims to produce a design framework that can be used to build efficient homes, suiting the local people cultural needs.